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Summary

Cheaper than Scientology, quicker than therapy and much less boring than church - this is the hugely funny and insightful book about happiness by top comedian Jimmy Carr, and anyone feeling stuck in a rut should devour it.

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 audiobook 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 audiobook.

©2021 Jimmy Carr (P)2021 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic reviews

"Very, very funny - a great read." (Gary Davies, The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show)
 

"Riveting." (Daily Mail)

"An utterly sincere guide for people to achieve bigger things in life." (Guardian

What listeners say about Before & Laughter

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Help your self book

Respect. I have a new appreciation for Jimmy Carr's dark humour now. His advice is pretty sound and delivered in a manner that isn't too preachy. The jokes and wordplay also are a welcomed break. Good mix of scientific fact and opinion that does make you think and take a good look at your life. Great book for teenagers to listen to before going off to Uni.

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  • Doug Scheiber
  • 16-10-21

didn't realize what I was getting into

I expected a more autobiographical story from the soothing voice of Mr.Carr and, after adjusting expectations, have found it insightful and focusing. Glad I bought it.

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  • sean scott
  • 08-12-21

big surprise

Love his comedy,it's dark and a bit mean at times and was surprised how positive and honest this book was.
lots of life skills and tips here delivered with wink and a smile

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  • David Liss
  • 05-12-21

Great life advice from a funny man!

I really enjoyed this book. the advice, the quotes, the presentation and the thoughtful yet humourous way of presenting information and advice.

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  • Jean-Paul
  • 23-11-21

Learn and Laugh

To be honest I was expecting normal Jimmy Carr comedy a few stories intertwined with a lot of jokes. But Mr Carr was honest, insightful, and funny. He holds no punches about his path in life and how he got to where he is. Though his methods are not for everyone it really talked to me at the moment. I hope y'all enjoy it as much as I did.

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  • Dan Eastwood
  • 27-06-22

not bad, could be better

Hi Jimmy,

quick version.
very entertaining.
I wanted more lol moments
great hearing Jimmy's voice chatting to you

long one
Jimmy,
I have always been a fan.
Im English, born and bread, (unlike you)
I'm going to go with the old sandwich technique, the good bad and good.

the good, it was great hearing your voice actually reading your audiobook, usually they are random actors, or pretty voice sounding people (the disappointing part is quite often they are fat and ugly in real life). the last self read audio book I heard was Barrack Obama's!! it's a huge compliment to be mentioned in the same paragraph as him.
so congrats.

Kudos for going to Cambridge, that really is a huge feet.
i went to Oxford once, stunning place. I could never have dreamed of going to college there, I barely scraped 4 gcse's after all.
it is interesting how your accent is so fundamentally British, considering your birth place and parents heritage!

I have a mate called Pablo, we met on the 1st day when we started working together on cruise ships together.
I was English and just moved from miami to work on ships, Pablo just moved from England to sea!!
he had the strongest london accent I had ever heard (bearing in mind I grew up in Southampton, only 60 miles south).
he was born in italy, and lived in brazil. and now lives in Chile and works in Nepal! crazy right? but it's true I swear.
on our name tags on cruise ships they would have to have the flags of all the languages we speak.
being British we don't have this problem as for the most part we can usually only speak english! but I digress.
Pablo spoke english, Portuguese, french, german & spanish. but as he was born in Italy didn't mean he spoke Italian!
He couldn't but as he was born in Italy they always insisted in having the italian flag!!

I did only give you 4 stars overall, don't get me wrong it was very good.
but being British we are always very harsh markers.
yes it was funny,
but I wanted more, more laugh out loud moments like yours shows!
but then again that's why I watch your shows, so perhaps your just a genius and I didn't realize. that's why you tone down your book as a teaser for your shows!!
I would love to read a book by you about being on the open road, maybe a fictional piece about on the road salesman and the mischief he gets up to..

good again.
the fact you've kept me entertained enough for the last 10 hours for me to write you this damn ling reply.
kudos

I can't wait to read Part 2, The Parenting Years


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  • Stay Perky!
  • 25-06-22

Go for it

Brilliant, blunt and humorous insights with a worldview that is refreshing.

That is all.

(The app requirea 15 words, so the last 3 are a bonus fpr you.)

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  • Sarah Long
  • 22-06-22

Jimmy carr is amazing.

Literally changed my life. Thank you for writing such a meaningful book! I’ll never forget the first time I read it.

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  • Allan
  • 17-06-22

Great book

I’m a huge fan of Jimmy and when I heard he wrote a book I immediately got it and didn’t realize it was a self help book. But he nailed it. So many awsome one liner tips for life along with his dead pan one liner jokes makes for a great read. The only downfall is most people won’t remember all the quick life tips he rattles off so it requires atleast a second read , wich isn’t a bad thing. He makes his points in a very cut and dry black and white manner instead of going off on some long drawn out explanation. “I’d rather s@!t in my hands and clap” ,than listen to most other self help books.(read the book and you’ll get it )

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  • Amy
  • 15-06-22

Fix your life with dick jokes?

The COVID era has wrecked the mental health of countless people, but Jimmy really has brought the “Laughter is the best medicine” theory into the forefront of mental healing. Filled with legit insight from a guy who seems to balance poignant and pointless anecdotes, it was a book beautifully constructed to remind people that there are small, but viable ways to improve the life you’ve got. If you’re listening, you feel like Jimmy is in the room telling you stories over a cup of coffee while you sort the laundry or driving to work with you. And yeah—there will be dick jokes. And they’re flawless.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-06-22

Truth, Honesty, Motivation

Jimmy may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but his book is funny, frank, and oddly uplifting. With a keen intellect and savage humor, he is not usually seen as vulnerable. However, in this book he shows you how he overcame adversity and encourages you to be the best you can be too. I hated his stance on the jabs, he was out of line, but as a fellow comedy I found his book invaluable and his honesty palpable.
Thank you for writing this Jimmy, and do more self help stuff, you can use your platform for so much good!