Paul Merton is widely considered to be one of Britain's most established and famous living comedians. His weekly appearances on BBC2's Have I Got News For You (which has now been running for 23 years), as well as Just A Minute and a whole host of other Radio 4 improvised shows, have seen him become a household name and national treasure to millions.His humour is (mostly) intelligent, surreal at other times.Like Steven Fry, who has a similar standing in the UK public's hearts, he is always on your side.However, unlike Fry, the public knows Paul is always against pomposity and largesse. It is impossible to pr cis a life in a short paragraph, but you will be aware of key episodes of which he has little talked about.His upbringing in working class South London is detailed and richly observed.And whether it's about his early work packing meat and or his efforts to try and break into comedy Paul's writing is funny, poignant and revealing.His emergence as a start of the radical and exciting 1980s alternative comedy scene gives great scope for tales of everyone from Fry and Laurie, Smith and Jones, French and Saunders and hundreds of less well known and surreal double acts.You might also know that Paul sectioned himself in to the Maudsley Hospital for mental health issues around this time, but he has never written about it in the kind of detail that he does here. It is not an easy subject to write about but he pulls it off brilliantly.And whether it's about his marriage and divorce with the actress Caroline Quentin, for example, or the tragic death of his second wife, Sarah Parkinson, Paul deals with each episode with intelligence, candour and honesty.And throughout the rest of the book, not a little wit. The book is both funny, frank and at times deeply moving. Paul is not the sort of man to go rushing to the papers every five minutes, and so there is much about his life that he has not spoken about before.Written in a warm, touching style, he immediately pulls you into his confidence and the book treads that fine line between witty and honest, entertaining and moving, shocking and uplifting. And that's the long and short of it.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 10 / 2013