Books

Didn’t You Kill My Mother-in-Law?

By 1989 I was becoming a real comedy nerd. The Alternative Comedy boom was in full swing, this crowd of young comics were the ‘in’ crowd and they were everywhere. I was now looking forward to seeing what they would come up with in the 1990’s.

In 1989, I also saw my first live comedy show, this was French and Saunders at Southampton Mayflower. I was obsessed with them too, their TV series was a big favourite of mine, but seeing them live with Raw Sex felt extra special.

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Around the same time, my dear friend, brought into school a book she had found in our local library, it was called, “Didn’t you Kill my Mother-in-Law?” I took one look at it, spotted Rik Mayall and French and Saunders on the cover, instantly I knew I needed to read this. I was never a very avid reader, at school I was in the third set of four, I found reading and writing a chore and very difficult. My teachers were always nagging me to read more. At school each day now though, I found myself pestering my friend, “Have you finished that book yet?” ‘When are you going to take it back to the Library?” Here was a book I actually wanted to read! Eventually it was my turn, I loved it, I was totally engrossed, what a fantastic read. I found it fascinating, learning and discovering all the comedy connections. I was aware of a lot of the shows and people mentioned in the book, but now was the first time I was able to piece it altogether. Finding out about the earlier stuff, made me eager to look out for more videos to buy, so to hopefully be able to see some of these shows again.

Things like ‘Filthy Rich and Catflap’, that hadn’t been released yet, but when reading this book, I definitely remembered watching some of it. ‘Happy Families’ was another, how I loved watching that – will that ever officially be available to buy?  This book was fascinating and really did inspire me when I was fourteen. I definitely wanted to become a student, to live in squalor, just like ‘The Young Ones’. While there, I hoped maybe I would meet some interesting and talented people, maybe I’d even create something successful with them? I really did want to be like or find friends, just like them.

On a trip to London, I eventually bought myself my own copy, instead of having to constantly renew it from the library. I’m sure most of you reading this, will probably have your own copy too. However, if you don’t, then I would highly recommend it, it’s a brilliant read, very detailed and it totally encapsulates the story and  birth of this new, exciting, comedy movement, founded in the 1980’s.

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