The Big Laugh was originally pubished about 1962 and was a bestseller at that time. In the first few pages, the author says that it is about a man who was trying to be someone he was not. He was a rascal to begin with, tried to redeem himself and succeeded to some extent for awhile but then failed in the end.
Hubert Ward was kicked out by his family, cheated a friend out of rent money, killed a woman in a hit and run incident, and when he got desperate enough, he blackmailed a producer for a bit part in a play. From there he went to Hollywood where he became a huge star, participating in the glamor life, though he drank very little, did not gamble, and generally restrained himself from fooling around with married women, who often tried to seduce him. He fell madly in love with and married a young society woman who eventually got tired of him and began seeing a writer on the side. So he decided to have an affair of his own and made a bad choice -- he selected the girl friend of the producer he had first blackmailed in the beginning of his career. The producer found out about it and killed his girlfriend and himself.
I failed to see how the stated premise was played out. I found the dialogue to be weak and improbable, but the pages of unparagraphed narrative were strangely entertaining. I suspect that the bit that made this book a bestseller was the overt sex, both homo- and hetero-, which was not common in the mainstream in the early 60's. I suspect people found it titilating at the time; it's tame by today's standards. However, there is something more and I'm not sure what it is, unless it's the true story of the author's own personal life, at least part of it. While it is certainly not a "page-turner," it is interesting in some way, even though I personally have no interest in the lives of the Hollywood rich and famous.