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Summary

Self-help meets memoir in this deeply insightful, fascinating and entertaining audiobook about happiness by one of the country's most treasured comedians. 

A memoir and self-help manual by one of the country's most treasured comedians - for anyone who feels stuck in a rut but doesn't have the tools or self-belief to shake things up

In his mid-20s, Jimmy was bored, boring, unfulfilled and underachieving. He wasn't exactly depressed, but he was very sad. Think of a baby owl whose mum has recently died in a windmill accident. He was that sad. This book tells the story of how Jimmy turned it around and got happy, through the redemptive power of dick jokes.

Written to take advantage of the brief window between the end of lockdown and Jimmy getting cancelled for saying something unforgivable to Lorraine Kelly, this book is as timely as it is unnecessary.  

Because you might be interested in Jimmy's life but he's damn sure you're a lot more interested in your own, Before & Laughter is about both of you. But mainly him. It tells the story of Jimmy's life - the transformation from white-collar corporate drone to fake-toothed, donkey-laugh, plastic-haired comedy mannequin - while also explaining how to turn your own life around and become the you you've always dreamt of being. 

Before & Laughter contains the answers to all the big questions in life, questions like:

  • What's the secret to happiness?
  • Is Jimmy wearing a wig?
  • What happened with that tax thing? 
  • What's the meaning of life?
  • Is Jimmy's laugh real?
  • Can those teeth bite through vibranium?

And for listeners in the West Country: yes, there are pictures (actually, sorry, there are no pictures, but there's a book about a hungry caterpillar you'll love).

Because it's Jimmy Carr - recently scientifically proved to be the funniest comedian in the UK - there are jokes, jokes and more jokes throughout. If laughter really was the best medicine, the NHS would be handing out this book in Nightingale Hospitals.

Fascinating, thoughtful and insightful - are all words that appear in the book.

©2021 Jimmy Carr (P)2021 Quercus Editions Limited

What listeners say about Before & Laughter

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borrows quotes, No original ideas of his own

Jimmy has decided to do a self help book using things that other people have said and just throws them at you instead of writing something that anyone wants to listen too.

22 people found this helpful

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great

very rarely write a review, but this book was great. very engaging. funny. thought provoking. better than, dare I say it... your mum.

13 people found this helpful

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Not what I was expecting but thoroughly enjoyable

Not your normal comedian's take on a book. There's mention of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Belbin's team roles and Neuro-linguistic Programming. An inspirational and honest book of how Jimmy Carr worked to become so successful, and how to apply this to your own goals. Arguably leaves the listener with a better idea of who the author really is than a warts and all biography ever could.

10 people found this helpful

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Amazing and unexpected

I expected this book to be all about one liners and being a comedian. Well I am happy to say that I was so wrong. Yes, there were a few one liners, and an interesting story of how he became a comic. The rest was about life, living, and how to succeed, what a surprise. If you don't read this you might make it, but if you do read it you have a far better chance of making it. Everyone should read this brilliant uplifting book. Well done Jimmy Carr, and thank you.

9 people found this helpful

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Absolutely flawless, brilliant!

Like him or loathe him this is an insight into Jimmy Carr and the way he tries to live his life and how he got there. It reminds me of Moab is my wash pot by Stephen Fry - stories, reflections and advice all backed up by well chosen insightful references. Best self help book I have ever read! Listening to it again straight after the first listen!

8 people found this helpful

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Self Help for those that don’t need it

Jimmy Carr touts this as a self help book, written to guide a person to a successful, fulfilling life by following their dreams using his own success as the blueprint. He quotes a wide range of great thinkers and entertainers to provide richness to the wisdom. All his advice is spot on. But ultimately, it’s feels like a self help book for people that don’t need that much help….. for highly intelligent, middle class white guys with massive ambition and few obstacles in life. For everyone else it was the equivalent of telling an anorexic to “just eat something” or an addict to “just say no to drugs”. Pretty funny all the same.

