Even Jimmy Carr realised he had overstepped his mark when he chose to target Professor Stephen Hawking.
The 8 out of 10 Cats host has recently attracted significant criticism for his recent Netflix Special His Dark Materials.
In particular, during a 'joke' about the Holocaust, he made light of the mass murder of the Roma and Sinti people, a move that has been widely-condemned.
It seems unlikely that this latest Stephen Hawking anecdote will endear him to those who have already called for him to be 'cancelled'.
Car reveals in his new memoir 'Before and Laughter' that he posed as the parent of a disabled boy and sent 'an insane letter' to the famed theoretical physicist.
"The letter I sent was pretty brutal, it basically said: 'My son has a similar condition to you.... He loves to play. Could we set up a play date with you and him?'," Carr said.
The late Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with a slow-progressing form of motor-neurone disease in 1963 which paralysed him and eventually forced him to communicate though a single muscle in his cheek.
To Carr's surprise, Hawking replied: "You're never too old to play but I am afraid I am very busy." Despite the fact Hawking was too busy to meet, he bought Carr's fictitious disabled son a hot air balloon ride because: "I recently went on one; they can put the wheelchair in the basket."
Hawking also sent a 'beautiful' letter to Jimmy's 'son' including a copy of his biography and a photo
When the TV personality eventually met Hawkins at an awards ceremony, he said he felt like 'the worst person in the world' when he confessed what he had done.
But the very next day, despite Carr's prank, Stephen invited Jimmy for tea in Cambridge and apparently the two struck up an unlikely friendship.
Carr told the Irish Times that they used to drink together and the Cambridge academic was a regular attendee at his comedy shows.
"We’d do shots together sometimes too. His care team said tequila would be too much, so he’d be on the Cointreau" said Carr.
Carr regrets the way that the two met, but says that Hawking's response to his letter was indicative of his generous spirit.
"I also thought it demonstrated that Stephen Hawking is not only a brilliant man but a brilliant bloke. What a lovely thing to do," Carr noted.
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