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In the absence of live comedy gigs to enjoy, like all of us ESP’s comedy columnist Sarah Slack needs a good laugh, so here is her selection of some great reads by popular comedians to raise a smile this winter…

Top 5 Winter Comedy Reads…

As the nights are darker and temperatures are set to plummet, it’s the ideal time of year to curl up with a good book and especially at the moment, something that is going to make you laugh. Luckily a host of comedic writers have used lockdown to their advantage and have released a variety of biographies, guides and guaranteed great reads, so if you’re looking for your next favourite book or a gift for a loved one, you won’t go far wrong with these:

As Good As It Gets: Life Lessons from a Reluctant Adult – Romesh Ranganathan

This recently released book from stand-up comedian Romesh Ranganathan follows his first critically-acclaimed memoir, the Sunday Times bestseller ‘Straight Outta Crawley’.

In this new book Romesh reflects on the demands of daily life and the challenges of being an adult in the modern world, as he wrestles with the greater questions that threaten his being for a hilarious and painfully accurate dissection of what it really means to grow up.

Romesh’s comedy credentials include his two Edinburgh Festival shows, ‘Rom Com’ and ‘Rom Wasn’t Built In A Day’ being nominated for the prestigious Edinburgh Fosters Best Newcomer Award 2013 and Best Show Award 2014.

In 2015, his BBC series Asian Provocateur was also nominated for a BAFTA, and he’s known for his regular appearances on TV shows such as The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan, The Reluctant Landlord, and A League of Their Own.

Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to Happiness

From paddle-boarding down the Thames in a Santa hat to wild swimming in a glacial river and cooking sausages on a campfire, this latest book from musical comedian Bill Bailey revels in the exhilaration of the great outdoors, as well as the quieter pleasures of letter-writing or of simple reflection.

Written before his appearance in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, this book is packed full of anecdotes guaranteed to uplift its readers as Bill Bailey explores the nature of happiness in his own remarkable way, and how we can all achieve it.

Let’s Do It: The Authorised Biography of Victoria Wood 

The comedy industry lost a true icon and pioneer when Victoria Wood sadly passed away in 2016, however despite her many comedic achievements, the one thing she never got round to accomplishing was writing her own autobiography.

Luckily, Victoria Wood’s estate asked renowned author and journalist Jasper Rees to write down all the stories she had to tell after being granted complete and exclusive access to Victoria’s rich archive of personal and professional material.

Jasper has also conducted over 200 interviews with her family, friends and colleagues, including Julie Walters, Dawn French, Imelda Staunton, and many more for a critically acclaimed biography you won’t be able to put down.

A Del of a Life: Lessons I’ve Learned

Guaranteed to be a popular purchase with many ESP readers, this hilarious new memoir comes from national treasure David Jason, known for his roles as Detective Inspector Frost, Granville, Dangermouse, and of course Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter in Only Fools & Horses, which in 2015 was voted Britain’s Best Sitcom by Channel 4.

His latest autobiography, written to celebrate his 80th birthday, is already selling out online due to popular demand thanks to the wit and wisdom David Jason shares from his celebrated and prolific career in show business.

No Shame – Tom Allen

Tom Allen has become one of the country’s most popular comedians thanks to his sharp wit and regular appearances on Mock The Week, Would I Lie To You, and co-hosting Bake Off: The Professionals, which have all helped to establish Tom as a household name.

In his debut autobiography Tom exhibits the same sharp wit and humour to provide a candid, honest and side-splitting exploration into his childhood, adolescence, the family he still lives with, and his attempts to come out and negotiate the gay dating scene.

Despite being Tom Allen’s first book, this hilarious and heart-warming memoir is already flying off the shelves, with comedian Sarah Millican describing it as “wonderfully funny, utterly charming and sharp as hell”.

Sarah Slack


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