Preview: Comedians Brought To Book

chortle book festival

It is such a good idea I can't believe nobody has thought of it before. In fact it is such a fiendishly simple, fiendishly inspired, fiendishly brilliant idea I'm kicking myself that I didn't think of it first. From November 22 to November 29 the Chortle Comedy Book Festival will be celebrating the cross-pollination of comedy and publishing with a literary laugh-in featuring readings, discussions, signings and, of course, gigs.

Among numerous humorous big guns taking part is Al Murray. And big gun is a good description in his case as he will be discussing his new book, Watching War Films With My Dad on November 24. Full disclosure - he'll be discussing it onstage with me. A recent addition to the line-up also touches on fathers and their comedic offspring – Jack Whitehall and his dad Michael will be shooting the breeze about their joint publication, Him & Me, on November 25.

A highlight for all comedy nerds will be John Fisher talking about the updated version of his definitive book on the history of British Comedy, Funny Way To Be A Hero, on November 27. William Cook will be talking about his latest book on Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, One Leg Too Few, on the same night. Another event which takes a more sideways look at comedy history, on November 29,  will feature Count Arthur Strong, who has just published the first volume of his memoirs, Through It All I've Always Laughed.

Further treats in store are Johnny Vegas (Nov 29) whose frank, funny autobiography Becoming Johnny Vegas puts an intriguing spin on the whole question of where a real person ends and a comedy character begins. Vegas, aka Michael Pennington, believes that Vegas was always inside him, fighting to get out, but usually suppressed. 

As well as events with authors there are also conventional comedy gigs. Richard Herring and Shappi Khorsandi – both published writers, of course – are among the acts performing at the opening night Gala on November 22, while Robin Ince will be dusting off his Dirty Book Club for a one-night stand on November 26. 

All events take place at Ealing Town Hall and elsewhere in Ealing. For full line-up read all about it here.

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