The in-your-face comedian Denis Leary was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1958. While attending Boston's Emerson College, he became a charter member of the school's Comedy Workshop, and spent five years teaching at the institution following graduation. After gaining some success as a stand-up and writer, in 1990 he and his pregnant wife Ann travelled to London, where Leary was scheduled to perform for a BBC broadcast; while overseas, the couple's baby unexpectedly arrived, and a planned weekend trip became a prolonged stay. To while away the hours, Leary began writing his breakthrough one-man show, No Cure for Cancer; after premiering in Scotland, the show found widespread critical acclaim throughout Britain, and moved to American shores the following year.
In 1992, No Cure for Cancer was filmed for Showtime; an album and book of the monologue -- a bitter rant against the prevalence of no-smoking laws and the loss of personal freedom -- soon followed.