Dave Longley

Dave Longley

How Did The Gig Go? A Day In The Life Of An Average Stand-Up Comic

Review of a choose-your-own adventure book by comedian Dave Longley

Britain’s comedy circuit has been gone for the best part of a year – but much of it hasn’t been missed by Dave Longley, judging by this acrid, amoral story of a jobbing mid-tier stand-up.

It takes the form of a choose-your-own-adventure, starting with the dilemma of whether to take a last-minute £200 gig at Uncle Spunk’s Chuckle Trunk instead of the planned cosy night in with your partner.

From that point, you are plunged into a putrefying world of graphic violence, debauched sex and bilious scorn for the daily workings of the industry.

The latter is likely to tickle those with insider knowledge, thanks to the use of some real names and barely disguised pseudonyms as Longley unleashes 20 years of bitter contempt for witless producers, vacuous but ambitious open spots and easily manipulated audiences.

Indeed the whole book is a deep dive into the most crudely depraved corners of the comic’s mind… or at least you might hope this is as grim as his imagination gets. But the excess of blood and guts and other bodily fluid, the pornographic writing and the hero who can fight his way past a squad of heavies can feel like the outpourings of an overactive pubescent male psyche for which there’s no such thing ‘going too far’. Some readers might find guilty pleasure in such bleak comic-book excess, but it’s hardly edifying.

Book coverLongley eventually takes half a step back from the depravity in the second half of the book – depending on what path you choose to take, of course – at the literal gig from hell. In an unexpected turn for the better, he offers musings about the malleability of crowds learned from his time on the circuit as well as more philosophical thoughts about destiny and free will – even if they are set against a typically gruesome backdrop. Longley shows can be a smart writer with a light touch, but often prefers the gross and the brutal.

• How Did the Gig Go? A Day In The Life Of An Average Stand-Up Comic by Dave Longley is available as an ebook from Amazon, priced £9.99.

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Published: 3 Feb 2021



Lee Martin
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