The controversial comic’s new book is a surprising mix of memoir and self-help. Has having a baby softened his edges? He talks about depression, anxiety, punching down and his friend Sean Lock

Before I have time to ask the Covid-era question “Are we doing handshakes?”, Jimmy Carr has thrust out his arm and grasped my hand. Then, suddenly, he lets go and screams: “Oh God, no! My hand’s covered in Covid!”

Comedians aren’t supposed to be walking versions of their act – Carr says that he’s not. But my first impression is of a man bursting with one-liners. As we walk through his PR’s art-filled offices he gives me a breathless guided tour full of trivia – “I think that’s the actual drum from the sleeve of Sgt Pepper” – and more gags. “People think that one’s good value,” he says as we pass a Damien Hirst sheep in formaldehyde, before glancing back at the other side, which has spent some time decomposing, “but you’re only getting half of it.”

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