This week I read, in fits and starts, Ugly Dave Grays’ autobiography. Dave is a born entertainer, someone used to doing things ‘his’ way, because his way gets results. But, as is the case with a lot of stars, and sportsfolk, they are really only good at one thing, and Dave’s is making people laugh. He used to make me laugh as a boy, and later when he was doing those ads for shonky nasal spray ‘medication’ for impotent chaps.
Sadly, what Dave is not, is a writer. The book, ‘It’s Funny Being Ugly’ is a glaring testimony to this, and another case for people to stick to what they are best at, and hire others to do the heavy lifting on the other projects. I can’t help but think that a half decent ghost writer would have made a big difference to sales of this book, and possibly reinvigorated Dave’s aging career.
Another example from a similar time was Lee Iaccocca’s biography. Lee’s first book, written by an unknown ghostwriter with real talent and skill as a wordsmith, was a runaway success. Lee’s second book, written by himself, possibly to save money, was a flop. A real stinker that read like a snotty teens’ journal.
On the other hand, a comedian turned writer who does have some writing talent is the 7PM Projects’, Charlie Pickering.
I actually did Laugh Out Loud (quite often) reading his book, Impractical Jokes, a rollicking yarn involving young Charlie, his father, and his fathers’ best friend engaged in a funny suburban vendetta of topping eachothers’ practical jokes. It was witty, insightful, immature, unbelievably funny, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!
But back to Ugly Dave Gray, who is from a generation that learned to make do with whatever came their way, and survive, and succeed. Honestly, how many of today’s comedic stars could hold their own in the brutal world of clubs and corporate gigs year after year. Dave’s tenacity, coupled with talent, and a hell of a lot of hard work made him successful first in England, then here in Oz.
Whereas Charlies’ generation is made up of people who want the big time without putting in the necessary grind to earn it. It must piss Dave off quite a lot to see that they are getting exactly that! I couldn’t imagine Charlie working 5 nights a week on his TV show for $75 per episode like Ugly Dave did for two years on Blankety Blanks. Even factoring in inflation rates, Dave’s earnings were pitiful by comparison. Still, it put his name up there, and that got him work.
Those meagre earnings were probably why he couldn’t afford a good ghostwriter… which begs the question, perhaps it’s best to not write at all?
For those of you reading this, who have made a bit of a name for yourselves, and are considering scribbling your life story, I offer the following advice:
Call me… and I’ll help you find someone who can write it 🙂