Sorry, this site requires JavaScript enabled.
Head of Zeus
Happiness and Tears
Happiness and Tears: The Ken Dodd Story by Louis Barfe

'I suffer from acute kleptomania. But when it gets bad, I take something for it.'

Ken Dodd was a legend of British comedy. He launched his career in 1954, adopted his trademark 'tickling stick' two years later and went on to enjoy a sixty-year career as the nation's jester. Dodd's act was frenzied and zany, exploiting his saucer-eyed, buck-toothed appearance and deploying a repertoire of one-liners, whimsical and verbal inventions and liberal doses of saucy – but never dirty – jokes.

Louis Barfe charts Dodd's life and extraordinarily long career, revealing him to be the last of the great variety acts – and a comic phenomenon who delighted his audiences across seven decades.

Reviews for Happiness and Tears:

'The definitive account' The Times.

'An industriously thorough, entertaining biography' The Spectator.

'Sure to delight Dodd's many admirers' TLS.

'Fascinatingly odd' Daily Express.

'An absolute joy' Choice.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Biography
14 Nov 2019 * 336pp * £5.99 * 9781788549523
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'
'As much a tribute as a biography ... The result is sure to delight Dodd's many admirers'
'[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'
'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
'This excellent biography is the first serious assessment of the life and legacy of Ken Dodd ... It gives an honest, well-rounded portrait of a great eccentric and comic genius'
Choice Magazine
Louis Barfe
Louis Barfe
Louis Barfe is a journalist and 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), The Trials and Triumphs of Les Dawson (2012) and Happiness and Tears: the Ken Dodd Story (2019). He tweets @AlanKelloggs.
ALSO BY Louis Barfe
Sunshine and Laughter
James Brown: The Godfather of Soul
Augustus John
Behind the Candelabra
A Star is Born
Swimming with Seals
No Modernism Without Lesbians
Frederick the Second
Happiness and Tears
Father of Lions
The Colour of the Sky After Rain
Jet Man
Sunshine and Laughter
The Performer's Tale