David Baddiel: 'It's by far the most difficult thing I've ever written'
- Arusa Qureshi
- 23 January 2018
His dad's dementia and late mum's infidelity are the subject of British comedian David Baddiel's latest stand-up show
When David Baddiel premiered his new show My Family: Not the Sitcom in 2016, he quite aptly described it as a 'twisted love letter to my parents'. Now, with a sold-out series of performances at London's Menier Chocolate Factory behind him as well as two highly acclaimed West End runs, Baddiel is taking his one-man monologue on the road to theatres across the country.
My Family: Not the Sitcom is an atypical two-hour show in which Baddiel celebrates the lives of his parents, Sarah and Colin, by delving deep into their idiosyncrasies, flaws and various quirks. He starts by discussing his recently deceased mother, reading extracts from the erotic emails written to her lover with whom she had a 20 year-long affair, later switching the attention to his father, who has dementia and is prone to sweary outbursts and bouts of anger.
It may seem disrespectful to use intimate memories of your parents in such a manner, but the honesty with which Baddiel discloses their dysfunction, from his mum's infidelity to his dad's unexpected aggression, is both refreshing and endearing, highlighting a tenderness that is at times complex. 'It's a glib thing to say, but if comedy is therapy, then this really is that,' he explained in an interview with The Guardian. 'It's incredibly close to me, the most personal of all of my comedy. I'm going to talk about difficult stuff – sex and dementia and death – and it's by far the most difficult thing I've ever written.'
The show falls somewhere in between stand-up and storytelling, with Baddiel using an extended monologue to paint a candid yet hilarious portrait of his parents. Everyone deals with grief in different ways and My Family: Not the Sitcom is an ode to the imperfections that make your loved ones who they truly are.
David Baddiel: My Family – Not the Sitcom is on tour until Monday 2 July.