Make 'Em Laugh - Comedy Book Festival Comes to Ealing

Johnny Vegas, Jack Whitehall, Al Murray and Shappi Khorsandi starring

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Ealing's synonomous with The Ealing Comedies and in recent years has become known for the annual Ealing Comedy Festival  - this month Ealing will be playing host to London's first ever Comedy book festival.

Jack Whitehall, Johnny Vegas, Al Murray and Count Arthur Strong are among the comics taking part in the first Chortle Comedy Book Festival which will take place towards the end of this month.

Organised by comedy website Chortle, the event will be launched on the evening of 22nd November with a one-off stand-up spectacular at Ealing Town Hall that will be MC’d by Logan Murray and starring Richard Herring, local resident Shappi Khorsandi, Henry Paker and Catie Wilkins.

The Festival itself will cover an eclectic mix of comedy-based literature. Jack Whitehall (Him And Me), Al Murray (Watching War Films With My Dad), Johnny Vegas (Becoming Johnny Vegas), Phil Kay (The Wholly Viable), Aidan Goatley (10 Films With My Dad) and Count Arthur Strong (Through It All I’ve Always Laughed) will be talking about their autobiographies while Rob Newman (The Trade Secret) and Mark Watson (Hotel Alpha) will be discussing their latest novels – in Watson’s case for the first time ever.

Viv Groskop (I Laughed, I Cried), and Freddy Syborn (A Good Bullet) will be looking at the stand-up lifestyle and what makes Comedy work (or not), and Stewart Francis (Pun Direction) will be launching his book of jokes, while Mike Fountain (Driving Mr Morecambe) and William Cook (One Leg Too Few) will be discussing their books about Eric Morecambe, and Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, three of the most iconic names from twentieth century comedy. John Lloyd, the creator of QI and producer of Blackadder, Spitting Image and Not The Nine O’Clock News will also be sharing his adventures in cloudy

There is something for children aged 8 plus from Catherine Wilkins (My Brilliant Life And Other Disasters) when she talks about the follow-up book to her hugely successful debut My Best Friend And Other Enemies, and for big kids (18+), Bob Slayer (The Happy Drunk) will be presenting his storytelling comedy show.

Marcel Lucont (What We French Think Of You British – And Where You Are Going Wrong) and Ian Moore (A La Mod) both take a look at life on the other side of the Channel and how it compares to life in the UK and Simon Singh (The Simpsons And Their Mathematical Secrets) looks at how American cartoon series The Simpsons and its sister program, Futurama have drip-fed morsels of number theory into our living rooms over the past twenty-five years.

And for those who like their literature slightly more performance-based Austentatious will be using their formidable skills to improvise a Jane Austen novel, Robert Finn (Dear Dan Brown) will be trying to mine literary gold and  Robin Ince will be bringing Robin Ince’s Dirty Book Club back to life.


Listings information


All shows are at - Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, Ealing, W5 2BY



Simon Singh – appearing at University of West London, St Mary’s Rd, Ealing, W5 5RF

Bob Slayer and Dave Cohen – appearing at The Grange, Warwick Road, Ealing W5 5XH

Marcel Lucont and Ian Moore – appearing at The New Inn, St Mary's Road, Ealing, W5 5EX



Friday, 22nd November


8.00pm - Opening Gala

£16.00 (concs £13.00)

With Shappi Khorsandi, Richard Herring, Henry Paker and Catie Wilkins with MC Logan Murray



Saturday, 23rd November


4.00pm – Catherine Wilkins, My Brilliant Life And Other Disasters


Kids’ Show – Suitable for ages 8+. The follow-up book to My Best Friend And Other Enemies, which was selected for the Bookbuzz school reading scheme and named as one of the best books for Christmas by The Independent.


5.30pm – Dear Dan Brown with Robert Finn


How do you turn a debut novel into literary gold? What about getting help from someone who’s been there and done it? Robert presents an open letter to the world’s best-selling bad author.


6.30pm – 10 Films With My Dad with Aidan Goatley


Join Aidan as he shows how he and his Dad learnt to communicate with help from the silver screen.


8.00pm – Rob Newman, The Trade Secret


An intelligent, acclaimed comedian and much-lauded author, Rob’s latest book is a swashbuckling, rollicking tale of espionage, intrigue and adventure, set against the nascent oil trade of Elizabethan England.


9.30pm – Phil Kay, The Wholly Viable


What would you get up to if your job was telling tales of what you’d been getting up to? These are the memoirs of an award-winning comedian who’s been doing seat-of-the-pants stand-up since winning So You Think You’re Funny? in 1989.



Sunday, 24th November


7.00pm – Al Murray, Watching War Films With My Dad – Interviewed by Bruce Dessau


Al Murray muses on his childhood where his fascination with history and all things war began. Part memoir, part life obsession, this is Murray musing on what he knows best. And he’s sure to tell you things about history that you were never taught at school.


9.00pm – Austentatious, Improvised Jane Austin Novel


After a sell-out smash hit run at the Edinburgh Fringe and a sell-out London residency, the talk of the capital cordially invite you to their improvised Jane Austen novel.





