I Laughed, I Cried reviewed in the Independent on Sunday here: ”Insightful nuggets on the peculiar existence of comics, presented here in all their neurotic, competitive glory […]. There are some engaging snapshots from her childhood […]. I Laughed, I Cried is essentially a mid-life crisis played out over 22 chapters. It is also about finding out what you’re capable of at a time when your days revolve around school runs, daily deadlines, and uneventful evenings in front of the telly.”
From the Times here: “Jack Whitehall among others, gave her the good advice to learn from long-term experience, not in a frantic rush. But the rush was what Viv wanted. Smell not only the greasepaint but the sweat… Heroic.” Unabridged review here.
From the Mail on Sunday [not online yet]: “Sometimes comedians can be the worst of companions: boorish, self-obsessed and oddly humourless. However, Groskop keeps her sense of the ridiculous firmly intact throughout. A gruelling and frankly psychotic experiment. [...]. She documents each gig with great honesty. We follow open-mouthed as Groskop chases the comedy dragon at the expense of all else.”
From Bruce Dessau of comedy website Beyond the Joke here: “Groskop is clearly some kind of superwoman. Her devotion to the quest and energy levels are astonishing. It could make a great movie. Kristen Wiig in the lead role, naturally. A kind of Fever Pitch for the world of funny.”
And in a bid for the most back-handed compliment ever, Dessau also says this: “Groskop clear has balls of steel to do what she did and it makes a great read. I’ve only ever caught her doing a short set onstage once and if I was completely honest she is possibly a better writer than a stand-up (though Viv did tell me that I saw her on a bad night, so I should really see her again!). Which is not to say that she is a bad stand-up at all, just that she is a brilliant writer. Forget the glamour of Live at the Apollo. This book tells you what stand-up comedy is really like in the trenches when the dressing room is a toilet – if you are lucky.”
Yes, I really did 100 gigs in 100 nights. And, yes, I took video footage of every single one, no matter how painful it was to watch it back. Some of the footage is unspeakably, suicide-making awful. And that’s just what it was like for the audience. Imagine what it was like for me. (But who cares about me, right? IT’S ALL ABOUT THE AUDIENCE.)
Some of it is quite funny, though. (Thank God. Although it’s not always intentional.) Here’s a 90 second film of that time, edited by Gerard Harris who is brilliant (and had to sit through some unspeakably terrible acts of “comedy”). Scroll down in this interview with Laugh Out London to see the car crash…
At the Curtis Sittenfeld launch tonight I had the GREAT EXCITEMENT of seeing I Laughed, I Cried on sale for the first time. (These are super-early copies.) Thank you so much to Lutyens and Rubinstein for that. If anyone is desperate to get hold of a copy before the end of the month, this is the only place in London you can get them until the week of June 27. They’re at 21 Kensington Park Road.
If you’re in Edinburgh late at night on Sunday 18 August or Sunday 19 August, come and see me at Funny Women Pop-Up Fringe!
Tickets have just gone on sale for the Edinburgh show of my stand-up memoir, I Laughed, I Cried: How One Woman Took On Stand-Up and (Almost) Ruined Her Life. It’s an intimate one-woman show about the story behind the book: what happens when you realised you haven’t done what you wanted with your life – and you need to do something to put that right, fast. Click here to buy tickets for Sun 18 Aug, 10.40pm, and Mon 19 Aug, 10.40pm, at Le Monde, Edinburgh.
Also happening at Edinburgh: Upstairs Downton: The Improvised Episode is on every day of the Fringe at Heroes of Fringe, The Hive, 5pm. I’ll be in it from 8 to 12 Aug and 16 t0 20 Aug inclusive. We’re also doing The Night I Died (comics talking about their worst gigs) at Bob’s Book Shop at 11pm on 8, 9 and 10 August. More details soon.
My mid-life crisis stand-up comedy memoir I Laughed, I Cried: How One Woman Took On Stand-Up and (Almost) Ruined Her Life is out one month today! Hurrah!
