Jimmy Carr says childhood meningitis battle left him ‘close to death’

Jimmy Carr has said he was “close to death” when he was diagnosed with meningitis as a child.

The comedian, 51, said he was treated in hospital in Ireland when he was still a toddler and was told he “nearly didn’t make it”.

Speaking on the podcast Where There’s A Will, There’s A Wake with Kathy Burke, he said: “You’ve got to be cruel to be kind … I think that is the first thing I ever said that my mother thought was funny.

“I had meningitis when I was a child. So my first memory is a lumbar puncture in Limerick in the General (hospital).

“I was three, I think, and … I was always told it was very close to death.

BGC Charity Day 2018 – London
Comedian Jimmy Carr was speaking on the podcast Where There’s A Will, There’s A Wake (Ian West/PA)

He added: “And I kind of appreciated that thing of life, because I was always told, ‘oh, you nearly didn’t make it’.”

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, according to the NHS, and is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults.

It can be very serious if not treated quickly, causing life-threatening sepsis and permanent damage to the brain or nerves.

Discussing how he would like to die now he’s older, he said: “I want my kids and the people that love me to (be able to tell a story like), ‘Oh, Jimmy died… funny story. He flew to South Africa and he went on one of those great shark cage experiences and he forgoed the cage. He said, no cage for me, thanks. I’ll just jump in there with a fish’.

“And I was ravaged by sharks. That would be a way to go.”

He added he has already had a close encounter with a reef shark, saying: “I was swimming with a friend in Key West and there were sharks in the water. And one sort of flipped around.

“We’d been swimming with these small sharks all day and we slightly misjudged the size of this thing. It was enormous and it flipped around and came at us.

“And I remember just thinking of the old joke, ‘I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you’. Just to swim faster than my mate Henry onto the fire coral.

“And then we got back on the boat and the guys went, ‘these are just reef sharks’. I went, ‘yeah, with the black tip on the fin’, and they went ‘oh, mate. Whoa!’

“But I think (being) torn apart by sharks and wanting it and going ‘I’ll do that’. That’s a great story for everyone.”

Where There’s A Will, There’s A Wake with Kathy Burke is available wherever you get your podcasts.

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –