Politically incorrect comedian, Bernard Manning, dies aged 76

British comedian Bernard Manning, from Manchester, was one of the most politically incorrect comedians of all time. His jokes included those about mothers-in-law, women, homosexuals and black people. He died yesterday, aged 76.

Bernard Manning: The man they couldn't gag

19th June 2007
Daily Mail

Bernard Manning, the blunt, often crude and always controversial standup comic, died yesterday aged 76.

He had been taken to hospital in Manchester two weeks ago with kidney problems after being forced to cancel a show for the first time in almost six decades.

Manning, master of the oneliner, had ignored changing attitudes and refused to alter a stage act made nationally famous when he appeared on ITV's The Comedians show in the 1970s.

Controversial comedian Bernard Manning died yesterday aged 76

He was regularly accused of telling racist jokes and taunting homosexuals but denied being racist himself.

He once shocked his politically correct critics by declaring: "I'm no racist. I take the p*** out of poofs, too."

Manning was born in 1930 in Ancoats, one of Manchester's poorest areas. "We had absolutely nothing," he said. "One cold water tap in the house, no bath, outside toilet."

His fledgling comedy career began during National Service when stationed in Berlin in the late 1940s, when he began doing stand-up shows to entertain the troops.

In 1959 he bought the Embassy Club in Manchester with his father, and for the next 40 years performed three or four times a week.

The family man: With his wife Vera in 1981

After Granada TV talent scouts spotted him in the club in 1971, Manning achieved fame - and notoriety - when he appeared on The Comedians alongside the likes of Frank Carson, George Roper, Colin Crompton and Stan Boardman.

He went on to amass a multi-million-pound fortune, but his outrageous act which continued to pack in the club audiences became increasingly unacceptable to TV chiefs.

The soldier: in Berlin, aged 19

Some venues across the country banned him but he refused to tone down his material and revelled in the controversy generated by his shows.

He denied being racist: "I tell jokes," he said. "You never take jokes seriously."

In the mid-1980s he was mugged, an incident which he claimed brought upon the onset of diabetes.

By 2002 he was taking 16 pills and several injections a day after a series of
health problems including strokes, angina and failing eyesight.

His wife Vera died in 1995, along with both his brothers within a space of 12 months, but he continued to perform on stage whenever possible.

He was forced to close down the Embassy Club for several months in 1999 owing to ill health but was delighted when his son, Bernard Jnr, took over.

The toddler Bernard: aged one

Last month he attended his own "wake" - a gathering of 600 friends and fans in Manchester for a posthumous Channel 4 show called This Was Your Life - but insisted: "I'm going to be with you for a long time yet."

Stan Boardman said: "He had problems walking but he still managed to get on stage. And he was telling jokes all night - his brain was as sharp as it was 20 years ago."

Frank Carson said of Manning: "The only people who misunderstood him were those who didn't have a sense of humour."

Film director Michael Winner, who paid for Manning to perform at a party, said: "I thought he was the funniest man in the world. He was the last of the comedians who put the PC brigade behind him.

"He took no notice of them and just got on with the job of being funny.

"It was ridiculous that he was somewhat ostracised. His audience included all the people that he made jokes about. None of them gave a damn because he was just so funny."

Writer and broadcaster Barry Cryer said: "The thing about Bernard was that he looked funny, he sounded funny and he had excellent timing.

"It was just what he actually said that could be worrying."


A black man walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder. The barman looks at him and says, "Wow, where did you get that from?"

The parrot replies, "Africa. There's ****ing loads of 'em."

I'm glad I'm not bisexual - I couldn't stand being rejected by men as well as women.

I once bought my kids a set of batteris for Christmas - with a note on it saying, "Toys not included."

Fifty years ago, 40 white men chasing a black man was the Ku Klux Klan - nowadays they call it the US Open."

Bernard Manning to waiter in a French restaurant: "Have you got frog's legs?"

Waiter: "Oui, monsieur."

BM: "Well hop off to the kitchen and make me some good old British pie and chips."

I went to see Pavarotti the other week. He's a miserable b*****, isn't he? He doesn't like you joining in.

A bloke goes home to the wife and says, "Pack your bags. I've won the pools." She asks, "What should I pack? Something heavy or something light? Where are we going?" He replies, "We're going nowhere. Just pack 'em and **** off."

A police recruit is aksed during an exam, "What would you do if you had to arrest your own mother-in-law?" He replies, "I'd call for backup."

A woman is driving along the motorway near London when her husband rings on her mobile phone. "Honey, I've just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way around the M25," he says. "So be careful." "It's not just one car," the wife replies. "There are hundreds of them."

I've heard a lot of those jokes but I am not sure I ever have seen him.