My Father Had a Profound Influence On Me—He Was a Lunatic!

Spike Milligan? Michael Parkinson? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A popular comedian once asserted that his father had a major influence on him. Normally, this type of claim is followed by effusive praise of the father. But the comedian employed a gleeful paraprosdokian by saying that his father was a lunatic. Would you please help me to find out who crafted this jest?

Quote Investigator: The Irish-English comedian Spike Milligan appeared several times on the U.K talk show of Michael Parkinson. In 1982 the host published “The Best of Parkinson” containing extracts from the most memorable interviews of the show including Milligan’s remarks about his father. Boldface added to excepts by QI: 1

My father had a profound influence on me—he was a lunatic! He went bald when he was very young, about seventeen, and so he used to wear a wig which in those days looked like shredded GPO directories.

Below are two additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading My Father Had a Profound Influence On Me—He Was a Lunatic!


  1. 1982, The Best of Parkinson by Michael Parkinson, Chapter: Spike Milligan, Quote Page 109, Pavilion Books Limited, London in Association with Michael Joseph Limited. (Verified with scans)