So I’ve already made it through one of my New Year’s Resolutions! Congratulations to me! I finished Michael McIntyre’s biography, Life and Laughing, and what’s more, I truly did love it. I don’t want to be corny here and sound like a review from the Daily Mail but it really was ‘heartwarming’, ‘laugh out loud funny’ and ‘deeply moving at times’. It was everything that it promised to be. I even read it in his voice! The whole book was like one long comedy gig. It was wonderful.
The book covers his whole life, right from his very first traumatic school-day memories, through his parents’ divorce, his awkward teenage years, his life at University, his eventual big break into comedy and the relationship he eventually embarks on with his wife. All the time you’re waiting for this goofy individual to succeed and eventually, he does.
What really got me was how relatable it all was. I wasn’t born in London, I never went to a private boys school, and I’ve certainly never wanted to be a comedian, but somehow I could connect with almost everything he said. Perhaps the art is in the telling. The writing practices the same finesse as the telling of a joke. It’s set up, crafted. The whole book must have taken some serious planning, I’ll tell you that.
What I did notice part way through reading was the date of publication. This biography was published in 2010. A few months later, after the BBC realised how well the book was selling and what a hit Michael McIntyre was turning out to be, they contacted him about taking part in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are. Michael immediately got in touch with his step mother in Canada and asked her to dig out some stuff of his father’s, thinking he’d like his biggest role model to feature quite heavily in the programme. By this time his father had been gone about 17 years but Michael’s attachment to his father had remained strong. He’s been quoted that his father was a huge inspiration to him and that he was always spurred on by the thought of making his father proud. However, hearing the news, and knowing that the BBC would be able to find his death certificate (which are public records) Michael’s step mother finally told the truth about his father’s death. The famous comedian Ray Cameron did not die on the side of the road from a heart attack as Michael originally thought, he shot himself. This information was then made public a few years later on. So of course, Michael had no knowledge of this when writing his biography and the things he says about his father are all the more striking with this hindsight.
It seems that I have dwelt on the negative but I hasten to stress that this truly is a terrifically funny book. This man finds laughter in everything.
Over and out –