Bob Monkhouse was famed for his quick-fire quips, encyclopaedic memory of jokes and effortless ability to improvise.
For years, he jotted down his ideas in ring-bound, maroon books, but was devastated when two of the priceless comic dossiers were stolen in 1995. A £10,000 reward was offered for their return and, after an 18-month wait, he was finally reunited with his folders. A management consultant who found the books was accused of handling stolen goods, but the charge was later dropped.
Monkhouse, who collected millions of jokes during his lifetime, was once spotted in the House of Commons strangers’ gallery during Prime Ministers’ question time scribbling down notes.
Here are some of his memorable quotations:
- The last time I was in Spain I got through six Jeffrey Archer novels. I must remember to take enough toilet paper next time.
- Personally, I don’t think there’s intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one?
- I remember when safe sex was a padded headboard.
- I want to die like my father, peacefully in his sleep, not screaming and terrified, like his passengers.
- Silence is not only golden; it is seldom misquoted.
- I can still enjoy sex at 74 – I live at 75, so it’s no distance.
- They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. They’re not laughing now.
- Marriage is an investment which pays dividends if you pay interest.
- I tend to sleep in the nude. Which isn’t a bad thing except for maybe on those long flights.
- My wife said: “Can my mother come down for the weekend?” So I said “Why?” and she said “Well, she’s been up on the roof two weeks already”.
- A tom cat hijacked a plane, stuck a pistol into the pilot’s ribs and demanded “Take me to the canaries”.
- What’s a geriatric? A German footballer scoring three goals.
- My mother tried to kill me when I was a baby. She denied it. She said she thought the plastic bag would keep me fresh.
- How can we expect a politician to believe in the wisdom of the people when he knows it was the people who voted him in?
- What do gardeners do when they retire?
- I’m not saying my wife’s a bad cook, but she uses a smoke alarm as a timer.
- I spilt some stain remover on my sleeve. How do you get that out?
- Real happiness is when you marry a girl for love and find out later she has money.
- (On his own illness) I saw a specialist who asked me ‘Are you familiar with the phrase faecal impaction?’ I said I think I saw that one with Glenn Close and Michael Douglas.
- When the inventor of the drawing board messed things up, what did he go back to?
- I’d never be unfaithful to my wife for the reason that I love my house very much.
- People always say: “You’re a comedian, tell us a joke.” They don’t say: “You’re an MP, tell us a lie.”
- Where do the homeless have 90% of their accidents?