Eric Sykes

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Eric Sykes, CBE (4 May 19234 July 2012) was an English comedian, actor, writer and director for radio, stage, television and film.



  • [To Jimmy Edwards] Don't forget we are talking to rebels.
    • During a show at the Cranborne Barracks, near Salisbury, Rhodesia to the all-white Rhodesian Light Infantry, as cited in "Wilson Butt for Jimmy Edwards", The Daily Telegraph (11 March 1976), p. 5.
    • The two men ab-libbed during a revue show entitled Big, Bad Mouse.
  • Ten years ago I would have been dumbstruck by the attitude of Equity.
    Nowadays, however, we appear to be conditioned to the erosion of our liberties, and seem to have lost the will to fight for what we believe is right, and not for what is fashionable.
    Actions like that of Equity can only inflame the situation, whereas art should break down barriers, not help create them.
    I have been uplifted by the spirit of the people, Black and white. Not all Rhodesians agree with [prime minister] Ian Smith, but I have a feeling most people respect him.
    • Quoted in "Eric Sykes Scorns Africa Ban by Equity", The Daily Telegraph (19 April 1976), p. 3
    • Responding to a proposed ban from Equity that its members should not work in Rhodesia or South Africa. About 93% of the population of Rhodesia were black around this time, about 6.5% were white. After a dispute with Britain over the manner in which the country could gain full independence, the internationally unrecognised Rhodesia made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in 1965 to preserve white minority rule. The period of UDI did not end until 1979.


  • If you understand comedy, you understand life. Drama, death, tragedy – everybody has these. But with humour you've got all these, and the antidote. You have found the answer. It doesn't follow that because you are a good comedy writer, you're a happy fellow. I've got one of the most miserable faces in the world. I am only happy when I am working. If I'm not working, I get screwed up because my time is going, my life is slipping by.
  • My theory is that we are all idiots. The people who don’t think they’re idiots — they’re the ones that are dangerous.
  • I always say to young people, you can have the best script, be the funniest man, but if they don't laugh — you're not a comedian.

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