Digital Culture

Once Upon a Time in Carrotland: A Study of Youtube Stardom, Autobiography and Ghost-Writing

Image credit: blende12 on Pixabay

by Meredith Brown

It is by no means uncommon that famous people get the chance to write books about themselves and their life stories. It is also not unusual that these celeb memoirs are partly or even completely written by other people than the celebrity in question, which sometimes people feel is controversial. However, have you ever heard of a celebrity autobiography that was ghost-written entirely without the knowledge of the nominal author?

Because that is exactly what happened for Josh Carrott, one half of the British YouTube duo responsible for the two hit channels KoreanEnglishman and JOLLY, whose combined channel subscriptions amount to a whopping 7 million. On June 1st, 2021, a video was uploaded on their JOLLY channel titled “I secretly wrote & published my best friend’s autobiography (lol, I actually did tho)” during which the channel’s other half, Ollie Kendal, reveals he has commissioned both family friends and professional ghost-writers to help him write an epic autobiography of Josh as a birthday present. After this revelation to the viewers, Ollie presents the finished work as a surprise to an unknowing Josh, who is understandably rather baffled by the whole thing.

Even better, the book has actually been published and can be purchased on Amazon here. Naturally, as an avid fan of both their channels, I had to purchase the book and give it a read, and I will follow with a brief review.

It is already evident from the first line of the back-cover and Amazon order page blurb “Is he a man or is he a carrot?” that this is not intended as a serious autobiography. Indeed, the book blends fact with fiction that at times borders on the nonsensical, such as the existence of Muncho and Rex, a talking carrot and a dinosaur made out of lentils who are Josh’s invisible shoulder friends. Some of my favourite details were the very lengthy bursts of praise directed at his best friend Ollie (who, of course, was actually the main author of the work), and little inside comments that are only comprehensible to those familiar with the duo’s YouTube productions. All in all, Once upon a time in Carrotland is an entertaining and light-hearted read that is a treat for any KoreanEnglishman and JOLLY enthusiast. It provides some interesting factual background to Josh Carrott’s life, love story, and road to YouTube stardom as well as hilarious and witty details conjured up by Ollie’s (and the other ghost-writers’) imagination(s). In addition, it provides a fascinating and rather unusual study of the blending of fact and fiction, as well as authorship in autobiographical writing.