Barry Cryer, who has died aged 86, established himself as a writer on TV show The Two Ronnies, and he also worked with other stars of British comedy such as Tommy Cooper, Sir Billy Connolly, Kenny Everett, Dave Allen and Les Dawson.
From quick one-liners to his jokes about birds, here is some of his best material from throughout the years.
Some of his best one-liners
“Quick – the noise made by a dyslexic duck.”
“Analysing comedy is like dissecting a frog. Nobody laughs and the frog dies.”
“Hashtag, party game where you chase each other for drugs.”
“Picasso was burgled and did a drawing of the robbers. Police arrested a horse and two sardines.”
In his much-told moth joke, Cryer told the story of an unfaithful wife who hides her lover in the bedroom when her husband returns early from a business trip.
When the man is discovered naked, clapping the air in a cupboard, he claims to have been sent by the council to deal with a moth problem, suggesting they have eaten his clothes.
The ‘ultimate’ parrot joke
Cryer claimed his ultimate parrot joke was published in 2020 in The Oldie magazine. The joke describes a woman who purchases a parrot for only £5.
“Well, I must confess, it was brought up in a brothel,” says the shopkeeper. “And, to put it politely, it has quite an extensive vocabulary.”
“Never mind,” says the woman. “At that price, I’ll take it.”
So she takes the parrot home, puts its cage in the living room and takes the cover off.
“New place – very nice,” says the parrot.
Then the woman’s two daughters walk in.
“New place, new girls – very nice,” says the parrot.
Then the woman’s husband walks in, and the parrot says, “Oh hello, Keith!”
You know about the guy who shot a golden eagle. He was in court in front of a magistrate.
The magistrate said: “This is a dreadful thing”.
He said: “I never intended to. I was shooting pheasants and it flew into my line of fire.”
The magistrate said, “Okay. Out of interest, what did you do with it?”
He said: “I ate it.”
The magistrate said: “Good god, what did it taste like?”
He replied: “Rather like swan.”
RIP #BarryCryer. I took this happy picture in the churchyard of St Paul’s, Covent Garden. Wherever Barry went he brought laughter with him – even to memorial services. And he went to lots because he’d worked with everyone! He was generous about everyone: a great mentor & friend. pic.twitter.com/WVKIBrs5Ol
— Gyles Brandreth (@GylesB1) January 27, 2022
Such sad news, one of the absolute greats of British comedy, Barry Cryer, is no more. A glorious, gorgeous, hilarious and gifted writer and performer who straddled all the comic traditions. Universally beloved … farewell, Baz.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) January 27, 2022
One of Cryer’s first jokes told on-stage was about a man driving down a country lane who runs over a cockerel.
He goes to the farmhouse and knocks on the door.
A woman opens it and he says: “I appear to have killed your cockerel. I’d like to replace him.’
She replies: “Please yourself, the hens are round the back.”‘