Tributes Paid To Barry Cryer, Who Died Aged 86- No More Green Bananas

Barry Cryer was used to being the person who gave tributes to great comedians on the occasion of their deaths. After all, he had worked with and written for most of them. The Two Ronnies, Morecambe And Wise, Spike Milligan, Willie Rushton, Eric Sykes, Richard Pryor, Bob Hope, Tommy Cooper, Dave Allen, Stanley Baxter, Les Dawson, Kenny Everett, Graham Chapman, David Frost, Jaspar Carrott, Bruce Forsyth, Frankie Howerd, Mike Yarwood and many more, he also became a famed performer himself, in recent decades being a star on Radio 4 shows I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, Just A Minute and many shows about comedy. Because as well as being a master of it, Barry Cryer was also a comedy geek. And as interested in the brand new even more than was talking about the long past. It also helped that from every single account, people just loved him. Loved working with him, loved listening to him, and if you were one of his many friends, he would phone you on your birthday to tell you a joke. He was constantly writing jokes, he would give them away to people, he believed he was only a custodian of a joke, and they would live on. And he knew so many, but given his death, a favourite comes to mind. That he felt he was so old now, he'd stopped buying green bananas. Here are a few tributes from some whose lives were touched by him and his work.

  • Mark Gatiss: Barry Cryer was the real deal. An incredibly funny man who worked with – and wrote for – the giants of comedy. Yet he remained forever curious and delighted by whatever was fresh and original. Kind, encouraging, generous and a one off. Goodbye, Cheeky.
  • John Cleese: Just heard about Barry Cryer. We worked together on the Frost Report, The 1948 Show, and Jokers Wild. I never met a nicer, kinder, more cheerful man. Feeling sick. RIP old friend
  • Simon Blackwell: So very sad to hear that Barry Cryer has left us. A superb writer and performer, and such a wonderful man. The heart of British comedy.
  • Tim Worthington: Another remarkable thing about Barry Cryer – where so many of his contemporaries went down the grumpy old man 'never heard of them/it' route, he kept his eyes open and knew who, say, Taylor Swift was or what Tinder was because he knew he'd be able to get a gag out of them.
  • Toby Hadoke: Oh no. What a comedy machine that man was. I thought he'd be with us forever.
    Met him very briefly just the once and he wore his legendary status very lightly and was very kind. The world is less cheerful with his passing. He just wanted to make people laugh. Bugger. #BarryCryer
  • Rob Brydon: So terribly sad to hear the news. A great man it was my life enhancing pleasure to know and call a friend. This was taken at the most enjoyable story rich lunch just last year RIP #BarryCryer
  • Kev F: In memory of the late great Barry Cryer, here's a strip I did a few years ago for the
    @RadioTimes of Barry's first ever joke.
Tributes Paid To Barry Cryer, Who Died Today Aged 86
Barrt Cryer's First Joke by Kev F
  • Robert Lindsay: Oh Barry not now. We needed your warmth generosity and your humour at this time. The only bad timing you've ever made.Light up the heavens for us mate x #Barry Cryer
  • Robin Askwith: Oh dear,Twitter will be busy for the wrong reason, Barry Cryer has passed away
    I met him when I was 12, my best friend lived next door in Hatch End and Linda Hayden opposite
    He was The Godfather of British comedy and encouraged and helped me all the way. A sad day RIP
  • Ed Byrne: Not really much I can add to the outpouring of love for Barry Cryer. My main memory is of sitting listening to him tell jokes to a bunch of comics who were all just happy to be in his company.
  • Dave Gorman: So gutted to see the news of Barry Cryer's passing. One of the joys of working in comedy was falling into his orbit. Getting a phone call from Baz because he'd liked a particular line on the radio was like receiving a knighthood. What a gent. RIP Baz
  • Joe Lycett: That's really very sad news about Barry Cryer. I adored him on I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue. A very, very funny man.
  • Carol Challis: It's that time. So many of our friends leaving us.Sad to hear that Barry Cryer has died. He once told John that Boycie was one of his favourite characters.A great compliment from a legend of comedy.
