Posted by Gordon Cheyne
And When You Smile, Funny Tales from the Life of a Humorist
Kerry Cue made us laugh out loud with stories of her life writing humour for newspapers, TV and radio, the absurdities of writing funny books, and her insane role as the light relief speaker at serious but dull conferences around Australia.


Kerry was introduced by Rashi Kapoor, and before long she had us smiling about how people, especially children, can be smart and stupid at the same time. Her experiences of teaching maths, chemistry and applied science got her in and out of trouble on numerous occasions: when asked about sex education classes, she replied unthinkingly “We’ll have sex later in the year”, and she endured some confusion over the pronunciation of the mathematical symbol Pi as “pie” or “pee”.

Her family always made her laugh while she was brought up in Kyneton, where her father was Chief Constable. With the police telephone and radio in the kitchen, there was always room for confusion and hilarity, and she and her siblings were given tasks like giving the prisoners their meals. 

Her mother also got into numerous situations: while helping a friend prepare a chicken for Xmas lunch, they first anaesthetised the chicken to making beheading it easier. This however made the chicken taste terrible, but in those days food could not be wasted. The end result was that everyone dropped off to sleep before the meal was finished. 

Kerry described how the telephone and police radio were an effective social network, with everybody in town knowing each other:  nothing new in Social Media, she said.

Some people have no sense of humour at all, she said with a smile, before giving us some examples:

To publicise her first book, “Crooks, chooks and bloody ratbags” she wrote her own version of a book review, and described it as being by “The Valium Daily”. To her surprise, it was accepted as a genuine review. 

When she noted that eunuchs live longer than other men, her slogan “Snip, snip, for the longer trip” was also perceived as genuine, leading to enquiries about the procedure. 

Kerry wrote for TV shows such as The Comedy Company in the 80s, and for Home Beautiful in 1994. Going through their archives she found amazing recipes for tripe, rabbit and cabbage that were written during the depression. 

In the 70s she noted that dress and decor changed as more women went into the workforce. Her book “Me Land” self obsession can make us stupid, and as women changed from “rearing” children to “managing” them, they discovered that they could not “sack” their underperforming charges.

Kerry ended her talk with an amusing interview on the Ray Martin Show, and some insights into her more recent books.

Her final point was “Don’t limit yourself” for if you believe you can’t handle a situation, you won’t.

Questions elicited that she always tries to end with a thought like that, and that her favourite comedian is Billy Connolly, as he manages to laugh at himself. 

Rashi Kapoor thanked Kerry for her hilarious talk, and described that a donation would be made to Australian Rotary Health in her name. 

When challenged by Kerry to sing the vote of thanks, Rashi complied with a beautiful musical “Thank-you”.



Kerry Cue is an author (22 books), humorist, journalist (with columns published in every major Australian newspaper) and comic Maths blogger, Mathspig (1.5M hits). She spoke at the International Congress of Mathematical Education in Hamburg in 2016. Her book, TARGET 91, a suspense novel about American gun culture, was published by Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ in 2019. The Sunday Story Club (PanMacmillan), a non-fiction book, co-written with Doris Brett, was also published in 2019. Even Kerry thinks this is all a bit too much and wonders how it happened and where on earth 2020 went.