Barry Cryer is dead.

by Harry on January 27, 2022

If you are anywhere close to my age (and even for most of you who are not), and if you grew up in the UK, Barry Cryer almost certainly made you laugh, even if you never knew who he was. He wrote for everyone. Well, everyone that mattered. And even plenty of people who didn’t matter (sorry, but I have never understood the appeal of Bob Hope. Or Kenny Everett to be honest). ISIHAC was, I suppose, his masterpiece. When I am feeling down, even when I am feeling really really down, I know that if I listen to ISIHAC I will laugh (the day I don’t know that ISIHAC will make me laugh is the day I’ll wonder if life is worth continuing [1]). However funny Cryer was on ISIHAC, and he was always hilarious, the best thing was not him being funny, or anyone else being funny, but hearing him laughing at other people being funny. His sheer, authentic, enjoyment of other people was delightful. Over the next few days the stories of his role in promoting other people’s careers — and in particular the careers of various women in comedy (the great late Linda Smith springs to mind)– will dribble out. Enjoy them and take note.

I once bumped into him. It was December 2001, and we were attending The Nutcracker in the west end. I had agreed to meet my family, and just before getting to the meeting spot I found myself standing right next to him — he loitering with a fag and a phone. My immediate thought was just to thank him for making me laugh so often, and when I really needed it. But being English, I just nodded in recognition, and moved on.

Here’s the grauniad obit.

[1] After writing that I realise it might sound like I’m being flippant about mental illness. I’m not.