London Defender

The Daily Mirror of the Great Britain

Don’t Laugh, It’ll Only Encourage Her REVIEW: Daisy May Cooper’s hilarious autobiography

The star and co-creator of brilliant sitcom This Country grew up in Cirencester in a family on the breadline. Her soft-hearted mother filled the house with poorly animals and to this day keeps a dead parrot called Claude wrapped in gold tissue paper in the freezer as she can’t bring herself to bury him.

Completing the household were her father Paul, a travelling salesman (“like a sadder David Brent”), and her younger brother Charlie, both now her co-stars in This Country.

As a schoolgirl, Daisy enjoyed eating plaster (“fantastic, like a savoury meringue”) and scammed cash out of people by pretending she was taking part in a swimathon for a Blue Peter appeal.

She got into RADA but didn’t fit in. Asked to perform a dramatic monologue, she gave a heartfelt recitation of Steps’ hit After The Love Has Gone.

To make ends meet, she answered an advert looking for “exotic dancers”, thinking it meant performing like Carmen Miranda.

Instead, she found herself auditioning for a job as a pole dancer ‑ one of many set pieces that saw my steady stream of laughs turn into hysterical gurgles. Cooper writes very well on the humiliations of poverty, without losing her sense of humour.

She and Charlie worked as cleaners while writing comedy scripts together.

After years of perseverance, they were signed to a production company which then spent many more years trying to remove anything funny or original from their work, until the BBC stepped in and saved the day.

This book proves it’s absurd for anybody to think they know more about being funny than Daisy May Cooper. It’s a riot from start to finish.

Don’t Laugh, It’ll Only Encourage Her by Daisy May Cooper, Michael Joseph, £20