by Lee Mack
About the book: Have you ever wondered where comedians come from? Why is it that one person is a funny bloke down the pub while another actually makes a living by standing up in front of an audience telling jokes? And where does all that material come from? Well, young Lee McKillop used to wonder that too. Growing up in his parents’ pub, small and wiry in a world of bigger and chunkier specimens, Lee quickly learned that cracking jokes was a way to get attention. After a somewhat random series of jobs, which included being Red Rum’s stableboy and a bingo hall barman, it was as a Great Yarmouth holiday camp entertainer that he had his first crack at telling jokes on stage. It got him some laughs, the sack and a punch in the face.* Now, as Lee Mack, he’s one of our best loved and most successful comedians, both as a live stand-up and on television. In Mack the Life, Lee tells the story of how he got there and gives extraordinary insight into what really makes comics tick. Hilarious and brilliant, it’s the kind of book which reminds you why you learned to read in the first place. *Nearly.
by Trevor Noah
About the book: The compelling, inspiring, (often comic) coming-of-age story of Trevor Noah, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. One of the comedy world's brightest new voices, Trevor Noah is a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life. As host of the US hit show The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he provides viewers around the globe with their nightly dose of biting satire, but here Noah turns his focus inward, giving readers a deeply personal, heartfelt and humorous look at the world that shaped him. Noah was born a crime, son of a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents' indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the first years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, take him away. A collection of eighteen personal stories, Born a Crime tells the story of a mischievous young boy growing into a restless young man as he struggles to find his place in a world where he was never supposed to exist. Born a Crime is equally the story of that young man's fearless, rebellious and fervently religious mother - a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse that ultimately threatens her own life. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Noah illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and an unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a personal portrait of an unlikely childhood in a dangerous time, as moving and unforgettable as the very best memoirs and as funny as Noah's own hilarious stand-up. Born a Crime is a must read.
by Jo Brand
About the book: Jo Brand is one of Britain's funniest and best-loved comedians. With a sharp eye for the absurd and in her own unique voice she tells her story for the first time. What possessed her to become a professional comedian in the cut-throat world of stand-up comedy after ten years as a psychiatric nurse? How did she deal with late night drunken audiences? Raised in middle class comfort, she left home in her teens to live with someone entirely inappropriate. Her parents were aghast at her behaviour and attempted to rein in her excesses, finally giving up when she demonstrated that she was not headed for the life of a nun. From her early years growing up in a small south coast town with two brothers who toughened her up, to emerging on stage as 'The Sea Monster', Jo Brand tells it like it is with wit, candour and a wonderful sense that life can be ridiculous but there's always a funny side.Jo Brand is one of Britain's funniest and best-loved comedians. With a sharp eye for the absurd and in her own unique voice she tells her story for the first time.
by Jo Brand
About the book: A genuinely funny and original novel about mental illness, growing up and parental breakdown from much-loved comedienne Jo Brand. Alice is five, and convinced she needs five personalities to cope. Her family, tucked in a cottage in deepest Herefordshire, are a bit weird. Her mother Gina is obsessed with the weatherman on the local news and when she climbs naked onto the roof with Alice's pet guinea pig in her arms, she is whisked off to the local psychiatric hospital. Keith, Alice's father, tries to keep calm, but his patience is severely tested by his in-laws. The only thing that gives Alice's hope is her love for Morrissey of The Smiths...
by Sandi Toksvig
About the book: How do you get rid of unwanted guests? What do you do if there's a racket in the quiet carriage? How should you eat peas, and behave in queues? How to behave, like how to punctuate, is an aspect of life that many are no longer taught - and getting it wrong is the stuff of comedy at best and humiliation at worst. Thankfully, Sandi Toksvig has come to the rescue with her entertaining guide to modern manners,with tips on what to do whether you're talking to a bore, or forgot their name in the first place. (Just call them 'darling'.) The award-winning Radio 4 broadcaster and writer offers guidance on the social pitfalls of every phase of life, from christenings to condolence letters. With characteristic wit and perceptiveness, and revealing the trickiest of her encounters along the way, she highlights decency rather than convention and provides an essential guide to twenty-first century behaviour. Now this down-to-earth, hilarious guide is available in perfect pocket-sized paperback size.
