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Friday, 15 June, 2001, 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK
Barry Cryer: King of Comedy
Barry Cryer OBE
Barry Cryer: Writer for comedy greats
Barry Cryer, the writer, comedian and star of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue has been made an OBE for services to comedy drama.

Born in Leeds in 1935 (though he has tried to convince many the date is a typing mistake), he was educated at Leeds Grammar School and Leeds University.

He was snapped up as a variety performer while appearing in a university revue, before eventually working with David Frost on the Frost Report.

Comedy greats

The Frost report had a group of writers who included what was to become the whole of Monty Python, Marty Feldman, David Nobbs, and many more.

One show, Frost over England, won the Golden Rose of Montreux. Cryer has also been associated with Silver and Bronze award winning shows at the Festival.

It's a sort of positive insecurity. You never solve the problem, you just hope they laugh. Every night's a first night.

Barry Cryer, on why old comedians never retire
Since then, Cryer has provided material for a list of people that reads like a who's who of British and American comedy.

The list includes Kenny Everett, Morecambe and Wise, Bruce Forsythe, Tommy Cooper, Stanley Baxter, Dick Emery, Dave Allen, Frankie Howerd, Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Richard Pryor.

Real life

Talking to BBC Devon's Andrew Segal, Cryer talked about what makes him tick. Though he doesn't analyse himself, he does analyse what others get up to.

"I love basing my jokes on truth to start with, on things that happen in real life. Or I'm a news junkie," he said.

"When I trained under David Frost, you voraciously read papers, listened to the radio, watched television, and there's a constant input of stuff happening. You absorb it, politics or whatever. There's always something to talk about.

"Tony Hancock said to me years ago: 'I swear audiences meet before a show to decide what sort of audience they're going to be'.

Barry Cryer OBE
Bary Cryer: Currently on his First Farewell Tour
"I think that's my theory about why comedians don't retire, they go on and on and on. The money has ceased to be relevant. Bob Hope and George Burns, for instance - they kept working and working.

"They've got to go on and see if they can still make the people laugh. It's a sort of positive insecurity. You never solve the problem, you just hope they laugh. Every night's a first night."

Cryer is currently on a stand up tour of the country, called The First Farewell tour. He is already planning a second due to the runaway success of the first.

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