Barry's Last Joke
One of the UK’s favourite comedians, Barry Cryer also had a long career as a script writer working with such illustrious performers as Morecambe & Wise, Tommy Cooper, Ronnie Barker, Groucho Marx, Les Dawson and David Frost. The climax of his career was, of course, the publication of the Barry Cryer Scrapbook, published in 2009 by Porter Press!
As a result of doing this book together, we became very good friends and, as with all his friends, ‘Baz’ would phone regularly for a chat and to tell you his latest joke.
About a fortnight before he very sadly passed away, at the grand old age of 86, he phoned me and told me three jokes, the last of which I loved and went as follows:
A man and his wife are out walking one day when they spot someone standing at a bus stop on the other side of the road.
‘That looks like the Archbishop of Canterbury over there,’ says the woman. ‘Go and see if it is.’
The husband crosses the road, speaks to the man and then goes back to his wife who asks, ‘What did he say? Is he the Archbishop of Canterbury?’
‘He told me to f*** off,’ says the husband.
‘Oh dear,’ replies the wife. ‘Now we’ll never know.’
For the book, those I interviewed included John Cleese, Alan Bennett, Graeme Garden, Ronnie Corbett and Tim Brooke-Taylor. After interviewing Michael Palin, I asked if he would write the foreword.
‘I’d love to do it, I really would, but I’m so busy. I admire ‘Baz’ so much but really it’s impossible at the moment. I really would like to do it, but I just can’t at the moment. All right, when do you need it by?’
Choosing just one sentence from Palin’s witty tribute is not easy but here is a flavour: ‘And in case you think that money may have passed hands to get me to write this, I must of course remind you that Barry and I are both Yorkshiremen and fully aware that flattery is not tax deductible.’