Saturday, 29 December 2012

"May I have you attention please?" by James Corden- review

Since being introduced to the work of James Corden via the medium of the brilliant Gavin and Stacey a couple of years back, I've had nothing but admiration for this talented comedy writer and his partner in crime, Ruth Jones. Well, admiration and a hint of jealousy at this man's amazing comedy writing (and acting) talents. I've often been heard to lament out loud (to no-one in particular) that I wish I had written Gavin and Stacey, so succinctly perfect is this series. I mean, I would have got there eventually, Corden and Jones just beat me to it, that's all.

So I was extremely excited to stumble across James Corden's autobiography recently (not as excited as I was when I learnt that my Dad had once shared a lift with him at Upton Park, but you catch my drift); surely this would give me the insight needed to get into the mind of this wizard, thus allowing me to replicate his comedy writing success in my own, yet-to-be-conceptualised show?

I started reading with trepidation. From the few celebrity autobiographies I have read, they all seem to follow a similar pattern: Woe is me -> I'm so talented -> Fame and fortune -> The inevitable downfall -> Discolouring the good name of other celebrities.

Corden, however, is refreshingly honest. His admission of his own lack of confidence only serves to make him more endearing to the reader. His refusal to show anything but respect for former girlfriends and colleagues, rather than dishing the dirt, is admirable. He doesn't deny that his success comes from a lot of hard slog, dodging the usual celebrity twaddle that talent alone is responsible for their rise to fame. Most poignantly, his writing of the book shortly after the birth of his son serves to make the reader feel as if they are being invited in to share a momentous occasion in Corden's life.

In short, I am now even more full of admiration for this comedy genius, and, at the risk of sounding cheesy, May I have your attention please? is one of the most inspirational books I have ever read, and I'll tell you for why. I am now determined that 2013 will be the year that I try my hand at script-writing. I've considered it before, but with no professional training and no experience in this area, it's difficult to know where to start. However, having learned about the development of Gavin and Stacey, from Corden's own observations at a wedding, to the building of the characters, to the writing of the first episode in a hotel room (Elbow musical accompaniment optional), I am left feeling somewhat empowered to have a go myself. I know it won't be easy, and I know that success in this industry is rare, but if you never try then you never know.

James Corden, I thank you and I salute you.

Everybody else, watch this space.

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