Bingo: self care; my go-to comfort reads are personal essays – bonus points if they’re funny, too. (And that makes bingo #4, with column 3)
For me it’s a bit hit and miss whether a stand-up comedian or comedic actor’s talent translates to the written word; just because you’re funny on screen doesn’t mean you can write a funny story for readers. (Looking at you, H Jon Benjamin – some books just don’t need to be written.)
James Acaster fell in the middle for me. I didn’t cry with laughter as one of the blurbs mentioned, but it was very entertaining even if I didn’t laugh out loud that much. The book is a collection of stories Acaster has told to his comedian friend Josh Widdicombe on the latter’s radio show, about funny incidents that happened to him. Without a doubt his anecdotes are weird and unique, and as a pathologically unadventurous person I felt a tinge of envy reading them. (Well, not all of them.)
But Acaster’s magic on the stage, especially in his Netflix special Repertoire, did not come through in this book, with the notable exception of one story about him being challenged to a ‘cabadge’ war (in which you prank the other person by giving them cabbage in some unexpected way) with a nine-year-old. What I did appreciate about the book is the same thing I like about Acaster as a comedian, which is that he is singular in his honesty and awkwardness; there is none of the usual comedic bravado and self-assuredness here.