Publishers scramble for comedians

Bumper crop of books on the way

Handfuls of comedians' autobiographies are in the pipeline as book publishers ‘jump on the bandwagon’ of the stand-up boom.

Comics with memoirs out this autumn include Rob Brydon, Jason Manford, Lee Evans, James Corden and Johnny Vegas. Meanwhile Simon Day’s autobiography is out this week, while David Walliams has a deal for one in 2012.

Fictionalised memoirs of Alan Partridge are also in the works, as is a book-length rant by Frankie Boyle called Work! Consume! Die!: I Am Actually Almost Completely Insane Now. And last week Chortle reported that Frank Skinner’s newspaper columns are to be released as a book.

Nor is it just memoirs. Noel Fielding is releasing a book of his artwork called The Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton, , Marcus Brigstocke this week publishes a book about faith, Billy Connolly has a the travel book about Route 66 and Ben Miller, who has a physics degree, will release a popular science book next year.

Books by comedians can prove hugely lucrative. Michael McIntyre’s Life And Laughing: My Story has taken more than £4million in the eight months it has been out and Peter Kay's 2006 The Sound of Laughter has sold more than 850,000 copies, making it the biggest-selling hardback biography in a decade.

However, judging the demand – and therefore the price a publisher is willing to pay – can be difficult. Kay’s follow-up, Saturday Night Peter, sold less than a third as well as his first book.

Katy Follain, publisher at Michael Joseph told the Independent on Sunday: ‘We've all jumped on the humour bandwagon because it's very much a golden age for comedians.

But she added: ‘The comedian's memoir is definitely here to stay.’

See our Coming Soon page to pre-order any of the books.

Published: 19 Jun 2011

Today's comedy-on demand picks


This is the show that celebrated the launch of Nick Helm's album in 2016, and has previously been unseen by anyone who was not in the O2 Forum Kentish Town that night.

With typical hyperbole, the show is described thusly: 'Under-rehearsed, under-prepared and under pressure, Nick and his band somehow managed to pull together the greatest show in the last 27 years of living memory. That show went down as a thing of legend, often spoken about by weary travellers around campfires, but thought to have been lost to the sands of time forever.'

Click for more suggestions

... including Al Murray headlining a Just For Tonic gig and the launch of Free Festival's virtual comedy programming.

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