My Life As Me by Barry Humphries

Publishers: Penguin Viking

Well, on the evidence of this book Barry Humphries would seem to be as good a writer as he is a comedian – which is of course very good.

My Life As Me is a memoir of Humphries life and the Hardback edition cover gives a great portrait of the dichotomy of being Humphries, a full colour shot of the exuberant Dame Edna and a moody black and white shot of Humphries the artist.

Beginning with his upbringing in Melbourne (Humphries was born just two days apart from fellow Australian icon Graham Kennedy) before moving on to his time in England in the sixites, being befriended by Peter Cook and working with him to create the Archetypal Aussie abroad Barry McKenzie (the character appeared in Private Eye magazine for most of the sixties and in film form in the early 1970’s).

Humphries gives the impression of being an inveterate name dropper but then when you’ve mixed with the likes of Cook and Moore, Spike Milligan, John Betjeman, Malcolm Muggeridge, Stephen Spender (Humphries is in fact married to the poet’s daughter Lizzie) and countless others then you’ve every right to be.

As a major Peter Cook acolyte I found the mid 1960’s tales of Humphries time in England working with Cook and Co the most fascinating but the book also includes some fantastic detail on the genesis of Humphries creations Dame Edna, cultural attaché Sir Les Patterson and the ghostly Sandy Stone.
Equally interesting are the portions of the book where Humphries talks about his artistic endeavours and indeed Humphries is a talented painter.
A natural talent as a writer with an easy going style Humphries makes sure this book is a delight to read.

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