'Heaven is a funnier place' Nick Ferrari pays tribute to comedy legend Barry Cryer

28 January 2022, 08:17

Nick Ferrari paid moving tribute to comedy legend Barry Cryer
Nick Ferrari paid moving tribute to comedy legend Barry Cryer. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

LBC presenter Nick Ferrari has paid a moving tribute to comedy legend Barry Cryer who died yesterday, aged 86.

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Speaking about the British comedy icon Breakfast, Nick said: "Sadly a day I had always feared would always dawn.

"I had the pleasure, I only met him on a couple of occasions, but what a top bloke and laughing to the very end and sharing a joke unfortunately I can’t share on the radio. I say farewell Barry Cryer.

His family announced yesterday he died on Tuesday "peacefully, in good spirits and with his family around him".

Adding "heaven became a funnier place" after his passing.

The writer and performer appeared on stage, screen and radio and penned jokes for countless household names during a seven-decade career.

He wrote for legends of British comedy, including Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, Sir Billy Connelly and Tommy Cooper and in 2018, he was handed a lifetime achievement award for his comedy career by the British Music Hall Society.

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Speaking to Nick at Breakfast, fellow comedian Omid Djalili shared his memories of Mr Cryer branding him as the "the Jehovah of jokes" and "a mountain of mirth".

He said: "When people grow it is not about survival of the fittest, it is about survival of those who can adapt, he was able to adapt and you know coming from 50 years ago he was writing for pretty much the main stream and then he was writing for Kenny Everett and then he was writing for the alternative comedians.

"He was just somebody who loved comedy. For him funny was funny. It didn’t matter what your political persuasion was or what ever background you came from, for him funny was funny.

"And I think what kept him relevant was his love for comedy and refusal to discuss why something was funny. He never liked to dissect it and that was the most important thing that he had.

Recalling found memories of his friend, he added: "If he knew you and had your number he would ring you up on your birthday and it used to feel so good, he goes ‘Baz Cryer here happy birthday’ and we’d chat for a couple of minutes.

"I found someone who could to a great Barry Cryer impression and I said lets call him up on his birthday. And he went ‘Baz Cryer here just wanted to wish you a happy birthday’ and [Barry] said ‘who’s this?’.

"And [the impersonator] went ‘it is Baz Cryer I wanted to wish you a happy birthday’ and [Barry] went ‘thank god for that I thought he had forgotten my birthday’. "

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A family statement said yesterday: "Dad was a talented comedy writer and comedian in a particularly golden vintage. Incidentally he never really liked the terms 'comedy writer' or 'comedian' instead preferring hack and entertainer, and always thought the term 'national treasure' meant he'd just been dug up. He was, in his words, arrogant in his humility.

"He had a gift for friendship (as anyone who still has a landline will testify) and a genius for putting people at their ease. Oh yes, and he made many people laugh. A lot. Over many years.

"The statement added: "It'll be of no surprise to those that knew and worked with him that he was telling an Archbishop of Canterbury joke to a nurse not long before he died.

"That was one of his gifts, making strangers feel welcome. Making them laugh.

"He leaves behind him a life of fun, joy, love and silliness and we'll all be doing our best to maintain that legacy."

He regularly told fantastic stories and anecdotes about others - the many brilliant and fascinating people he'd worked with and knew - but as he was loved and admired by to many - why don't we start telling some stories about Baz and his brilliant and mischievous life and career?

"And to end, as Dad would say, 'Same time tomorrow?"

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