Comedy isn't pretty, and neither is getting old, but together they've been a boon to the publishing industry of late. A recent list of memoirs from British comedians alone includes Dawn French, Jo Brand, Rob Brydon, Vic Reeves, David Mitchell and Simon Pegg.
Though aimed at the holiday market, it's not terribly surprising to find we're now turning to the ''rock star'' comedians - those who eased us into adulthood - to make sense of ageing and reconnect us with our lost years.
Undoubtedly, much of the pleasure lies in their eminently readable and entertaining ''nerd do well'' stories (to borrow from Simon Pegg's title), a camp in which David Walliams's memoir falls squarely - ''camp'', incidentally, being the story of his life.
He begins with an apology: ''If you have bought this book assuming it was a history of the president of the United States' country retreat, sorry. This is the autobiography of a camp British comedian, me.''
Walliams describes his childhood, the apparent ordinariness of which belied years of bullying over his natural effeminacy. Years later, he would learn to turn the abuse on his attackers with humour - a revelation that coincided with his growing comedy obsession.
(His children's book The Boy in the Dress would also try to redress his early experiences.)
But at the time, feelings of self-loathing, alienation and sexual confusion consumed him, leading to his first suicide attempt at the age of 12.
Depression colours much of Walliams's story and, though sometimes shocking, it's handled with admirable candour - more apparent when compared with his circumspection in discussing his relationships (most notably with Little Britain partner Matt Lucas). Indeed, Walliams often seems torn between wanting to be honest and needing to be liked.
Though certain truths might lie beyond the page, what's undeniable is his studious love of comedy, which, like his battle with depression, is often masked by his camp persona.
Walliams's account of his and Lucas's 10-year journey to ''overnight'' success is particularly revealing, challenging myths about comedy while stressing that it's not only hard work but also something that rarely works.
Despite darker undercurrents, many of the book's anecdotes are very funny, revealing a sharp eye for life's many pointy angles.
Though the story ends on the eve of success in 2003, presumably a follow-up will tackle the fame, fortune and growing up of this charmingly mercurial comic force.
Camp David is published by Michael Joseph, $39.99.