5 people found this helpful

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Don’t waste money or token

The whole book is rubbish

Don’t waste time or money on this

I do like Jimmy Carr but this is shocking

5 people found this helpful

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Great

Great audiobook and surprisingly not what I expected: more self-help than autobiography. But that's not to say there isn't plenty of gold in here. In fact, it works really well. What I liked was how straight to the point he was on so many things: imposter syndrome for one, but mainly just how he talked about getting things done and how to stand out from the rest. I didn't know he suffered panic attacks, either. That was quite interesting. Okay, so like most of these kinds of books, there isn't really much beyond common sense, but it's still nice to hear it from the horse's mouth, and of course, there are a few jokes scattered around. There are a few funny stories, too. Loved the Bruce Springsteen one.
I'd highly recommend it.
4.5 rounded to 5

5 people found this helpful

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The book I wish I had had when I was in my 20s

Thank you for this wise, poignant and hilarious book. So much rang true! Cried and laughed my way through a (slow) Virtual London Marathon today with your voice for company. Lost my Dad to pancreatic cancer earlier in the year and long held tears and sadness flooded out as you relayed your experience. Listening to your voice, and take, on some pretty brutal times was so uplifting. I also howled with laughter at your honesty and no holds barred comments on the rubbish that, through no fault of our own, life throws at us all. Your approach to ‘life’, in what could wrongly be described as a ‘self help’ book, (it’s so much more than the usual trite offerings), is so refreshing, and the wisdom and humour of your experiences will stay. Can’t imagine what people thought of a crying and cackling woman running by but - no ***** given! Thank you, and truly rate this as the best book I’ve listened to for years.

4 people found this helpful

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Arrogant, judgemental nonsense

Massively disappointed in this. I used to be a fan but he seems to have turned into an arrogant and judgemental A hole of late. There's nothing of any value in this book, it's mostly his opinions and values which have clearly worked for him but are unlikely to work for anyone else without the same level of self-delusion.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Sarah Cowden
  • Sarah Cowden
  • 08-10-21

This is one I'll come back to time and time again.

Jimmy Carr's stand-up and subsequent TV shows has helped me out of some dark places with a good ol ugly laugh.. I love this book.
I think this was exceptional, especially as it was read by Jimmy himself.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-08-22

Really Enjoy This

This is a surprisingly thought provoking book. Filled with interesting insights and opinions on life. Loved the little jokes here and there and the upbeat but straight manner of delivery. Jimmys comedy is not for everyone but this book could be read by all. Really enjoyed this…but not as much as your mum.

Thanks Jimmy!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-05-22

Best Self Help Book 😂

There is so much good stuff in here that I wish my brain was better at retaining every single word I'm this audiobook to share with the world in conversation. I'll take the shortcut of just telling people to listen for themselves.

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  • will
  • 25-03-22

Lucky find!!

Haven’t followed Mr Carr’s career aside from catching the odd clip. Then recently saw an excerpt of an interview with JP and thought this guy is clever with good insight.

The book was marvellous and filled with a lot of good advice on how to conduct your life, play to your strengths as well as being laugh out loud funny at times.

Jimmy comes across as a good c@nt. Bravo..

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-02-22

Insightful and entertaining

Exceeded expectations
Honest, funny, pithy, inspiring and affirming
A bit sweary but still highly recommend it

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  • Thorgeir Olafsson
  • 11-01-22

Delightful

Fun and insightful. Full of great tips for life and quite motivational. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys Jimmy Carr

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  • Duncan Lai
  • 05-01-22

Self-Help made fun

This is the version of Jimmy Carr you don't really see.

The struggle and the progress of Jimmy, but not in a doom and gloomy way. Check out the interview of Jimmy Carr on a YouTube podcast called "Diary Of A CEO". You'll see him mention some things that he wrote here.

Very comical with many quick jokes, so make sure you don't listen too it too fast! You could do 2x but I ended up doing 1.8x and even then, I'm sure I missed out on a few jokes.

Would recommend to anyone who has been a fan of his. Although some core principles are repeated from other self-help books, he somehow makes it his own and I didn't feel like it was boring or repetitive. It felt new.

Great Narration from Jimmy and I hope to hear more like this in the future 😀

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  • Christopher
  • 03-01-22

Insightful

I picked this up because I'm a fan of Jimmy's comedy and thinking it was an autobiography, which it is, but not realizing it was a self help book. The ideas and lessons are interesting and have given me a lot to think about. Also, as you'd expect, the book is funny.

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  • Tapio
  • 01-01-22

Owerpoweringly life changing

If u have tendency To do as u r told then this book Will change ur life. Jimmy carr literally tell u what To do and what not, so go out there and be a better version of yourself. Highly recommend

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  • Frank Turley
  • 17-12-21

Just a great book, great story and quotes

this book for me was great story, with some great quotes. I made a lot of notes. The book also had to get a five star go entertainment. Thanks Jimmy