Sincerely, Barry Humphries – greatest comedian or very naughty boy?

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Readers flocked to mourn and celebrate, but sometimes ticked off, Barry Humphries. Was he our greatest comedian, just a man in drag legitimately poking fun at ridiculous subjects, or just a very naughty boy? Everyone had a view.

Australian comedy star Barry Humphries has died in hospital at the age of 89

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Credit:Matt Golding

LC3 Walked in, threw open the pearlescent gates, stalks of gladioli tossed at those who made up the honor guard… “Hellooooooo, Possums, I’m here.”

Cec Poole Hopefully he’s just too much in heaven and sent back to us!

Bullwinkle Baz, please jump out from behind a curtain somewhere and tell us you were only kidding. This can not be true.

Harvey Grennan RIP Barry. You made me laugh for more than half a century. I cried on Sunday.

Budawang The lady and her entourage represented everything that is good about comedy: bold, irreverent, breaking convention, self-deprecating and very, very clever. We have lost a much-needed antidote to this age of groupthink and identity politics.

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Credit:David Rowe

James Athanassou Some may mourn the death of Barry Humphries, but not all. Life is more than popularity or notoriety. He certainly filled a few moments with some comedy, but we should also take a close look at what he portrayed and why we laughed about it.

PhilJohnson A little bit of Sydney has died.

Mustafa Erem Many comedians swear to be funny. This is intellectual ineptitude or laziness. Humphries can never be blamed for either.

reader9 I hope they serve Russian salad in heaven.

The Wizard of Oz Dame Edna for the $5 bill.

Natalie Maschmeyer Am I the only one who has had the Bazza McKenzie movie theme tune stuck in my head since news of Aunt Edna’s death broke?

Margaret Johnston Apparently, Dame Edna might have aimed at pretentiousness and the Australian working class, but it often felt like misogyny.

harrowagenda I remember his cell phone ringing while he was on questions and answers. Responding to this, he said: “I can’t speak right now, I’m on national television”. The host had his head in his hands.

John D Wilson He helped us laugh at some of our more obnoxious traits and see how silly they were and still are. Brilliant in the simple things he saw and showed us. Ourselves.

Maria Julian When Barry Humphries died, we not only lost Barry, we lost all of those characters in him. Each had a deeply hidden message. Edna, Les, Sandy and others. We will miss them all. And especially Barry.

Mona Finley Personally, I’ve never understood what’s so incredibly funny about a guy wearing a dress. Must be a holdover from the mime lady tradition.

Denis Suettling I will miss Barry Humphries wrinkling his nose at political correctness. He was great, funny, and didn’t care who took offense at his outrageous characters. He will be greatly missed. Tal, Bazza.

Mike Fogarty The last time I saw Humphries was in London in 1988, when I got into a police car. As he walked down the beach he scowled at me. I was wrong, because as a fellow diplomat I should have offered our cultural ambassador a ride.

Pam Fichtner Not a comedian but an actor, entertainer and social commentator who had a unique ability to create characters with intelligence and warmth.

Barry French The amazing Aurora Australis was simply heaven welcoming Barry Humphries, Dame Edna, Sir Les and others to the perpetual choir. Pretty sure Barry had organized everything beforehand. Barry would do that.

Comedian Sammy J, a proud recipient of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Barry Award for Best Show, contributed an opinion piece on the late comedian entitled: I owe Barry one. I won a Barry. And I was on the board when we voted to rebrand the Barry

Ministry of Truth Of course, people are entitled to their opinions, and others are equally entitled to respond in the way they see most effective, in this case removing his name from the institution he founded.

gromit Festival organizers must now ensure that no comedian ever mocks or criticizes any section or group within the community.

Howe Synnott When it comes to Humphries’ comments on transgender people – and the MICF’s decision to rename the Barry Prize – there are certainly good people on both sides of this debate.

nixon We will remember Barry Humphries long after the MICF and most of his cast have gone down in history.

jaycee I am guessing my 86 year old mum is looking for the two golliwogs sitting amongst the other dolls and teddy bears in her sewing room next?

Demon George Interesting that MICF decided to attack intolerance with – intolerance.

Columnist Jenna Price suggested that there’s no better time to say what you really think of someone than when they’re gone. If it’s a mortal sin to speak ill of the dead, I have a confession to make

facts please Oh, for the days when we could just enjoy the work of artists and not know at all about their all-too-human flaws.

Genevieve Milton One does not badmouth the dead because they have no right of reply.

Gordon Lambert Here’s the rub, great jokes inherently challenge our sensibilities and sometimes overshoot the mark. But while Humphries was a genius at his craft, that is no argument for his beatification.

And Humphries’ most famous comedy character had the last word: Goodbye, possums: Barry Humphries’ obituary in his own words

Wonderful piece that shows what a talent Barry Humphries was.

actually the cat Barry was a Melbourne man through and through. Despite his teasing, he loved this city. His character, Sandy Stone, fondly recalled the mundane details of life in Melbourne in the 1950s, and Humphries clearly shared that sensibility. Maybe Barry’s last joke was about dying in Sydney?

ben A wonderful man and obviously a very loved one. Fantastically funny. May he rest in peace knowing that he brought so much joy to so many.

Deirdre Chambers Just goes to show how little the Melbourne he speared has actually changed in 43 years. It’s still a humorless little union-run colony.

Nola Tucker So bid farewell to your possums, Bazza, and may you get a standing ovation in whatever heaven you choose.

  • You can join the discussion on in the comments section of each article and in letters to the editor in print and online. I’ll see you next Friday. Your. sincerely, Harriet Veitch, Acting Editor

Justin Scaccy

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