I was born a berk. I probably even stubbed my toe on the way out.
Many Americans recognize Matt Lucas as Rebel Wilson’s brother in the movie Bridesmaids (wildly funny), I personally loved him in Little Britain and Little Britain USA when I still lived in the UK myself. This book isn’t all laughs, it’s an intimate autobiography about Matt’s struggles through his awkward childhood, memories of his family, revelations about his love life (including his coming out gay) and his rise to fame. People like to think comedians are all laughs, but they’re not. They suffer and struggle just like so many of us, and guess what, fame isn’t the key to eternal happiness and perfection.
Though in A to Z order, don’t expect too much structure, which may bother some people. For me, memories are devious and don’t play by the rules in our own heads, one minute you’re 12 then the next minute a stray thought intrudes and off you go, 25 now. Matt goes back and forth between youth and the present, from his humbling incidents such as with wigs, to his deep sorrows over his father’s imprisonment, and death. There had been love too, and the devastation of watching his beloved self-destruct. This book is both humorous and sad.
He is confident and self-deprecating, insecure and courageous. In fact, some of his less than stellar confessions just make him all the more relatable, human. Who knows why we do the crappy things we do to hide our own shame? Not everyone admits to that side though, do they? While his homosexuality shouldn’t be a ‘theme’ of course he touches on it, what it meant to be gay when he was coming up, the shame of it. I am old enough at 42 to know that when I was growing up being called gay was the ‘worst thing’ you could call someone. Imagine how that felt for people who actually were (are) gay, it’s not like it is today, there weren’t a ton of stars ‘out’, not yet. Sure, there were rumours but most adamantly denied it. Add that to his wild allergies, alopecia and you know his childhood had to come with a lot of insecurities and harassment without facing his burgeoning sexuality and yearnings. With a child that suffered through hellish skin struggles (trust me it’s not just about appearance, it is painful) my heart sinks with his. Autoimmune diseases are horrid!
Many of the stories are a chronicle of his journey on the road to comedy. It is a reminder that nothing is easy, that behind every star who seems to suddenly get famous overnight, there are years of climbing up the ladder, all behind the scenes. Whether one is lucky enough to have support and mentors or not, it requires perfecting your craft, many failures as much as successes. Matt was acting and living for comedy in his youth, he worked hard for every success he attained. Don’t expect any rotten gossip about other celebrities, he isn’t trying to sell the book that way. This is like sitting with your friend over drinks in a cozy setting and talking about life, confessing your best moments and your worst. On a side note, I really enjoyed learning how some of the characters were created, like Bitty! My husband, kids and I quote Little Britain all the time! You either get it, or you don’t.
USA Publication Date: Out tomorrow October 12, 2018
Canongate Books US