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The Straight Man: My Life in Comedy by…

The Straight Man: My Life in Comedy

by Nicholas Parsons

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I only read this book to see what its author thought about the great comedians with whom he had worked. What a good job I did. As so often happens, my opinion about Nicholas Parsons was turned upon its head: the man with rather too great a belief in his own gift to show business, turned out to be a charming, perhaps self effacing fellow who, did not have a bad word for anyone that had crossed his path.
Nicholas Parsons writes about both the ups and downs of his career -and indeed, his life - with equal equanimity in a manner that I wish I were able so to do, were anyone to express the least interest in my humble passage of years.
He does have some insights into those famous comedians and, whilst I have no personal knowledge upon which to judge their veracity, he argues his case well and I feel a greater comprehension of what made them tick.
Mr. P. also lifts the veil upon the life of an actor in a very real way.
This book is, for me, an excellent example of the benefit of reading an autobiography as opposed to seeing a televized interview: an hour of television would have been dismissed as "putting on an act" in a way that I do not consider that it would have been possible for a whole book.
Perhaps one day, I will learn to repress my prejudices until such time as I have evidence; until that time, it is a genuine pleasure to discover my mistakes in this manner. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Feb 12, 2008 |
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