Sunday 23 April 2023

Barry Humphries -- the man I knew

The sad death of Barry Humphries.

I knew Barry a bit in the 1970s when I was providing showbiz articles and radio interviews for Australian outlets. It would be a terrible conceit to claim him as a friend but I did interview him several times -- once in a toilet which was the only quiet spot we would find in a theatre -- and he would sometimes chat to me on the phone to try out sayings for The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, his comic strip in Private Eye magazine. There was the famous "technicolour yawn" for drunken vomiting, then I remember for some reason him asking me what I thought of "Go stick your head up a dead bear's bum". I can't remember if that was used in the strip.

On more than one occasion, when Barry was busy, he answered the phone with Edna Everage's voice, claiming to be his secretary and promising that "Mr Humphries will phone you back as soon as he is free" which he always did. On reflection it is amazing that he gave me his private telephone number. Most celebrities I interviewed had to be contact through their agent or publicist.

CLICK HERE to listen to a mostly-serious radio interview that I did with him for Australia's Macquarie Network in 1970 as he was becoming well known in the United Kingdom.

And these are articles I did for TV Week (Australia). For (legitimate) reasons too complicated to explain here, my TV Week articles were published under the name "Bruce Conway".