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Head of Zeus
Happiness and Tears
Happiness and Tears: The Ken Dodd Story Louis Barfe

In this, the first serious biographical assessment of Ken Dodd since the death of the feather duster-wielding Liverpudlian in spring 2018, respected historian of British light entertainment Louis Barfe charts the life and extraordinarily long comedic career of a man whose career straddled the very tail end of variety and the golden age of television comedy.

When Dodd died, social media divided into two camps: those who wondered what all the fuss was about, and those who had seen him in live performance. Barfe argues that Dodd was the last of the great variety acts, a creator of superb absurd vulgarity who was at his best not on the small screen but on stage, where his act – 'a rolling boil of cumulative humour' – delighted his audiences across seven decades.

This is the definitive life of the man called 'the last great music-hall entertainer', and a true British eccentric, who beat his audiences into submission with stand-up shows that stretched into the wee small hours of the morning.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Biography
14 Nov 2019 * 336pp * £9.99 * 9781788549523
REVIEWS
'Barfe takes us through Dodd's fascinating life and career with great clarity, some impressive sleuthing and obvious affection'
Reader's Digest
'Barfe's biography of Ken Dodd is an absolute joy, celebrating [a] comic genius'
Choice
'As much a tribute as a biography ... The result is sure to delight Dodd's many admirers'
Times Literary Supplement
'[Barfe] makes a convincing case for Dodd as the last of the great variety acts, a talent better suited to the stage than the small screen'
The Lady
'Fascinatingly odd'
Daily Express
'Louis Barfe's industriously thorough, entertaining biography [...] written with admiration verging on hagiography, portrays the comic genius who was the last performer to uphold this country's tradition of vaudeville in music hall, on radio and television'
Spectator
'Louis Barfe brings, in his excellent life of Ken Dodd, an experienced and authoritative hand, taking a firm step towards a comprehensive portrait ... The triumphs of his first choice profession are related here in masterly fashion by Louis Barfe'
The Call Boy
'Louis Barfe charts the life and long career of one of our favourite and much missed comics'
This England
Author
Louis Barfe
Louis Barfe
Louis Barfe is expert on all aspects of the entertainment industry. He is the author of Where Have All The Good Times Gone? The Rise and Fall of the Record Industry (2004), Turned Out Nice Again: The Story of British Light Entertainment (2008) and The Trials and Triumphs of Les Dawson (2012).
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