Monday, 25th November


7.30pm – Jack and Michael Whitehall: Him And Me


Jack Whitehall and his father Michael invite you to an evening of entertaining and outrageous family stories. Him & Me is a hugely entertaining and irreverent account of a unique relationship between a father and son


8.00pm – Driving Mr Morecambe with Mike Fountain


This funny and at times desperately sad book will take you on a personal journey through the life and times of a normal man, who just happened to be Eric Morecambe’s trusted chauffeur.


8.00pm – Bob Slayer, The Happy Drunk


The launch show for this hilarious new book (and storytelling comedy show) for big kids…aka Bob Slayer, the baby years. (I don’t know why it was rejected by children’s publishers. Don’t they realise that swearing is the new Pokemon?).

Will include live art from Rich Rose (Ages: 18+)

NOTE: This event is at The Grange, Warwick Road, Ealing, W5 5XH


9.15pm – John Lloyd, Liff Of Qi


On the back of his hit run at the Edinburgh Fringe, the founder of QI, Blackadder and Spitting Image, and frontman of BBC Radio 4's Museum Of Curiosity, returns to his roots as a writer-performer with a hilarious take on The Meaning of Liff and other quite interesting stuff.


9.30pm – Mark Watson, Hotel Alpha


This is the first airing of Mark’s brand new book that includes an extra 100 stories, found online, which build into a kind of alternative version of the novel. Here for the first time, he reads some of these and weaves them into a discussion of the book, other books, writing in general, life in general, or whatever else the audience wants to talk about.


9.30pm – Dave Cohen, How To Be Averagely Successful At Comedy


After 30 years in the business as both a comedian and a writer (with credits including HorribleHistories and Have I Got News For You), Dave has written a practical and funny book that explains how to make a living at comedy.

NOTE: This event is at The Grange, Warwick Road, Ealing, W5 5XH



Tuesday, 26th November


7.30pm – Robin Ince’s Dirty Book Club


An evening of the strangest books of love and death that have fallen from the shelves of charity shops. Expect lurid sex scenes from novels about giant killer crab invasions on the Welsh coast and incomprehensible Edwardian sexual advice.


9.30pm – Viv Groskop, I Laughed I Cried: How One Woman Took On Stand-Up and (Almost) Ruined Her Life


When is it too late to become the person you were meant to be? Viv always wanted to be a stand-up comedian. But surely that’s not advisable if you have three children, a mortgage and a husband who hates stand-up comedy?



Wednesday, 27th November


7.30pm – Stewart Francis, Pun Direction


Stewart Francis is the king of the smart one-liner, the brilliantly crafted, often punning gag delivered in his trademark deadpan style. In this, his first book, he presents 500 of his funniest, most perfectly formed gags plus hilarious cartoons and more.

The event will be half-stand-up/half interview


8.00pm – Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, One Leg Too Few with William Cook in conversation with John Bassett


The best-selling author of Peter Cook biography Tragically I Was An Only Twin, has now written the first full-length biography of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore with the consent and cooperation of both of their estates. He will be in conversation with John Bassett, the man responsible for introducing Peter Cook to Dudley Moore and changing the course of British Comedy in the process






9.30pm – Freddy Syborn, A Good Bullet: Comedy, Violence and All The Terrible Things That Make Us Laugh


Freddy co-writes the record-breaking BBC 3 sitcom, Bad Education starring Jack Whitehall.

Here he will have a crack at asking why and how jokes commit violence. Why and how they amuse us with things that otherwise cause us anxiety and pain. Why and how sex, war, history, death, insecurity, hatred and loss – all the good stuff – make people laugh.



Thursday, 28th November


8.00pm – The French Connection: Marcel Lucont, What We French Think Of You British – And Where You Are Going Wrong


Marcel Lucont, flâneur, raconteur and bon viveur, reads extracts from his book on the British, as well as exclusive extracts from his other titles. He is easily the greatest French comedian performing in Britain today. If you don’t believe this just ask him yourself.

NOTE: This event is at The New Inn, St Mary's Road, Ealing, W5 5EX


8.30pm – The Simpsons And Their Mathematical Secrets with Simon Singh

£10.00 (concs £5.00)

Simon reveals how the writers have drip-fed morsels of number theory into the series over the last twenty-five years; indeed, there are so many mathematical references in The Simpsons, and in its sister program, Futurama, that they could form the basis of an entire university course.

NOTE: This event is at University of West London, St Mary’s Rd, Ealing, W5 5RF.


9.30pm – The French Connection: Ian Moore, A La Mod


Comedian, mod and professional grump Ian Moore has had enough. Tired of being unable to park anywhere near his cramped house in a noisy town he doesn’t like, he hatches a plan to move his wife and young son to a remote corner of the Loire Valley in search of serenity and space.

NOTE: This event is at The New Inn, St Mary's Road, Ealing, W5 5EX



Friday, 29th November


7.30pm – Count Arthur Strong, Through It All I’ve Always Laughed


Count Arthur’s new book is the first volume of what he believes may be a six-volume collection of his memoirs. This is an event not to be missed at your peril.


9.15pm – Johnny Vegas, Becoming Johnny Vegas


How did an eleven-year-old Catholic trainee priest from St Helens grow up to become the North West of England’s answer to Lenny Bruce? That’s just one of the many questions answered by this eye-poppingly frank show.



5th November 2013