Growing Up With Comedians: A collection of portraits of some of the finest comedians of our time (Hardback)Roger Lewis (author)
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A collection of portraits of some of the finest comedians of our time. From the author of the acclaimed The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, as made into an award-winning film by HBO, and the dark and scabrous Seasonal Suicide Notes, which everybody loves, here at last comes the definitive book about comic genius by a man whom the Sunday Times has hailed as 'brilliantly funny... a comic genius.'
Growing up in South Wales, the precocious Roger Lewis longed to lock himself away from the world and listen to bootleg cassettes of The Goon Show and count the fucks (144) and cunts (89) uttered on the Derek and Clive Live LPs. He screamed with horror at Jimmy Clitheroe. He was a connoisseur of Norman Wisdom and Terry-Thomas. He lapped up Marx Brothers films, Ealing films, and On the Buses, which to him was as sinister as Strindberg.
Once he reached university, Lewis' love for the art of comedy never waned, and he could never fathom why the grisly hairy-nosed academics considered comedy trivial, comedians frivolous. In Lewis' view, comedy has more lasting significance than tragedy - the supposed pinnacle of art - because comedy, like real life, admits to misrule and incapacity, accepts the inconsequential, harbours extravagance and eccentricity, and endorses the fact that, in the end, nothing quite adds up.
This book contains incisive portraits of the world's most treasured performers and complicated personalities - from Chaplin to Tati, Hancock to Hawtrey, Laurel and Hardy to Spike Milligan, Terry Gilliam to Barry Humphries, and Arthur Lowe to Benny Hill, amongst many others. The chapters comparing Kenneth Williams with Francis Bacon, Leonard Rossiter with John Reginald Christie, Groucho Marx with A.J. Ayer, Morecambe and Wise with Gilbert and George, and Joyce Grenfell with Kathleen Ferrier, in particular, will be heralded as criticism and commentary at their most profound and creative.
Growing Up With Comedians asks what lurks beneath the public face; where does talent end, ego begin, and periods of madness take over? From pompous control freaks to unpredictable originals, Lewis, as only he knows how, examines the strangeness and hidden sorrow found behind the excrutiating facades.
By turns lyrical, poignant, and always insanely perceptive, Growing Up With Comedians is another unforgettable high-heat masterpiece by Roger Lewis.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 240 x 156 mm
'Unremittingly glorious. I and the world demand more and we shall thump our tin mugs on the table demanding it until we are satisfied.' * Stephen Fry *
'Uproariously funny, tremendously clever and irresistibly lovable' * Rupert Christiansen, Mail on Sunday *
'Roger Lewis's new memoir takes us on an anarchic rollercoaster ride through what is probably the nearest thing to an autobiography he will ever write. Numerous hilarious routines jostle in the pages for attention. Lewis's strength is that behind all his acrobatics there is a richly stocked intellect at the controls. Stylistically he is ultramodern, a deracinated 'everyman; for the 21st century. * Duncan Fallowell, Telegraph *
'The funniest book of the year. What Am I Still Doing Here? by Roger Lewis is a wonderfully splenetic journal - part-diary, part-diatribe - by a man who rages with an indignant eloquence against the modern world. But Lewis' furious rants are never far from hilarity, and his anger is redeemed by flashes of pur poetry. Like all the best comics, Lewis is a disappointed optimist rather than an outright cynic, and it's this thwarted idealism which makes this such a liberating, life-affirming read.' * Independent *
'The jokes come thick and fast, the humour runs deep and dark. Among the belly laughs, Roger Lewis gifts us plenty of thought-provoking diamonds.' * Graham Ball, Sunday Express *
He can be lethally catty and he also has an unfailingly sharp eye for absurdity. He is wonderfully funny, with a uniquely skewed take on the world.' * John Preston, Spectator *
'There's nobody else in the history of the world who is simultaneously as crude and dangerous or so gentle and poetic... Lewis, with his original and eloquent voice is nothing less than heroic.' * Esquire *
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