  • Mark Steel: In the 1980s, when many older comics were dismissive of the younger ones, Barry Cryer was always gloriously encouraging. And always magnificent company. If you were lucky you'd often get a call, saying 'well done', then a joke, that usually started 'an old woman bought a parrot'
  • Kate Robbins: Barry Cryer is flying high. Rest easy, Barry Folded hands. A great comic who kept working 'til the end. A nicer person you couldn't meet. There are many cryers now. (Sorry for the awful pun on his name but Barry would've appreciated it:) #BarryCyerRIP
  • Damon Wise: "Why do people take an instant dislike to Michael Winner? Saves time!" RIP Barry Cryer
  • Colin Graham: I like Barry Cryer's story about checking into the Europa Hotel in Belfast during the Troubles with Willie Rushton. They had to fill in a visitor's form and one question was: 'How did you hear about us?'. Willie Rushton wrote: 'The News at Ten'.
  • Emma Kennedy: So much love here today for the Maestro, Barry Cryer. He was such a wonderful man. The greatest teller of anecdotes, bar none. What a life, what a talent. #RIP
  • David Schneider: RIP Barry Cryer. One of the kindest, funniest and most generous people in comedy.
  • Simon Day: Barry cryer RIP always engaging always supportive Always available In the roots and branches of comedy the staple and the ink and the pages and the punchline Irreplaceable
  • Omid Djalili: Had a dream about Barry Cryer last night saying "goodbye old chum." Eternally grateful to have been with him on his last ever @ISIHAClue broadcasts. RIP my friend #RIPBarryCryer
  • David Quantick: A lot of people are going to miss those phone calls. RIP Barry Cryer.
  • Les Dennis: So desperately sad to hear that lovely Barry Cryer has passed. First worked with him on Who Do You Do in the Seventies. Always got a call from him on my birthday. The loveliest and funniest man. Thoughts with Terri and his family. Goodnight old friend xx
  • James Dreyfus: Oh no. Just heard the wonderful Barry Cryer has died. So kind to me over the years. Supportive, wise, incredibly funny & a hoot to have a drink or two with. A true Comedy Legend. Thank you, Barry. You'll be much missed. RIP Barry Cryer. Red heart
  • Tim Vine: Just a little story about Barry Cryer's generosity of spirit. After the first of my radio 4 chat shows finished the phone immediately rang. It was Barry telling me how much he enjoyed it. He was always encouraging and always funny. And crikey, what an amazing career. RIP Barry x
  • Fred MacAulay: Sad news this morning about the death of Barry Cryer. Last spoke to the legend in late Dec (it was my birthday) and I got the Archbishop of Canterbury at a bus stop gag. Plus an anecdote about the Bishop of Leeds. He sounded frail but well. I did a studio warm up when he was a panelist in the early nineties and he was the only one who came over to speak to me. Then years later I got to gig with him on ISIHAC. And into his birthday address book! What a man. Loved by all in comedy. Condolences to all his family and to his ISIHAC pals esp @GraemeGarden1
  • Neil Gaiman: I'm so so so sorry to hear this. I only worked with Barry Cryer once, on the @BBCRadio4 Anansi Boys – and he wasn't in the broadcast version, as he was unwell. But being in the room and watching him act and tell jokes was an utter joy. #RIPBarry
  • Jonathan Coe: It's awful that Barry Cryer has died, but there's a very minor and fleeting upside: for once Twitter is full of warmth for a comedian everybody loved (with good reason), rather than full of rage for politicians who (with equally good reason) everybody hates.
  • Jon Holmes: Sheesh. #RIP The legend that is Barry Cryer. Who else is going to call me and tell me old jokes that only he could still make funny, now? Such sad news. #RIPBarry
  •  Jay Rayner: Farewell to the great Barry Cryer. A comic genius and a very, very lovely man. Had a habit of phoning people on their birthday and telling them a joke. It was always a good one. But then his jokes always were.
  • Stephen Fry: 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.
  • Victoria Coren Mitchell: Here's Barry Cryer at our wedding. How young we all were! Except Barry, obviously. I was so proud to have him there, and it made my father feel closer. He was a lovely lovely man and this is a very sad day.
