Thursday, July 27, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Peter Cook (1937 – 1995)


English satirist, writer and comedian who is widely regarded as the father of the British satire boom of the 1960s.
Peter Cook
"You will probably have noticed that three of the defendants have very wisely chosen to exercise their inalienable right not to go into the witness box to answer a lot of impertinent questions. I will merely say that you are not to infer from this anything other than that they consider the evidence against them so flimsy that it was scarcely worth their while to rise from their seats and waste their breath denying these ludicrous charges..."
Cook quotes
He wasn't just a genius, he had the genius's impatience with the whole idea of doing something again. He reinvented an art form, exhausted its possibilities, and just left it. There is always something frightening about that degree of inventiveness... He didn't lose his powers. He just lost interest in proving that he possessed them.
Cook
Being British in this part of the century meant living in the country that had Peter Cook in it. There are wits and there are clowns in comedy, I suppose. Peter was a wit, it goes without saying, but he was funny in an almost supernatural way that has never been matched by anyone I've met or even heard about. It wasn't to do with facial expression or epigrammatic wit, or cattiness or rant or anger or technique: he had funniness in the same way that beautiful people have beauty or dancers have line and grace. He had an ability to make people gasp and gasp and gasp for breath like landed fish.




Cook Peter quotes
Well, it's always very difficult to say what prompts anybody to do anything, let alone getting underwater and teaching ravens to fly. But I think it probably all dates back to a very early age, when I was quite a young fellow. My mother, Lady Beryl Streeb-Greebling, you know, the wonderful dancer — 107 tomorrow and still dancing — she came up to me in the conservatory — I was pruning some walnuts — and she said "Arthur" — I wasn't Sir Arthur in those days — she said "Arthur, if you don't get underwater and start teaching ravens to fly, I'll smash your stupid face off," and I think it was this that sort of first started my interest in the whole business of getting them underwater.
Cook Peter
I've done a good deed. I gave that little twit his soul back. Wasn't that generous?
Peter Cook quotes
You realize that suicide's a criminal offense — In less enlightened times they'd have hung you for it.
Peter Cook
The first time I saw Peter what made the impression was the visual content of what he and Dudley Moore were doing. It was Not Only, But Also..., and Pete and Dud were dressed up as nuns and were bouncing up and down on a trampoline. I rolled off my seat. I thought I'd ever seen anything so hilarious or so surreal or so... well... beautiful. I spent the next four or five years trying to emulate that sort of visual surprise.
Cook Peter quotes
I didn't know dirty words could be done that artfully.
Cook
All right, you great git, you've asked for it. I'll cover the world in Tastee-Freez and Wimpy Burgers. I'll fill it with concrete runways, motorways, aircraft, television, automobiles, advertising, plastic flowers, frozen food and supersonic bangs. I'll make it so noisy and disgusting that even you'll be ashamed of yourself! No wonder you've so few friends; you're unbelievable!
Cook Peter
'You are now to retire, as indeed should I, carefully to consider your verdict of "Not Guilty".'
Peter Cook
If I did become Minister of Nudism, I'd be allowed to be on television every evening around nine thirty. I'd come on and say "Good evening. This is the Minister of Nudism. Take off your clothes and begin to dance about."




Peter Cook quotes
I've always wanted to be an expert on tadpoles. I've always fancied being a tadpole expert. It's a wonderful life if you become and experty tadpoleous, as they are known in the trade. You get invited to all the smart parties and social gatherings.
Peter Cook
If a dog starts biting you, you can't kick it up the throat like it deserves. People always say "Oh dear, poor little dog, he was only trying to be friendly. That's the way he tries to be friendly, sniffing at your ankles and biting you, you cruel, wicked man."
Cook quotes
I've always wanted to be part of the royal family because there are great advantages to being royal. If you're royal, whatever you do is very interesting. Whatever you do, people are very interested in it. Even if you do something very boring, people are still interested in it. If a royal person does something extremely boring, people say, "Oh, isn't it interesting that he's doing something extremely boring." If I do something extremely boring, people say, "Oh how extremely boring" — its not so good.
Cook Peter
I would like to like to make one thing clear at the very outset and that is, when you speak of a train robbery, this involved no loss of train, merely what I like to call the contents of the train, which were pilfered. We haven't lost a train since 1946, I believe it was — the year of the great snows when we mislaid a small one.
Cook Peter quotes
You know, I go to the theatre to be entertained... I don’t want to see plays about rape, sodomy and drug addiction... I can get all that at home.
Peter Cook
I've been reading a very interesting book recently. It's called The Universe and All That Surrounds It by T J Bleendreeble. It's an extremely good book about it. It's about seventy pages long, so it's fairly comprehensive about the whole thing and it's fairly interesting. Bleendreeble specialises in the universe. He doesn't branch out much beyond that. But he's quite interested in this limited field.
Peter Cook quotes
There was a time when I used to get lots of ideas... I thought up the Seven Deadly Sins in one afternoon. The only thing I've come up with recently is advertising.
Peter Cook
I've had some wonderful ideas for getting the dominating going. I've got some extremely subtle advertising slogans that should get the public behind us. Things like "Vote for EL Wisty and lovely nude ladies will come and dance with you." It's a complete lie, of course, but you can't afford to be too scrupulous if you're going to dominate the world.
Cook Peter
In the words of Marcel Proust — and this applies to any woman in the world — if you can stay up and listen with a fair degree of attention to whatever garbage, no matter how stupid it is that they're coming out with, til ten minutes past four in the morning... you're in.


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