Jimmy Carr: I still have panic attacks over my tax scandal | As comic reveals the famous friend who stepped up for him... © C4

Jimmy Carr: I still have panic attacks over my tax scandal

As comic reveals the famous friend who stepped up for him...

Jimmy Carr says he still wakes up with a daily panic attack over his tax scandal.

The comedian made front page headlines in 2012 when his investment in a tax avoidance scheme was exposed, prompting David Cameron to brand him ‘morally reprehensible’.

In his new memoirs, Carr writes: ‘I had an incredibly visceral response to being publicly shamed. I was having panic attacks, I wasn't sleeping, it was overwhelming, I could barely function. All I could do was wander zombie-like through the week.’

He added: 'For me, the worry was less about the money and more about no longer being a comedian. Being someone that people come and see perform live is a privileged position. And that privilege is not for ever. 

‘I genuinely wondered if I'd ever be allowed to do stand-up again. When shame is a part of an experience, it's hard to feel like you have a right to anything.

‘I still wake up to a panic attack every morning, around 5am. The disruption to my sleep pattern has stayed with me.

The comic says his experience ‘has increased my powers of empathy and that's no bad thing. Now that I know what that feels like, I'm very empathetic when people lose everything.

‘People fuck up. And people get crazy judgy when people fuck up. And here's the thing: I will joke about anyone, I will joke all day long about shit going down. But if someone's your friend, if you know someone, you should be kind.’

And he revealed he received kindness from an unexpected quarter at the time of the scandal.

‘James Corden called me around midnight that same day the story hit the papers,’ Carr recalled. ‘He was doing a Broadway run of his play One Man, Two Guvnors. He rang, just to check in, no judgement, just called to cheer me up. I wasn't in great shape.

‘And then the next night, he called again. And the next night. He was and is a fucking great guy. And frankly, I needed it. James Corden is a mensch.

‘So, a lesson I learned is if a friend is going through hard times, call, text, reach out. People don't forget those friends. And if you don't know what to say, just say, 'I don't know what to say.' It's all good.

Carr’s comments were revealed in an extract from his autobiography, Before & Laughter, published in the Daily Mail today.

The book will published on September 30 by Quercus.

Published: 18 Sep 2021

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