  • David Mitchell: I'm so proud to have known Barry Cryer. He was a brilliant man and a bringer of huge joy who never stopped being delighted by comedy. What an amazing life.
  • Richard Herring: Losing Barry Cryer is like losing a member of the family. Utterly gutted that I've had my last birthday joke. He was one of my absolute comedy heroes and kept working right to the f-cking end. A life well lived and a connection to every great comedian of the last 60 years. RIP
  • Arthur Smith: RIP #barrycryer most beloved of all comedians, He knew more jokes than everyone else in the world put together and was endlessly empathetic. What a life what a man
  • James Goss: Barry Cryer was once in a green room talking about working with Richard Pryor. "The women! The drink! The drugs! Blew himself up in his wheelchair doing crack cocaine!" An earwigging Nicholas Parsons turned to a friend. "Have you heard the terrible news about Richard Briers…?" When Barry got home he rang Briers to warn him. "Listen-" "I'VE HEARD."
  • Robin Ince : In honour of Barry Cryer, we should have a minute's punchlines. I'll start – "i never told you I was tidy"
  • Joel Morris: First time I met Barry Cryer, I was 19, in the BBC bar. I wanted to talk about the old days. He wanted to talk about whatever I was into. So we talked about Absolutely. And he did a McGlashan impression and laughed for ages. He was an inspiration. One of the best. RIP.
  • Gyles Brandreth: RIP #BarryCryer. Here we are only a few weeks ago. Baz was just the loveliest guy: funny & generous. He'd worked with everybody & everybody he worked with liked him. I shall miss his happy company so much – & his regular phone calls: he gave you a gem of a joke with each one.
  • Mark Sparrow: A man was driving down a country lane and ran over a cockerel. Deeply upset, he knocked the door of a nearby farmhouse. A woman opened it. The man said: "I've killed your cockerel. I'd like to replace him." "Please yourself," she said. "The hens are round the back." Barry Cryer
  • Eddie Robson: RIP Barry Cryer. Really does feel like the passing of the whole pre-Python generation of radio and TV comedy. I mean look at this list of people he wrote for, bloody hell.
  • David Tyler: In memory, a Jeremy Hardy line talking about how comedians never retire – "Retirement isn't an issue. You just keep going until you're finally older than Barry Cryer, and then he speaks at your memorial."
  • Olly Mann: Barry Cryer quoted in The Times Diary just 3 weeks ago: "Along with his son Bob, he has started a podcast called 'Now, Where Were We?' and Barry is astonished by the format. 'He was amazed,' says Bob. 'He couldn't believe anything existed that paid less than radio.'" Dude.
  • Sue Perkins: Oh Baz Rest in peace you inimitable gag-cannon. xxx #barrycryer
  • Frank Cottrell-Boyce: Barry Cryer once claimed to have a stairlift so fast it got him upstairs before he forgot what he went up for. It looks like it overshot today.
  • Ross Noble: Devastating news to hear of the passing of Barry Cryer.He was a legend of his generation and more engaged with the many new generations of writers and comics who followed him than anyone else in the business. Spending time with him was always a great joy. Such a funny and nice man
  • Angela Barnes: Goodnight Barry. As I'm a R4 comedy nerd, you were an integral part of my comedy education. And you were so encouraging and kind when I got to work with you. Barry Cryer telling you he likes your jokes is quite a feeling. A proper British comic legend
  • Laura Claxton: Years ago I worked in a pub Barry Cryer frequented. One day we got chatting and I said I wanted to write comedy. After that every time I served him he told me a joke. Always different, always funny & always a lesson. An icon with no ego – just someone who truly loved his craft
  • Eddie Braben: Eddie's friend, colleague and comedy legend Barry Cryer has died aged 86. Thoughts are with his family today.
  • Milton Jones: Great gig Barry Cryer. You were also a kind and generous audience to the rest of us. Stormed it!
  • Chris Addison: I'm very sad to hear about Barry Cryer. He wrote for the greats while being one of them himself. There's something of the passing of an age in his leaving us. I hope at the funeral there's a rousing rendition of Peace and Quiet.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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