by Alan Davies
About the book: Alan Davies was always a hoarder. Pages from Smash Hits, rolled-up gig posters, Cup Final ticket stubs, Woody Allen paperbacks, NME covers and Blondie calendars filled boxes once used to ferry shopping home from supermarkets (back when supermarkets would leave boxes out for the ferrying of shopping). Not much that came down from Alan's bedroom wall made it into the bin, never mind the uninvented bin-liner. Growing up is not easy. So many desicions: who to revere, Sheene or McEnroe? Who to imitate, Starsky or Hutch? Who to dislike overnight in an effort to show maturity, Thatcher or Scargill? How to decide which pin-ups to unpin when a batch of Animal Rights leaflets or a satirical poster of Ronald Reagan demand wall space? The Impressionable Age of a young man lasts around a decade and the idols and icons of that period can reveal muh of the time and of the impressed subject. Nostalgic, warm and laugh-out-loud funny, My Favourite People & Me 1978 - 1988 is an affectionate trip through a suburban childhood in Essex and an eighties education in Kent. As Alan says, 'an attempt to remember who and what I liked as a boy/youth/idiot and to work out why. There are also some pictures.
by Phill Jupitus
About the book: Why exactly would a nationally successful stand up comedian chuck in the exhilaration and freedom of life on the road for endless Coldplay singles, arguments with BBC management, incredibly expensive coffee, and an alarm clock set to 4:30am, five days a week? When the BBC decided to launch a brand new digital radio station that would play alternative music for truly passionate music fans, their first port of call was to elicit the services of Phill Jupitus. With a record collection that ran the gamut from calypso to techno, and a love of radio inspired by his childhood hero John Peel, Phill seemed the perfect choice to launch 6 Music. Phill readily accepted, determined to do something different with such an unexpected yet brilliant opportunity. Little did he know what lay ahead. With the weighty advice of such broadcasting behemoths as Terry Wogan, Steve Wright and Tony Blackburn ringing in his ears, Jupitus tried to shake up the world of breakfast radio for the better one tune at a time. Were the public ready for something new? But more importantly, did they even want it? In Good Morning Nantwich, Phill Jupitus not only discovers the answer but finds out what really makes the listening nation tick first thing in the morning.
by Frank Skinner
About the book: For the past two years, Frank Skinner has written a weekly column for The Times. Without fail, he sat down and wracked his brain to think of something to write 900 words about. Dispatches from the Sofa is the brilliant result. Pondering such random topics as the potential demise of Margaret Thatcher, the love-hate relationship with your football club, the banking crisis and the evil phenomenon of Jedward, this is wit and wisdom, and a fine sense of the absurd, all rolled into one.
by Frank Skinner
About the book: In this new volume of memoirs, Frank Skinner describes his experience of going back on the road doing stand-up again, after many years spent working mainly on television. His adventures on tour are by turns funny and moving as he meditates on growing older, the terrors and joys of trying to make a live audience laugh night after night and on the nature of comedy itself. For the first time we read a comedian's account, in his own words, of how his act is put together; his return to a world of dark little clubs and the strange encounters he has there. But what is perhaps most startling and original about Frank Skinner's writing is his honesty nbout not only the highs and lows of his career, but more intimate and personal issues - male sexuality and matters of the heart.
by Rory McGrath
About the book: Tells the author's story of life among birds. This work shows how he became a card-carrying birdwatcher, observing his first skylark - peerless king of the summer sky - while stoned; his repeatedly failed attempts to get up at the crack of dawn like the real twitchers; and his flawed bid to educate his drinking mate Danny in the ways of birding.
by Linda Johnson,Kat McDivitt
About the book: 'Marvellous, brilliant, wonderful, best thing I've ever heard, transformational...' Grace Surman @GraceSurman That was the response from a total stranger when Gyles Brandreth delivered the Happiness Lecture at Birmingham University in June 2013. Someone else in the thousand-strong audience tweeted: 'The 7 Secrets of Happiness are amazing. Thank you Gyles Brandreth, wherever you are.' Well, Gyles Brandreth is here now with those 7 Secrets of Happiness. The secrets are simple rules, easy to remember, but challenging to achieve. Gyles Brandreth found them when he set out on a journey looking for happiness and ended up in the psychiatrist's chair - with Dr Anthony Clare. What is happiness? Who gets to be happy? And how? These are the big questions that Gyles Brandreth aims to answer in this little book. Research (from Manchester University and University College, London) shows that happy people live up to ten years longer than unhappy people. This is a book that won't simply enhance your life: it will extend it.
by Jeremy Hardy
About the book: When Jeremy Hardy decided to explore his ancestry it was, in part, to get to the bottom of his grandmother Rebecca's dubious claims that the family descended from a certain 17th-century architect and that, more recently, Jeremy's great-grandfather was a Royal bodyguard. Other legends ranged from the great aunt who ran illegal hooch during Prohibition to the wronged Victorian servant girl who bore an illegitimate Hardy, not forgetting the family's rightful claim to a large country estate. Wild stories aside, Jeremy sets out to such diverse locations as the Croydon one-way system and the hostile waters around Malta in order to find traces of recognisable family traits and a sense of how he came to be. With wry humour and a keen eye for the absurd and the frustrating, Jeremy takes us on a by turns funny and moving journey into the world of family ancestry. My Family and Other Strangers will be enjoyed by anyone who has tried to decipher the 1901 census records, or simply wishes they too had asked their grandparents more about their lives.
