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The Sound of Laughter [Paperback]

Peter Kay
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

5 July 2007

Peter Kay's unerring gift for observing the absurdities and eccentricities of family life has earned himself a widespread, everyman appeal. These vivid observations coupled with a kind of nostalgia that never fails to grab his audience's shared understanding, have earned him comparisons with Alan Bennett and Ronnie Barker.

In his award winning TV series' he creates worlds populated by degenerate, bitter, useless, endearing and always recognisable characters which have attracted a huge and loyal following.

In many ways he's an old fashioned kind of comedian and the scope and enormity of his fanbase reflects this. He doesn't tell jokes about politics or sex, but rather rejoices in the far funnier areas of life: elderly relatives and answering machines, dads dancing badly at weddings, garlic bread and cheesecake, your mum's HRT...

His autobiography is full of this kind of humour and nostalgia, beginning with Kay's first ever driving lesson, taking him back through his Bolton childhood, the numerous jobs he held after school and leading up until the time he passed his driving test and found fame.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; 1st edition (5 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009950555X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099505556
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Kay was born in Bolton in 1973. After leaving school with a GCSE in art, he held a series of jobs including working as a cinema usher, mobile disc jockey, in a factory packing toilet rolls, garage attendant and in a bingo hall.

Since winning the prestigious North West Comedian of the Year in 1996 , Peter has firmly established himself as one of Britain's best loved comedians. Winning numerous awards for his work, including four British comedy awards and three awards from the Royal Television Society.

Amongst other work, Peter wrote, directed and starred in That Peter Kay Thing, Max & Paddy's Road to Nowhere, the BAFTA-award winning Phoenix Nights and, most recently, Britain's Got the Pop Factor... and Geraldine - The Winner's Story.

His autobiography The Sound of Laughter is the UK's bestselling hardback autobiography of all time with over 1 million copies sold.

Product Description


"His autobiography is filled to the very brim with funny bits" (heat)

"He is every bit as amusing on the page as he is in person... Hilarious" (Sunday Express)

"The Sound of Laughter provides as complete a picture of its subject's world view and creative evolution as any comedian's autobigraphy I can think of" (Independent on Sunday)

"J. K. Rowling can't compete. Nor can Dan Brown. By selling more than a million copies in hardback, the highest figure since records began, this autobiography by the comedian Peter Kay has become a minor miracle" (The Times)

Book Description

The number one bestselling autobiography of Britain's most popular comedian

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ends a bit too soon 5 Feb 2008
I'm not going to go into a great deal of depth here as there are already 96 reviews on this product, so I'll just give you my (short) opinion - brilliant!

I've been a big fan of Kay for a while now and reading his heart-warming memories from his early life, written in a stand-up story kind of way I now have more of an in-sight into how he got into the show biz career he is so famous for now and have a history of all of the crappy jobs he had beforehand and the funny tales that accompany them. My only complaint is that the book finishes way too early as it doesn't really touch on his stand up, A Peter Kay Thing, Phoenix Nights or Max & Paddy days or his relationships with Paddy McGuiness or Dave Spikey. Hopefully this will mean that a follow-up is in the works (which might explain why he hasn't done much for the past year or so!). I normally hate reading biographies and auto-biographies, but this one I couldn't put down. An excellent and hilarious read.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn 2 Jan 2007
Nothing new here that he hasn't covered in Phoenix Nights, That Peter Kay Thing or any one of his DVD's. Speed read it in a day which says it all, expect volume 2 within a couple of years as his stand up days only warrant a couple of chapters. Expected a lot more.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining and Enjoyable Read 3 Nov 2006
By J. Chippindale TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Peter Kay is without doubt one of the funniest men Britain has produced in recent years, but does that mean his autobiography is going to be funny too. Well thankfully it is. Not side splittingly funny, but funny enough to keep a smile on your face most of the time you are reading it.

Peter Kay is not your typical stand up comedian, in fact jokes are not really his forte. He has the happy knack of making every day events sound hilariously funny and most people can associate with them, as they have either happened to themselves or someone they know. Most people of a certain age can imagine their own father saying `Garlic Bread, Garlic . . . Bread' `Cheese Cake, Cheese . . . Cake.' Unfortunately we do not all have the comedy genius of a Peter Kay, who has the ability to make the most mundane happenings sound hilarious.

His book is full of humorous anecdotes and the goings on of elderly relatives and cheap cola. My mother used to buy cheap lemonade too, so I can certainly relate to that. The book shows the man, as well as the stage star and for me anyway paints a picture of a man who deserves his success and long may it continue. A man who can laugh at himself and those around him and is loved for it. Coming from me, a Yorkshireman, to a Lancastrian that is praise indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Garlic bread??? 1 Jan 2007
As other reviewers have mentioned this is certainly not a conventional autobiography with it's not-linear chapter structure. it is more a collection of anecdotes really.

