is it just me

Such fun!

“My Dear Reader Chum, a very hearty hello to you.”

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m not big on biography, although I do prefer them to be written by the person in question, and I particularly enjoy those written by comedians because, well, they’re going to be funny. (Why has Victoria Wood never released her autobiography? That’d be incredible.)

Still, in waiting for Victoria’s memoirs, I delved into Miranda Hart’s book. Although non-fiction, it would be very difficult to describe this as a biography. It is more a collection of anecdotes and incidents, generally of an embarrassing or awkward nature, that have occured in the last four decades of Miranda’s life.

Miranda Hart is one of those comedians who splits the public quite noticeably. There are those (like myself) who think she is hilarious and one of the great comic actors of recent time, if not all time. And then there are those who don’t find her funny, think her comedy simplistic and her sitcom ridiculous. I know that everyone is entitled to an opinion, but those people are wrong.

The book is written in such a style that it merely sounds rather like an extension of the sitcom, of which I also happen to be a fan. Miranda begins discussing the peculiarities of life only to find herself interrupted by her eighteen year old self from two decades ago. She then sets about a discussion throughout the book in which she gives her past self advice, and explains to herself and us the best ways to get out of awkward situations. She states early on that she is forgoing the important topics like politics, religion and sex to discuss those ones that no one has yet written a manual for – weddings, exercise, dog ownership, how to sit on a bar stool without falling off. The really important things.

The book is an absolute joy to read because Miranda’s warmth and genuine hilarity beam brightly from every word. She has such an incredible philosophy and attitude to life, believing that if adults behaved more like children and didn’t insist on going to work and pretending to understand the economic crisis, but rather played hopscotch and ate jelly at 3am, the world would be a happier place. You are under no illusion that Miranda is completely happy in herself and I love that so much. I love her a little bit, too. She knows that she is not the “average woman” (she’s 6′ 1″ for a start) but she has long since given up caring. She accepts that she doesn’t understand music, can’t get on with high brow culture, and that make up is actually a waste of time. Miranda is unquestioningly a positive person with a fantastic outlook on life that so many of us need. Brought up on a diet of Morecambe & Wise and comedy of that era, she adapts it into her own work where it glitters like the greats of old. She is almost unique in being a comedian in the twenty first century who doesn’t need to swear or shock to get a laugh. Like Tommy Cooper, a simple look or the repetition of a single word (kerfuffle) can cause laughter in many.

The literary equivalent of a buttered crumpet: warm, comforting, uplifting and very, very British.