by Meera Syal
About the book: Nine-year-old Meena can’t wait to grow up and break free from her parents. But, as the daughter of the only Punjabi family in the mining village of Tollington, her struggle for independence is different from most.
by Barry Cryer
About the book: Barry Cryer is one of the great comedians of the last 50 years. This is a sparkling series of hilarious and true anecdotes, almost all of which have never been told before! Barry Cryer has collaborated with all the greats from Max Miller to Tony Hancock, Bob Hope, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, John Cleese, Frankie Howerd, Kenny Everett, Spike Milligan, Eric Sykes, Dave Allen, Richard Pryor, Tommy Cooper, Les Dawson, Graham Chapman, the Two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise - in fact almost all the great comedians and comic writers since the mid 1950s. Barry's set of experiences with these legends of humour is unique, and will delight all who made PIGS CAN FLY a runaway porcine bestseller. In this completely new, organically grown book, old Baz recalls, reminisces, recounts and other words beginning with 'R', on a trip down Memory Lane, pausing only for tea and macaroons at the Stannah Stairlift Cafe. What memories - if only he can remember them. Currently 74, a third of his life has already passed and he invites you to enjoy this wonderfully funny account of it, a decorous orgy of nostalgia.
by Rory Bremner,John Bird,John Fortune
About the book: Like the critically acclaimed Bremner, Bird and Fortune series on Channel 4, You Are Here picks away at the scabs of international politics with the voice and credibility of Rory and the two Johns, and appeals to an audience hungry for a mix of entertainment and information—tough facts made funny. The book lampoons the contradiction at the heart of Britain since Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997. In the fog of confusion created by New Labour, it can be difficult to discover the real truth. After all, why spin if you don't want people to get dizzy? What the British reader needs is this witty and original map explaining how it all connects, a guide to how we got here.
by Danny Baker
About the book: Depression is living in a body that fights to survive . . . with a mind that tries to die. Depression is fear, despair, emptiness, numbness, shame, embarrassment and the inability to recognise the fun, happy person you used to be. Depression is the incapacity to construct or envision a future. Depression is losing the desire to partake in life. Depression can cause you to feel completely alone - even when you're surrounded by people. Worst of all, depression can convince you that there's no way out. It can convince you that your pain is eternal, and destined to oppress you for the rest of your days. And it's when you're in that horrifically black place, staring down the barrel of what you truly believe can only be a lifetime of wretched agony, that your thoughts turn to suicide - because depression has convinced you that it's the only way out. But depression is a liar. Recovery IS possible - and I can prove it to you. My name's Danny Baker, and for four years, I suffered from life-threatening bouts of depression that led to alcoholism, drug abuse, medicine-induced psychosis, near suicide attempts and multiple hospitalisations. But over time, I managed to recover, and these days, I'm happy, healthy, and absolutely love my life. "Depression is a Liar" is a memoir that recounts my struggle and eventual triumph over depression. I wanted to tell my story to show people with depression that they're not alone. Of course, I also wanted to share the lessons I learned on the long, rocky, winding road that eventually led to recovery - particularly with regards to relationships; substance abuse; choosing a fulfilling career path; perfectionism; seeking professional help; and perhaps most importantly, having a positive, healthy attitude towards depression that enables recovery. Above all else, however, I wrote this memoir to give sufferers hope, and to show them that no matter how much they're struggling, that recovery is always, always possible. Free Bonus Content To further help people recover from depression and help their loved ones better understand the illness, all readers will also receive the following bonus content: Online Course 1: My Recovery Blueprint: How I overcame depression in three straightforward steps and how you can do the same. In this course, I'll detail the exact steps I took to overcome a debilitating, suicidal depression and transform myself into the extremely happy, healthy person that I am today. While doing so, I'll also cover how to deal with some very common causes of depression including spending too much time with toxic people, anger, being prisoners of what others think of us, perfectionism, negative thinking, worrying about things beyond our control, and many, many more. Online Course 2: How To Tell Someone That You Have Depression. In this course, we'll talk about how and when to tell those around you that you have depression. Bonus Videos: 15 Things I Wish People Knew About Depression; The 15 Best And Worst Things You Can Say To Someone With Depression; Why Your Teenager (In Particular) Needs To Learn About Depression - Before It's Too Late; and How To Support A Loved One Who Suffers From Depression. You'll be able to join over 4,000 people who receive a free supportive email from me each morning with an encouraging, uplifting quote to help them get through their day. You'll also be invited to join a private Facebook support group I founded where you can talk about your depression with other sufferers.