BOOK REVIEW: Life and Laughing; My Story by Michael McIntyre

Posted on May 5, 2015

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mcintyreLife and Laughing; My Story

Michael McIntyre

Penguin

2010

978-0141045672

 

 

So who is Michael McIntyre?

That was my thought when Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow started appearing on Australian television. For sure, he was clearly a bloody good stand up and my comedy journal has a more than few notes for my benefit on things I observed in his performances. But where did he come from to suddenly have his own television show? For years we got to learn about new or emerging stand up comedians from their appearances on television chat shows. For example I saw one of Rod Quantock’s early appearances on The Mike Walsh Show which put him definitely on my radar at the time. And then of course there was The Big Gig on ABC television which was to stand up comedy what Countdown was to popular music. Alas, in Australia those things are now matters of the past.

McIntyre is a skilled comic. Erudite, fast, able to interact very well with an audience and with excellent act out skills accompanying or succeeding a punch line. And if you want to know more about the ‘act out’ part, then head off and read Judy Carter’s The Comedy Bible. He is both funny and fun to watch, and no, the two aren’t the same thing.

When I recently stumbled across Life and Laughing: My Story, I thought it would be an interesting ready. However I had not even suspected just how interesting it would be.

If you have seen McIntyre perform, as you read at times it is almost as if Michael McIntyre has slipped inside of your skull and is performing the lines.

I am from the generation who saw Kenny Everett explode on our television screens. But McIntyre did not just know Everett as a kid, his father was a writer and de-facto producer of the show. His young mother became Everett’s ‘fag hag’. That episode alone demonstrates that aspects of McIntyre’s early life were quite different to what the rest of us experience.

His love of his father comes through very strongly. The relationship with his mother is not quite so clear. For example describing her as ‘a teenage pregnancy waiting to happen’ is a pretty cutting line. One thing is for sure – what a stunner! And although he clearly loved his acerbic grandmother, I kept thinking to myself ‘what a cow’. And he later admits that she was a cause of trouble.

Aspects of McIntyre’s adolescence are very funny. I found myself wondering if he had some role in devising the show, The Inbetweeners, as his quest for girls read almost as episodes of that show. But not so, at least according to Wikipedia.

The struggle of trying to become a professional comedian came through loud and clear. As is the importance to an emerging comic in finding not just their voice but getting the right exposure. Lessons to be learned there for some of us. But it was a single, big opportunity thrown his direction that broke him in a HUGE way.

Life and Laughing is an entertaining and interesting biography of a very funny man. It also shows him as very grateful for the opportunities and things that have come his way.

Highly recommended.

NB – I have just read that this is actually out of print but it is available as both an epub and an audio book.

star5

 

Ross sig

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Posted in: Review