Lily Savage quotes: 16 of the best jokes and one-liners from Paul O’Grady and drag queen alter ego

O'Grady was never without a one-liner, witty retort or wisecrack

Paul O’Grady in June 2022 (Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)Paul O’Grady in June 2022 (Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Paul O’Grady in June 2022 (Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

TV and radio host Paul O’Grady passed away “unexpectedly but peacefully” at the age of 67 on Tuesday night (28 March). O’Grady, who hosted The Paul O’Grady Show, Blind Date and Blankety Blank, was also known for his drag queen persona, Lily Savage.

His partner Andre Portasio said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening. We ask, at this difficult time, that whilst you celebrate his life you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss. He will be greatly missed by his loved ones, friends, family, animals and all those who enjoyed his humour, wit and compassion.”

O’Grady was never short of a wisecrack, a witty response or a hilarious one-liner, so here are some of both O’Grady and Lily Savage’s best quotes and one-liners:

As Paul O’Grady:

  • “Noel Coward said work is more fun than fun, but then he didn’t work in the Bird’s Eye factory packing frozen fish fingers nine hours a day, did he?”
  • “I like a Blackpool breakfast, me - 20 ciggies and a pot of tea.”
  • “I’m not romantic. Even when I was a teenager if somebody asked if they could hold my hand I’d say, ‘no, it’s not heavy, I can hold it myself, thank you.’”
  • “I enjoyed school - although I ran away on the first day. I’d reminded the teacher that it was nearly time for ‘Watch With Mother’ on TV.“
  • “My name’s Lily Savage. Oh, God, it’s not Lily Savage, it’s Paul O’Grady.”
  • [On the English] “If queuing and the weather was an Olympic sport we’d win hands down.”
  • “I’d rather do community service than sit and write a load of Christmas cards.”
  • "I was a really picky eater as a child. Because I was obsessed by Popeye, my mum and aunts would put my food in a can to represent spinach and we’d hum the Popeye tune and then I’d happily eat it.”
  • "Every week I have a disaster in my kitchen. The fire alarm goes off repeatedly. But it doesn’t stop me from being adventurous.”
  • “I only like doing live telly. It’s great because you go in and do it and then go home. No edit, no retakes.”

As Lily Savage:

  • "Has anyone got a ciggie? I can’t breathe!"
  • [On Silk Cut cigarettes] "Your chest clears up but you’ve got piles by the end of the week."
  • “Life’s too short to clean an oven.”
  • “I went to the doctor the other day and he said I was a paranoid schizophrenic... Well, he didn’t actually say it, but we know what he was thinking.”
  • “You need two things in a riot - flat shoes and a pram.”
  • “When a girl’s skint, the best thing to do is have a break-in.”