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Monday, March 26, 2012
Most people receive presents on their birthday. But Barry Cryer, who hit 77 on the day that he appeared at Cromer Pier Pavilion Theatre, preferred to give - and give - than to receive.
For the veteran funny-man, whose top- level comedy career has endured for more than 50 years, could not resist giving a wisecrack-hungry audience gag after gag.
Accompanied by Colin Sell, his piano-playing sidekick from Radio Four show I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue, Cryer journeyed through the alphabet to deliver joke after joke (working out at about 10p a gag, by my reckoning).
Mixing recollections from his stellar career with jokes and insights, he went from Arthur Askey to zimmer via stops including Countdown, fat, tattooed ladies, Sherlock Holmes, Quasi Modo and ventriloquists.
Most of it was laugh-out-loud funny - or lol, as tiresome teenagers would say.
Cryer also threw in some songs, including My Old Man’s a Dustman, to the tune of Heartbreak Hotel, and If You’ve Found Cheeses, in the guise of The Rev Ricotta Mascarpone.
Cryer is unfairly self- deprecating. The show is called Butterfly Brain, and subtitled “a stream of unconsciousness and sit-down comedy”.
But the septuagenarian has a monumental memory for jokes, and a laconic delivery that is born of experience.
I can take or leave many of the modern comics, some of who rely on shock, not substance. Barry Cryer showed clearly that the old ones remain the good ones.