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28 January 2022

Barry Cryer: Some of the legendary comedian’s best punchlines

28 January 2022

By the start of the 1970s, Barry Cryer had established himself as one of the UK’s leading comedy writers.

The entertainer, who has died aged 86, was one of the main writers on the popular comedy show The Two Ronnies and his material was used by some of the biggest acts of the time, including Kenny Everett, Dave Allen and Les Dawson.

Here are some of his best one-liners from throughout the years.

– “Quick – the noise made by a dyslexic duck.”

– “I’m 59 and people call me middle-aged. How many 118-year-old men do you know?”

– “I met my wife and Ronnie Corbett on the same day. I tossed a coin… and married her.”

– “A wife is in the bathroom trying on a new dress. She comes out and says to her husband: ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ He says: ‘Oh be fair, love, it’s quite a small bathroom.’

A woman looking at Pablo Picasso’s The Dream (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

– “Picasso was burgled and did a drawing of the robbers. Police arrested a horse and two sardines.”

– “Analysing comedy is like dissecting a frog. Nobody laughs and the frog dies.

– Parrots

Cryer was famous for his jokes about parrots, and The Oldie magazine, where he was a contributor, published what it claimed was his “ultimate” one in 2020.

It 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.”

A parrot (RSPCA/PA) (PA Media)

“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!”

In 2016, Cryer and his son Bob published a collection of parrot jokes titled Hercule Parrot’s Cagebook.

– Cockerels

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.”’

– Moths

Another joke Cryer told throughout his career 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, he claims to have been sent by the council to deal with a moth problem, suggesting they have eaten his clothes.

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