The Book of Awesome – Neil Pasricha

So life is dull, depressing and dark…but what about all the little things that make the world a more awesome place to live in? Neil Pasricha has taken it upon himself to document all the things that he considers to be awesome, from high-fiving a baby to the joys of bubble wrap (pop pop). It is a funny list, and it really makes you realise or reconsider all previously forgotten awesome things. For me, some of the things are less awesome than others. The book ends after a poignant tribute to Pasricha’s late friend, which contrasts to the light hearted tone of the rest of the book, before embarking on a last awesome thing: a philosophical note (thinking about all of the things that ahd to happen or not happen to put you here on earth in this time and place), which I found less awesome (I’m not really an existentialist thinker) that managing to squeeze through the gap in a doorway as the door is closing  and you don’t lay a hand on the door (it is impressive but I did this about 8 years ago, and the person behind me was not impressed). Some of the things on the list made me laugh and I recommend this as a read that will brighten up your life – awesome! 4 stars.

Read more about Pasricha and awesome things at his blog:  http://1000awesomethings.com/

 

How I Escaped My Certain Fate – Stewart Lee

Comedian Stewart Lee takes a look at the highlights and lowlights of his long career, from his early stand up shows to the Jerry Springer Opera to Edinburgh to his promised BBC TV series to his career as we know it today.

Lee presents a detailed account of his life, and varies it with articles he has written, and transcripts of his live shows. As well as his life, he also writes about the alternative comedy scene, and the lives and his views on other comedians, so I learnt a lot about this! Lee is a great writer but whilst there are some funny, intelligent moments, at others, the book feels a little dull in places. The idea to include his live shows is unusual, as is the use of footnotes to add additional information or his feelings about a certain event. However, in some places, there can be an over reliance, and it can interrupt the flow of the main text, especially as some times the footnotes last over a page!

This is a great book for Stewart Lee fans, and I found this book an enjoyable read on the whole. Although I haven’t really seen much of Lee’s material, after reading this, I wouldn’t mind watching a show of his… 3.5 stars.

Tickling The English – Dara O’Briain

Popular host of Mock The Week and stand up comic, Dara O’Briain, takes a look at what makes the English so quintessentially English. What defines Englishness? O’Briain seeks to answer this taking a look at history and using is tour dates to provide a view of Modern England. It is a witty, interesting book, and the parts that include his gigs and sections of his personal life are often the most humorous and fascinating bits to read, which often had me laughing out loud. However, sometimes O’Briain’s writing feels a bit long-winded and heavy, especially with the large focus placed on history and geographical facts, which caused me to lose interest at times. O’Briain is a funny comedian, but this book is a bit hit and miss. 3 stars

The 4 O’Clock Club

This new 13 part comedy is currently airing on CBBC and it is a treat. The 4 O’Clock Club follows Daniel Carter, a failed rapper turned teacher, who works at the same school his younger brother Josh attends, which is Josh’s biggest nightmare! Right from the theme credits, you know that you are in for a bold, loud, exciting show, and that’s what you get. The show features rap songs from the two brothers (working in a slight rap-musical way), which are catchy and show off the talents of the two actors who play Daniel and Josh. As well as the songs, the school setting might set the precedent for predictable storylines (such as the romance between Daniel and Miss Poppy), yet the show is snappy, funny and really well written and performed. I could easily see the show return for a second series (and I would hope it does) as this show works a treat. The weird thing is that whilst it is called the 4 O’clock Club, it is aired at half 5 in the evening. Strange…righttttttt?

Richard Herring – How Not To Grow Up

I’ve become a big fan of Herring through his many podcasts – Collings and Herrin, AIOTM to name but a few – so I decided to take a chance on this book having hearing it publicised so many times in the Collings and Herrin podcast. I was pleasantly surprised – it still retains some of Herring’s humour that I have become used to over listening to his podcasts, but it is a well written, candid look at his feelings of turning 40, and realising what he wants out of life. It takes a deeper look at what it means to “grow up”. What is interesting is the way he introduces events from his past into his writing, such as his childhood events. The book also includes some of Herring’s deeper feelings and emotions, such as meeting Catherine, which was interesting as it is something that doesn’t really come across when you listen to his podcasts.There are a few issues, such as the editing – in one chapter, a woman switches name in the next paragraph from Julia to Yasmin, only to return back to Julia in the following section. If you are easily offended, there is a lot of strong language and adult humour so be warned before you start reading this book. If however, you don’t mind that sort of stuff, I would recommend this book for you.