My hubby had asked for this book for his birthday last year and everyone thought someone else was buying it. This meant, of course, that no one did. This meant that I made sure I bought it for Christmas, but so did someone else. Still that is life.
With two copies, I thought I would read one. I shall then try to sell one of the books on s a site such as green metropolis.
For those of you who have no idea who Peter Kay is let me try to elaborate slightly.
Peter Kay is a thirty something, chubby comedian from Bolton, Lancashire, England. He was born and brought up in Bolton, where he still lives today. As with a fair few comedians survived childhood trying to be the school funny man, entertainer and general class clown. He would also try to entertain his family at home. Leaving school with only an Art GCSE, he proceeded to move from one dead end job to another.
Trying to break into show business Peter held down numerous part-time jobs. Many of his experiences in these jobs, such as working for the supermarket Netto and in a Bingo Hall, plus the characters who he met along the way, provide much of the backbone for his comedy.
Peter won the North-West comedian of the year in 1996 and launched himself on the comedy circuit. By 1997, he had won Channel 4's "So you think you're funny" competition and later was nominated for the Perrier Award. Since this time, he has won many awards and has gradually become more frequent on our TV screens.
He wrote, starred in and directed:-
- That Peter Kay Thing.
- Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere.
- Phoenix Nights.
Personally, I love all these, but my favourite is "Road to Nowhere". In this program, you realise the full talent of the man, as he plays various true to life, but ultimately silly characters to perfection.
Peter Kay has more recently ventured into music. With a host of celebrities, The Way to Amarillo, became a popular hit. It actually resurrected Tony Christie's career. Other charity singles have followed. A spoof of talent shows such as Pop Idol was a great success, resulting in another top ten hit for Peter.
He has played quite a few "straight" roles such as in Dr Who, Coronation Street and as a voice in Wallace and Grommit's, Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Straight that is with a comedic twist. On shows such as Parkinson, he never failed to come up with the goods and I always find him funny.
I read he is also the U.KS biggest selling comedian on DVD. We have watched "Live at the "Blackpool Tower" and found it very funny, especially the first time around.
My personal feelings are that Peter Kay looks like a schoolboy dressed as a man. He retains that boyish charm in his humour and, to me, never offends. His comedy is in the modern day style, which is more of a slant on life, and experiences, than straightforward joke telling. Mind you, the odd joke has a habit of sneaking in now and then.
The Sound Of Laughter
With all this in mind, I started to read The Sound of Laughter with high expectations. The first chapter is called Oscar's Lipstick, referring to a part of Peter's pet dog's anatomy. I found this settling in chapter not especially funny. I know I am a dog lover but I still have a sense of humour about them. Still I thought that once the book got going the laughs would come thick and fast.
There is a bit of Peter's background in this first chapter and it is an easy read. The tale does drift about a bit, but then so does a comedian's story on stage. The book is printed in quite large print, which was nice for me with my specs but this, along with a few grammatical errors, gives it a childish feel. This is maybe the idea, to seem genuine and unpretentious. Who knows? In some ways, it had a rushed fell to it. As if, it was hurried along ready for Christmas 2008.
However, I persevered. I found that I was more amused as we moved on to a couple of tales of accidents, that Peter has had. These were so true to life that it is hard not to relate to some parts of the tales, nor to laugh aloud.
One thing with the book though, is there is more bad language than I have heard in any of Peter Kay's performances. It is not excessive but just seemed out of place and unnecessary. Maybe he does not swear on stage because his mum is usually in the audience (only joking). Now this was something, which I also found annoying. Every so often, he writes, in brackets, only joking, or only kidding. I know this is part of his stage act but I did not feel that it worked well in the book.
The Sound of Laughter is a nice easy read, which is funny in parts. It is light hearted and has enough to keep the book flowing nicely. However, I felt that overall, it was not successful. Perhaps my reading experience suffered from all the pre-publication hype.
However, Peter Kay is one of those comedians who are funny to watch, as much for their personality, looks and character, as their humorous stories. With such a comedian, all elements are essential for him to succeed. Even if you love Peter Kay, I would think that this book would slightly disappoint.
If you are not a fan, I do not think it will have any appeal at all.
The choice is yours.