Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) says George H.W. Bush had one "serious flaw”: The late 41st president could never remember a punchline.

"He had a very serious flaw known by all close to him," the Wyoming Republican said at the state funeral service for Bush at Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday.


"He loved a good joke, the richer the better," Simpson, 87, continued. "And he'd throw his head back and give that great laugh. But he could never, ever remember a punchline. And I mean never," Simpson said to laughs from the mourners gathered.

"So the punchline for George Herbert Walker Bush is this: You would've wanted him on your side," said Simpson.

"He never lost his sense of humor. Humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life," the former lawmaker said. Bush, said Simpson, "never hated anyone. He knew what his mother and my mother always knew: hatred corrodes the container it's carried in."

Simpson — who called Bush the "most decent and honorable person" he ever met — brought his own wisecracks to the funeral service, drawing several chuckles from the crowd, including for the line: "Those who travel the high road of humility in Washington, D.C., are not bothered by heavy traffic."