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Would that be funny?

Would that be funny?: Growing up with John Clarke

Lorin Clarke

When satirist John Clarke died, in April 2017, many people mourned his passing as if they had lost a friend or a member of the family. Many of us felt we grew up with him. After all, for the best part of half a century, since he burst into our lives as Fred Dagg in 1974, he was a performer, an actor, a writer, a satirist and as a commentator in both Australia and New Zealand.

In this fascinating memoir, Lorin Clarke tells the story of growing up with her famous father, her art historian mother Helen, and her little sister Lucia. Much has been written about John Clarke, but this is the insider’s view—of his childhood, his relationship with his parents, his decision to leave New Zealand and live in Australia, and the choices he and Helen made to create a family life that is right out of the box.

Would that be funny? is a story about the almost imperceptible things that make a family what it is, from long-told folklore, in-jokes, and archetypes, to calamities like world wars, deep-seated traumas, and sudden loss.

Lorin Clarke, author of the celebrated podcast The Fitzroy Diaries brings to life her idyllic, hilarious and deeply nerdy childhood, and in doing so reveals not only the private man behind satirist John Clarke but the sense of love and security that comes from being able to laugh at yourself.


3MP: Great Australian Lives    
ABC Radio Melbourne: Breakfast    
ABC Radio Sydney: Drive (0:38:00)   
ABC TV: 7:30 Report (YouTube)   
Age: Eight books to read: A powerful novel from Africa and living with John Clarke    
Australian Tumbleweeds     
Inside Story    

Lorin Clarke
About the Author

Lorin Clarke is the creator of the award-winning observational audio fiction serial, The Fitzroy Diaries, three series of which have been to air on ABC RN, as well as being released as a podcast. Lorin writes regularly for children’s television and her children’s book, Our (Last) Trip to the Market was published by Allen & Unwin in 2017....

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Text publication date:
29 August 2023
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Praise for Lorin Clarke
andWould that be funny?

‘This beautiful memoir honours love, grief, and riotous fun. An utter joy to read.’

‘Marvellous stuff…a memoir to be grateful for.’

‘Builds a kaleidoscopic picture of her childhood and her father…Full of tender and wacky anecdotes.’

‘Luminous… dances on the tightrope of tone that memoir demands, and succeeds with vim and lucidity. The Clarkes’ humour is polished to a fine edge, but it welcomes anyone who wants to laugh with those who dream of a juster and kinder world.’

‘Amusing, witty and honest.’

Would that be Funny? is both adoring and authentic, the kind of clear-eyed, open-hearted writing that’s a privilege to read. Whether you’re a lifelong fan of John Clarke or couldn’t pick him out of a line up, this book is a delight.’

‘A generous, intimate and very funny account of her dad [John Clarke] and a deeply sad story of family love and loss.’

‘A talented writer herself, she weaves this memoir of a loving and hilarious family with the story of her father’s life in New Zealand, England and Australia.’

Other editions ofWould that be funny?
  • Would that be funny?
    ISBN: 9781922791474
    29 August 2023
    Buy ebook