I had no aspiration as a kid at all. If I’d known that it was possible to work in television, I would have wanted to be a producer; but I didn’t know anyone in that world. It wasn’t an option.
Instead I took the line of least resistance. I grew up in middle-class Berkshire, so I was obviously going to do A‑levels and try to get to the best university possible.
The fact I’ve lost my Catholic faith would probably come as the biggest surprise.
I got to Cambridge and then worked way too hard to get a job in marketing for a blue-chip company. It was amazing that at no point during those years did I think, “What the devil am I up to?”
My young self would be a bit shocked that in my mid-20s I made a conscious decision to do something completely out of the ordinary. I left my well-paid job to join the circus.
In a perverse way I always quite liked performing, so I guess it’s not so strange that I now entertain people for a living. I was always scared of reading in class, though. I’m very dyslexic and couldn’t read aloud with any level of fluency until I was 10. I was funny at school but that was the minimum requirement for my friends; everyone had amusing stories.
The whole being-on-television thing would seem a bit surreal to my younger self. I think I’d also be a bit concerned at the lack of work I do: I only have to do two hours a day max to be considered the hardest working man in comedy.
I never had a white picket fence fantasy growing up, but my young self would still be pretty impressed by my house in Primrose Hill – it’s all very showbiz (although I’d be annoyed how little time I spend in it – one year I spent more nights in the Malmaison Manchester than I did at home).
I’d also be pretty happy with my partner [Karoline Copping]. She’s out of my league in every way but I’m on television so you get to go up three rungs, don’t you?
The fact I’ve lost my Catholic faith would probably come as the biggest surprise. It happened in my mid-20s and I’m now a fundamentalist atheist. It’s made me make much better use of my time. If you believe this life is about doing good so you can enjoy the next, you have no sense of urgency. But if you think this life is all we’ve got, carpe diem really kicks in.
I was a little bit melancholy as a youngster but I’m a lot happier now. Doing comedy makes me happy.
Jimmy Carr: The Best Of, Ultimate, Gold, Greatest Hits Tour is on sale now. For ticket details, see