Sandy Powell was a Yorkshire-born comedian who was well known for the catchphrase ‘Can you hear me, mother?’, with which he used to introduce his radio shows. It may not sound particularly amusing nowadays, but from time to time such catchphrases catch the ear of the world at large, often generating amusement simply through repetition, rather than any intrinsic wit. You might say that they become popular because they’re popular, in the same way that some celebrities seem to be famous for being famous, rather than for any special talent or achievement. In this case, it seems that a phrase originally used as a filler during an awkward moment on a radio show amused his audiences for several decades.
Scam calls: Can you hear me, mother?