If you’re not from Canada, you may not recognize Jessica Holmes immediately, but up here in the North she is well-known for her comedy performances when appearing on “Royal Canadian Air Farce” and her fabulous impersonations of Liza Minnelli and Celine Dion. Her memoir “I Love Your Laugh: Finding the Light in my Screwball Life” is the story of her upbringing and how she became a performer.
Unlike some comedians, she doesn’t have a sad or tragic upbringing; she speaks of both parents in such high regard that it kind of warms your heart. Her Mother, a feminist and her Father, a mormon, her childhood was anything but “normal”. She learned to find the funny in almost any situation. When asked to clean, she dressed up in maid outfits in protest and when asked to eat something for dinner that looked anything but appetizing, she arranged a hunger strike involving both her brothers.
In an effort to find her true identity, Jessica Holmes joined a missionary in Venezuela; firmly believing that God was the answer to all questions she had while growing up, she dedicates two years of her life promoting the word of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Upon returning to Canada, Holmes realizes that she is content with her life and vows to try things that she’s always wanted to try. She is no longer a member of this church. Upon making a bet with some friends, she spent 6 months preparing for her first stand up comedy performance. She didn’t exactly kill it, but she did get recognition and thus a star was born.
This is her story of making it as a star in Canada, but more importantly, it’s the story of finding yourself. She discusses everything, right down to her half shaved eyebrow and her memoir becomes a story that we can all relate to in one form or another. The best thing about this memoir is that she was never once afraid to “go there”. She discusses her in-laws, her postpartum depression after having both children and her struggles trying to make it in the business. There is an authenticity present in every word written. I found myself jotting down things she said in the novel about never giving up and how not to take yourself too seriously and learn to laugh.
Her goal in the beginning of the novel is as follows:
If I’ve done my job, this book will make you feel validated, happy and inspired, and only slightly offended.
Well… from this gal’s perspective, you’ve done a job well done. Below is a hilarious video of Jessica Holmes (as Celine Dion) and the recently deceased Roger Abbott