Tommy Cooper, who would have been 90 this year, liked to give the impression of utter chaos on stage.
In fact, his calamitous attempts at magic tricks were meticulously choreographed. He was a member of the magic circle, but one day, a trick went wrong, and everyone laughed their heads off. So it sort of became his new act…to get things wrong.
Over the decades, he built up a database of more than a million gags, collected in a series of alphabetised files, covering every conceivable topic, from ‘absent-minded’ to ‘zoo’.
Now, 27 years after the great comic’s death, a selection from Cooper’s secret joke files has been published for the first time.
To be fair, on paper/written down, they look fucking awful, and he has far funnier jokes than the ones below…but just imagine them being read in Cooper’s distinctive voice…a sound he compared to ‘combing a wire-haired terrier against the grain’ .
Well, enjoy…be nostalgic…or if you’ve never heard of him…go and find him…he’s ridiculous, especially after a few stubbies.
My wife wanted to go to the ballet. I said: ‘I’m not going to sit and watch a lot of people on their toes in long underwear.’ She said: ‘You don’t have to. Wear your tuxedo.’
I always call a spade a spade, until the other night when I stepped on one in the dark.
I love bathing beauties, but the trouble is I never bathe any.
She’s always smiling. She’s the only girl I know whose teeth are sunburnt.
Now here’s a quick laugh. Do this tomorrow. Walk into an antiques shop and shout: ‘What’s new?’
I’ve got a wife who never misses me. Her aim is perfect!
This old man was dying and he called his nephew to his bedside. He said: ‘I’m leaving you all my money.’ The nephew said: ‘Thank you, Uncle. What can I do for you?’ He said: ‘Get your foot off my oxygen tube.’
Every day she takes the car out, she comes back with the same question: ‘Guess who I ran into.’
When the nurse told my mother she had an eight-pound bundle of joy, she said: ‘Thank God, the laundry’s back!’
When I asked her to whisper those three little words that would make me walk on air, she said: ‘Sure . . . go hang yourself.’
(As Sherlock Holmes) I say, Watson, this is a most serious case — the window is broken on both sides.
A dog bit a chunk out of my leg the other day. A friend of mine said: ‘Did you put anything on it?’ I said: ‘No, he liked it as it was.’
My wife is really into Do-It-Yourself. Every time I ask her to fix something, she says: ‘Oh, do it yourself!’
My wife does her own decorating, but she overdoes it. The other day I opened the fridge and there was a lampshade on the lightbulb.
I swam the English Channel once. ‘But a lot of people have swum the Channel.’ Lengthwise?
I had a wonderful dream last night. I dreamed that Brigitte Bardot came up to me and said: ‘I will grant you three wishes. Now what are the other two?’
A drunk was brought into a police station. He pounded his fist on the counter and said: ‘I want to know why I’ve been arrested.’ The sergeant said: ‘You have been brought in for drinking.’ He said: ‘Oh, that’s all right, then. Let’s get started!’
I always sit in the back of a plane. It’s much safer. You never hear of a plane backing into a mountain!
In Las Vegas, they gamble everywhere. I went into a drug store for an aspirin and the girl behind the counter said: ‘I’ll toss you, double or nothing.’ I lost. I came out with two headaches.
I saw a sign on a Scottish golf course once. It said: ‘Members will please refrain from picking up lost balls until they have stopped rolling!’
I said to the girl in the shop: ‘I want to buy a hat.’ She said: ‘Fedora?’ I said: ‘No, for myself!’
I’m recovering from a cold. I’m so full of penicillin that, if I sneeze, I’ll cure someone.
I knew a hypochondriac who wouldn’t visit the Dead Sea until he found out what it died of!
He’s so tight-fisted, he’s got varicose veins in his knuckles.
She still plays the piano by ear . . . but sometimes her earrings get in the way.
In days of old, when knights were bold, the king turned to his knight and said: ‘What have you been doing today?’ The knight said: ‘I have been robbing and pillaging on your behalf, burning the villages of your enemies in the north.’ The King said: ‘But I don’t have any enemies in the north.’ The knight said: ‘I’m afraid you do now.’
This guy bought his wife a burial plot for her birthday. The following year, when he bought her nothing, she complained. He said: ‘What are you complaining about? You didn’t use the present I bought you last year!’
A piano-tuner was called to a nightclub to tune the piano. He was at it for five hours, but the bill only came to £3. The manager said: ‘Is that all? How come you worked for five hours to tune the piano and you only charge £3?’ He said: ‘What?’
When I was a kid, I went to a psychiatrist for one of those aptitude tests. On the desk he put a pitchfork, a wrench, and a hammer and he said to the nurse: ‘If he grabs the pitchfork, he’ll become a farmer. If he grabs the wrench, he’ll be a mechanic, and if he takes the hammer, he’ll be a carpenter.’ I grabbed the nurse!
The town was so dull, one day the tide went out and it never came back.
This fellow walked into a bar with a chicken under one arm and a crocodile under the other. The barman said, ‘What’ll you have?’ He said: ‘A whisky and soda.’ Then the crocodile spoke up and said: ‘I’ll have a gin and tonic.’ The barman said: ‘That’s amazing. I’ve never seen a crocodile that could talk before.’ He said: ‘He can’t. The chicken’s a ventriloquist.’
People learn something new every day. Why, just today, my wife learned that a car won’t climb a telephone pole.
She was so beautiful, when I took her home in a taxi, I could hardly keep my eyes on the meter!
It wasn’t easy to get us kids to eat olives. I had to start off on Martinis!
I came from a very poor family of five children. We all used to sleep in the same bed. In fact, I never slept alone until I got married.
A leopard went to see a psychiatrist. He said: ‘Every time I look at my wife, I see spots before my eyes.’ The psychiatrist said: ‘That’s only natural.’ The leopard said: ‘But, doctor, she’s a zebra.’
Once I painted a girl in the nude and I almost froze to death.
by Robbo Green