Reflecting on the death of Eric Sykes, this article notes the importance of the experience of World War 2 on Britain's post war comedy. I think it is quite insightful. Here's a sample:
A friend of mine is David Secombe, writer, photographer, and son of Harry, and he told me: "After the war, Spike and my father couldn't quite believe they weren't dead." They felt justified by what they'd been through. According to David, "They'd earned the right to be satirists, or just to be silly." The thing about the Goons was that it was both, and a whole generation subscribed to their take on the war as something horrific, but also absurd.
As a student of those comics I have developed a form of snobbery that says there's something missing from all subsequent comedy, and what is missing is a war. To refine the position: yes, there has been very good comedy since then, but the best of it – Beyond the Fringe, Monty Python, Eddie Izzard, Chris Morris – was directly influenced by the Goons, which arose from the war.
Eric Sykes rated Izzard highly, but he told me he found much modern comedy smug or, as he put it, "fireproof". I think he meant he was against the "high status" comedian: the patter merchant who points out the foibles of everyone else from some Olympian height. This fireproof character is well in with the broadcasting executives, and is not a comedian due to some life event, but because he chose to become one while at university. We know who they are.