before & laughter

Before & Laughter. Self-help meets memoir in this deeply insightful, fascinating and entertaining book about happiness by one of the country’s most treasured comedians.

*A memoir and self-help manual by one of the country’s most treasured comedians – for anyone who feels stuck in a rut but doesn’t have the tools or self-belief to shake things up*

In his mid-twenties, Jimmy was bored, boring, unfulfilled and underachieving. He wasn’t exactly depressed, but he was very sad. Think of a baby owl whose mum has recently died in a windmill accident. He was that sad. This book tells the story of how Jimmy turned it around and got happy, through the redemptive power of dick jokes.

Written to take advantage of the brief window between the end of lockdown and Jimmy getting cancelled for saying something unforgivable to Lorraine Kelly, this book is as timely as it is unnecessary. 

Because you might be interested in Jimmy’s life but he’s damn sure you’re a lot more interested in your own, Before & Laughter is about both of you. But mainly him. It tells the story of Jimmy’s life – the transformation from white-collar corporate drone to fake-toothed donkey-laugh plastic-haired comedy mannequin – while also explaining how to turn your own life around and become the you you’ve always dreamt of being. At just 20, it’s cheaper than Scientology, quicker than therapy, and significantly less boring than church.

Before & Laughter contains the answers to all the big questions in life, questions like:
What’s the secret to happiness?
Is Jimmy wearing a wig?
What happened with that tax thing?
What’s the meaning of life?
Is Jimmy’s laugh real?
Can those teeth bite through vibranium?

And for readers in the West Country: yes, there are pictures (actually, sorry, there are no pictures, but there’s a book about a hungry caterpillar you’ll love).

Because it’s Jimmy Carr – recently scientifically proved to be the funniest comedian in the UK – there are jokes, jokes and more jokes throughout. If laughter really was the best medicine, the NHS would be handing out this book in Nightingale Hospitals.

Fascinating, thoughtful and insightful – are all words that appear in the book.

Duffy’s Thoughts On Before & Laughter

I love Jimmy Carr. One of my favourite TV shows is 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown and I’ve seen Jimmy Carr perform stand up a couple of times and loved every show. So, as soon as I saw Before & Laughter was available to read and review I snapped up a copy.

Sadly, I haven’t been this disappointed in a book since reading Lenny Kravitz self-absorbed memoir, and I couldn’t quite figure out why.

There are plenty of jokes in Before & Laughter, but not one of them made me so much as chuckle, and the “comedians are great because (insert why here)” was a bit repetitive. The self-help stuff was ‘ok’ but am I really taking life advice from Jimmy Carr? Particularly after reading Mitch Albom, Matthew McConnaughey’s Greenlights and Courage Is Calling by Ryan Holiday? I won’t even touch on the tax thing.

My conclusion is that what makes Jimmy Carr a great comedian is Jimmy himself. The voice, the razor-sharp delivery and voice inflections, the laugh that makes you laugh, and the facial expressions. It’s like having a favourite song, a real banger that has you cranking the volume every time you hear it. But, if the lyrics were printed on a page of a newspaper, in amongst the star signs and crossword, you’d miss it completely. It just wouldn’t be the same.

So, I will continue to be a fan of Jimmy Carr, watch his TV shows and buy a ticket to see his amazing stand-up shows, but, I will, unfortunately, give the books a swerve.

Before & Laughter
Available from Booktopia and all good book stores published by Hachette