Does feel like it was a little thrown together to be in time for the x-mas market. Gaps filled with Kay's standup routine (how many people will read the book who haven't aready heard the standup stuff). He has also left room for another volume detailing the time since he started making TV shows (published next x-mas???). Overall it is a good read but I have to say that after reading it I do have a slightly different view of Peter Kay. He comes accross as quite an odd boy growing up, although, i do find some of the stuff in the book a little hard to believe (think there is a lot of poetic/comedic license)
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 12 Oct 2006
By Amanda
I read this book in two days and laughed out loud at some of his memories, but I can't believe it stopped before we got to his partnership with Patrick McGuiness or Pheonix Nights.

He takes a swipe at some people and he comes across a little spoilt & spiteful in parts.

It has some awful spelling and grammar mistakes.It doesn't really tell you that much about his life now. I was very disappointed and glad that I didn't pay the full 18.99 for the book, as that would have been grossly overpriced.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Red Rob
I write this as a dejected, former Peter Kay acolyte.

As far as I'm concerned, the sparkling, young, northern wit who could wrap an audience around his finger has long gone.

Why? I'll tell you why:

This badly-written book and its follow-up ('Saturday Night Peter'); the scraping-the-bottom-of-every-barrel DVD releases ('Stand Up Ukay' being just one example) and the disgraceful way 'Phoenix Nights' was hijacked and re-named 'Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights' (apparently causing such ructions with the other writers that Series Three never happened), have left me with the feeling that I was stupid to have thought for even a moment that Peter Kay was an everyman character and 'one of us'. Yes I know, how naive.

The sound of laughter? No, the sound of a disillusioned ex-fan.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good opportunity missed 13 Jan 2007
By R. Kay
I love Peter Kay's cheeky, boyish humour and have found myself laughing out loud at his quick-witted japery on TV etc so I looked forward immensely to reading this book.

It is a pacy read, no soul-searching introspection and nothing particularly dull about it but... it's not well written (simple grammatical errors such as "danced passed", "must of" etc and even his beloved "Kiaora" drink is incorrectly spelt), its humour seems underdeveloped and it has the feeling of having been written very fast. Also, it falls right into the common trap for comics writing an autobiography: when they want to be serious for a moment, the whole book drops a gear and then you expect a punchline (but there isn't one).

The best chapters were the ones about his love of music (nostalgic for me, too) and the final chapter about his attempt to get into live stand-up comedy after having tricked his way into on a higher education course with one O-level. He seems to be on stronger ground, somehow, more sure of his direction and the books becomes more coherent. Up to that point, it is a series of reminiscences (some too absurd to be absolutely plausible) with a strong emphasis on his teenage years. And wouldn't it be interesting to know what his parents thought about his career ambition? And what of his sister, "R Julie", about whom we learn not one single thing (poor girl!)?

It stops abruptly when he gets to about 22, so there's no mention of anything as recent as Phoenix Nights. But the guy's only 32 now so there should be another few volumes to come. I just hope that they will be tighter and more intense than this quickly-typed waffle. An audio book, read by the author, could inject some much needed Bolton accent and quick delivery into this disappointing read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love him.
Peter Kay never ceases to have me in stitches.

I loved this book and did not want it to end.
Published 11 days ago by mrs d v wilkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the cost
Brilliant as always a very good read.

I would highly recommend this book.

Arrived on time and in good condition.
Published 11 days ago by Lesley A Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless
Quite simply the funniest book i've ever read. It knocks all other comedian autobiographies into touch. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Fozzy78
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius
From a fellow Boltonian, Peter is truly the best thing to come out of Bolton since Samuel Crompton (you either have to be from Bolton or be well up on early industrial revolution... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Miss H L Gradwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Funniest book I've read!
This book had me laughing from the moment I started to read it, I would highly recommend this to anyone.
Published 4 months ago by D Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars so funny
Absolute hoot! Definitely worth the read. Funny book about one of the funniest comedians going! Would recommend to anyone 100%
Published 6 months ago by H Grem
4.0 out of 5 stars Sharp
Easy to read- in fact a rattling good read. Perfect for a one-off marathon session or when you can read the book in short bursts over a day or two. Read more
Published 7 months ago by MC
1.0 out of 5 stars REALLY DISAPPOINTING
Really disappointed with this book. Was expecting lots of laughs, but it was a really boring story ! couldn't get past his childhood as it bored me rigid. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Fantastic book, couldn't put it down .
Five stars *****
Best read , lice Peter Kay even more now, excellent!
Published 7 months ago by nicky k
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Laughs!
I have read this book countless times and it never fails to make me chuckle! I loved reading about Peters previous jobs, from working in a petrol station to being a steward in the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Emma x
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