Female comedians' best gags after Michael Parkinson said women aren't funny

HAVE you heard the one about the “sexist old fart” who says women are not very funny? 

That would be veteran broadcaster Michael Parkinson, 85.

Talking about men in an interview, he said: “It’s a very contentious statement, but they are much better than women in their sense of humour.”

Oh Parky, pop another Werther’s Original in your gob and reminisce about how in the 1970s you could get away with telling actress Helen Mirren her breasts, “Detract from her performance”.

Hilarious, eh? I guess you had to be there . . . 

Dame Helen, 75, called Parkinson a “sexist old fart” after he refused to apologise for that interview — and he is doing his best to prove her right. 

I’ve no doubt we are the funniest nation in the world, but we have never provided the most welcoming stage for women. America’s funniest women move from stand-up to writing and performing in some of the best sitcoms and comedy films in the world.

Britain’s obsession with panel shows does not help. A conveyor belt of men called Lee or Russell are shifted from one to the other, with “the woman” on each show often being a giggling pop star who appears painfully unfunny compared to the scripted lines the male comedians are given. 

Alas, there are some people, like Parky, who will never accept women are funny. But let’s acknowledge them for what they are: The people who aren’t clever enough to get the joke. 


. . . as Mrs Merton

To Debbie McGee: So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels? 

To George Best: When you were a little boy, knocking a football around Belfast, did you ever think you’d one day be famous in every pub in Britain?

To Melinda Messenger: You’re more than a pair of bosoms aren’t you? Because you won rear of the year, didn’t you?

To Carol Thatcher: Everybody always wants to talk about your mother. It’s not going to be like that tonight, Carol. What’s your father like?

To Germaine Greer: Tell me Germaine, what’s the difference between being sexually liberated in the Sixties and an old slapper now?


I’ve lived in England now for ten years with my lovely daughter. I love having a British child. It’s like having a tiny and ineffective butler at home.

Would you trade your life with a teenage girl’s life? Do you remember what it was like when we had no power, no money, and when we did our own eyebrows? No thank you!

Men are like dolphins – best enjoyed on holiday.


I stopped buying women’s mags. I only ever see someone who looks like me under the word “Before”.

Somebody said recently: “Are you pregnant?” I said: “Not unless I’ve been sh**ged by Mr Kipling.”

I read about a couple in their 80s where she died and he died soon after. The paper said a broken heart. That’s not a medical condition. If he died a fortnight later, it’s probably because he didn’t know how to cook.


On her ex-boyfriend: He was really into family. He’d never come on the road with me on the weekends because he wanted to spend time with his wife.

You know that show Teen Mom? Or if you’re from the South, Mom.

In every group of girlfriends, there’s that one who is sluttiest. If you don’t have that friend, you’re that friend.

I was dating an infectious disease doctor, because . . .  two birds.


I was not a particularly small child. I was the one who always got picked to play Bethlehem in the school play.

If we aren’t supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?

I asked my GP: “Is it too late for me as a fat middle-aged woman? He said: “No, it’s never too late, just do something a couple of times a week that gets you slightly out of breath.” So I started smoking again.


What Iran needs now is a more modern leader – a mullah lite.

I had a boyfriend who called my son, “My baggage”. He’s four, he’s not baggage. He’s hand luggage.

It’s no fun being a broody Iranian woman. Every time I said to people, “My body clock is ticking”, they would hit the ground.

For exiled Iranian writers, the closest thing we have to a literary award is a fatwah.


I bought myself some glasses. My observational comedy improved.

You can’t lose a homing pigeon. If it doesn’t come back, then what you’ve lost is a pigeon.

If Adam and Eve can’t make it work in paradise, how am I going to make it work in Lewisham? 

I went to Paris. Nothing funny happened there. “But Sara, why are you telling us this?” Otherwise that trip is not tax deductable.

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