Peter Kay - The Sound Of Laughter

Bruce Turnbull 11/01/2007

For those of you who feel life has been less than magnanimous, Bolton's luminary jester Peter Kay's self penned tale of innocence, normality and accomplishment could just be the reviving stimulant to wake your spirits from their crestfallen slumbers.

The award winning comedian's passion for hilarity was founded in a childhood surrounded by eccentrics, eclectics and archetypical characters, who, through Kay's perceptible insight, we can all relate to and even find traits our own families purvey. Particularly his mother, who naively still packed his lunch until he was twenty-one, and through her own artlessness, supplied him with a surprise that became the catalyst in him winning the North West Comedian of the Year award in 1996. Tracing threads to earlier tales of school, menial part time jobs and outlandish driving instructors, the principles and longevity of Kay's comedy is based on a solid foundation, and through this, we can see why he has become such a success. A lot of the material used in both That Peter Kay Thing and Phoenix Nights has been derived from bizarre incidents in his life. His smouldering ability to pierce everyday conversations and ape human behaviour in a satirical manner is what extricates him from outmoded comedy clich├ęs.

Leading up to the winning of the aforementioned award in 1996, the book sadly focuses primarily on his teenage years, which at first is fresh and engaging, it slowly becomes rather stagnant until we reach the comedic climax. Obviously a second volume is intended, and the twisting tales of perpetual touring and show business insecurities should prove more interesting than a list of Kay's favourite childhood LPs.
Jovial throughout with a competent use of language and expression, The Sound of Laughter embodies Kay's geniality and elicits exactly what the name suggests.