American-born British comedian David Baddiel has to resort to humor to cope with his father, Colin Baddiel‘s, dementia.


Colin suffers from Pick’s disease, a story that is covered in David’s documentary, The Trouble With Dad. Symptoms of the disease include inappropriate sexual behavior, swearing, mood swings, impatience, and apathy. Part of David’s goal in making the film is teaching people that dementia is not always packaged in the same way.

There’s a scene where David and his brother Ivor say that their father was bad at telling them he loves them, “I think mainly because he didn’t.” The cameraman tells Colin, “Your son’s just said that you never loved them,” to which Colin replied, “That’s a load of bollocks.”

David admits his relationship with his father was always somewhat strained, but that adding humor in the documentary has helped him cope with Colin’s illness. He also explains that his stand-up audiences act like a therapist, for him. He and his brother joking provides a lot of humor, but also a lot of sadness in the documentary.

“He’s not a man of peace, of contentment, my father,” David explains. “He’s a man of aggravated pissed-offness, he’s a man who was shouty and irritated with life and ranty and funny about that.” But David does not seem to hold that against him, not does he want to make peace with Colin. “My dad’s incessant male-ness and unemotional-ness looking back on it, and the fact that he wasn’t able to show affection in any way, apart from swearing at us and playing football with us, obviously did create damage. But I sort of don’t mind the damage now.”

See the trailer below.

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