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.



Phil 01.27.22 at 3:59 pm

A sad thought: I saw ISIHAC recorded once – not that long ago, mid-2010s. We were having a meal in the theatre restaurant afterwards, and across the room I noticed the talent having theirs – Jack Dee and Jeremy Hardy on one table, Barry Cryer, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Colin Sell on another. (They were small tables, I’m not suggesting anyone was being ostracised.) Keep well, Graeme – and, indeed, Colin!

ISIHAC won’t be the same without Barry Cryer – but then, ISIHAC already wasn’t the same without Tim, without Humph, without Iain Pattinson. Admittedly, I remember when ISIHAC wasn’t going to be the same without Willie Rushton – and it wasn’t, but it was still ISIHAC. But I think now it may have reached the point where it’s a whole new programme. Not that Barry Cryer would have minded – people say he was very open to new comedy and young comics. He would probably have enjoyed the episode I caught the other day a lot more than I did.


David Morrice 01.28.22 at 12:29 pm

Phil @ 1, at which table was Samantha, or Sven, sitting?


Tim Worstall 01.28.22 at 1:20 pm

Something I’ve always wanted to know.

“I saw ISIHAC recorded once”

Was Samantha actually lovely?


Phil 01.30.22 at 11:44 am

Was Samantha lovely? What do you think?

The laser display screen was quite something, too.

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