To mark the countdown, Orion has released 10 copies for a giveaway on GoodReads.com. Click here to put your name in the hat. But hurry! The giveaway is only open until 10 June. And if you win, you are supposed to post a review on Goodreads (however short and however negative – it’s OK, I am used to heckling).
Other news so far: Last week it went in at No. 1 on Hot New Releases in Comedy on Amazon. Pick of the Month for June in The Bookseller. Best Non-Fiction Read in Good Housekeeping: “A seize-the-day memoir to inspire anyone with a long-held dream.” In the pages of their June issue I sit proudly alongside ANN WIDDECOMBE. Just as I happily would at any social function. I await your call, Ann. Bring Anton with you.
Tickets now on sale for July 3 book signing at the Watershed in Bristol where I’ll be talking about I Laughed, I Cried, my stand-up-meets-mid-life-crisis memoir, described by Caroline Quentin as “crazy, clever and brave.” As I’ve got the show version of the book coming up in Edinburgh on 18 and 19 August, I’m assuming that this event will be an unofficial Edinburgh preview. Or at least that’s what I’m intending to use it for… Whatever happens, I will make sure it is (a) funny and there is (b) some form of free wine. Also (b) will aid the manufacture of (a) so it is especially essential.
Events list just updated: Click here for events in May, June, July. Includes… Supporting Michael McIntyre at Bloomsbury Theatre on 13 May… Tall Tales at the Good Ship in Kilburn on 23 May… Dr Who night at The Underground Restaurant with Josie Long on 10 June… Upstairs Downton at the Half Moon Putney on 11 June… MCing BritMums Live Awards on 21 June… I Laughed, I Cried book signing at The Watershed, Bristol on 3 July… Book now to avoid disappointment! (Disappointment regarding tickets. I cannot guarantee avoidance of other disappointments in life generally. Although I will try to do this. And I will feel bad when they happen.)
I’ll update Edinburgh dates as soon as they’re live on edfringe.com. Upstairs Downton is already listed: it’s at Heroes of the Free Fringe at The Hive, 1-25 August, 5pm, “pay-what-you-want”. I’ll be doing about 10 shows with Upstairs Downton: here’s a write-up of our recent sold-out Bristol gig. I’ll also be doing the show of I Laughed, I Cried at Funny Women Pop-Up Fringe at Le Monde on 18 and 19 August at 10.40pm; three nights of The Night I Died at Bob’s Book Shop on 8, 9 and 10 August at 11pm and a night with Granta on stories and performance on 9 August, 7pm. More details and booking as they come.
This week’s Observer debate took great offence at Ben Elton’s new sitcom The Wright Way and decided to ask, “At 53, is he too old to cut it?” I argued that comedians can be funny — sometimes even funnier — when they get older. Especially Joan Rivers. Comedy critic Bruce Dessau argued that most of them tend to produce their ground-breaking work when they are younger and then peak around forty. This was exciting news for anyone who sees me in the next ten weeks. Then it’s my fortieth birthday. After that? Goodbye, hilarity.
I think I was the only person they could find who would defend Ben Elton, even though I did not go very far down the route of defending The Wright Way and its jokes regarding proud erections. I’m not really trying to defend Ben Elton himself here (he’s more than capable of doing that on his own). I’m just wondering why people get so upset when they don’t find something funny. OK, so it’s not to your taste! It doesn’t mean no-one else will like it. It’s like what Tina Fey says comparing women in comedy to dim sum. “I don’t like Chinese food. Doesn’t mean I write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.”
Talking to Bath Short Story Award about Helen Dunmore, Bulgakov and making voodoo dolls of people who have rejected you.
In TW11 magazine doing stand-up for Oxfam Get Together for International Women’s Day.
Talking to Bath Life about Ben’s Cookies, Amitav Ghosh and jumpsuits.
Talking to Laugh Out London about The Night I Died, standing on a wet cardboard stage in Croydon and Rich Fulcher repeatedly saying, “You look Chinese.”
Talking to Run Riot about Upstairs Downton: The Improvised Episode (latest news: the show will be at The Hive at Heroes of the Free Fringe in Edinburgh from 2 to 25 August).