The Chortle comedy book festival is back! | 20 events with Frank Skinner, Adam Buxton, Richard Herring and more

The Chortle comedy book festival is back!

20 events with Frank Skinner, Adam Buxton, Richard Herring and more

Chortle’s Comedy Book Festival is back for a sixth edition, with 20 funny and fascinating sessions over eight days.

Stars taking part in next month’s event include Frank Skinner, Adam Buxton, Helen Lederer, Richard Herring, Mark Watson, Andy Hamilton, Gary Delaney, Laura Lexx, Robin Ince, Matt Forde, Arthur Mathews and Michael Spicer.

Other sessions will cover the genius of Victoria Wood, tackling publishing ‘whitewash’ and another on freedom of expression in comedy, explored through New York’s Comedy Cellar, which controversially booked Louis CK.

The festival – which is again being staged in conjunction with the British Library, as well as bookstore Waterstones - will be online only, with seasons filmed and streamed live by  our production partners NextUp. But each session will be live and offer the chance to interact with the comedians and authors. 

Chortle editor Steve Bennett said: ‘We’ve got a great line-up of comedians and writers taking part this year, making perhaps one of the most interesting and varied programmes yet – so thanks to them all!

‘Comedy’s always at the vanguard of big issues, and we’ve got Richard Herring on toxic masculinity, Grace Campbell on shame and the patriarchy, a couple of panels on representation in comedy and publishing, and discussion on freedom of expression, which are all pressing and relevant issues.

‘But the wide-ranging line-up also includes the elegantly stupid one-liners of Gary Delaney, the 70s memoirs of Adam Buxton and Ian Stone, Frank Skinner sharing his love of poetry, a tribute to the brilliant life of Victoria Wood and so much more.

‘It’s obviously going to be a very different festival this time around, but the talented team of comedy-lovers at NextUp streaming the sessions means they can be seen around the world live and on catch-up for a few weeks afterwards – opening what’s always an entertaining and eye-opening festival to a new audience.

NextUp founder Sarah Henley added: ‘We are really happy to be partnering with the lovely team at Chortle on one of our favourite events in the comedy calendar. Online comedy is such a wonderful antidote to all the continuing pandemic misery out there.’

She also spoke of the need to address diversity in comedy publishing: when Chortle drew up a list of comedy-related books released by the major publishing houses this season relevant to the festival, just one of the 50 was by a non-white author, Romesh Ranganathan.

Henley added: ‘Promoting diversity in live comedy is a huge driver at NextUp, and it seems ‘comedy publishing’ has even further to go to level the playing field. We have dedicated the evening of November 21 to discussions on how we can tackle this problem with real, concrete action, not just talk - including a book that NextUp are looking to commission.

Season passes are available here priced £49 and also include six months’ subscription to NextUp’s vast catalogue of acclaimed stand-up specials.

Also, all sessions will be available on demand until December 13  for pass-holders, giving you the chance to catch up on any you miss. Tickets to individual sessions are also available, priced £7 plus fees. Visit http://comedybookfest.com for more details.

The schedule is

Sunday November 15, 5pm: Comedy Women in Print session with Helen Lederer. Buy a ticket for just this event

Sunday November 15, 7pm: The Comedy Of Error. Scientist Jonathan Silvertown and comedian Robin Ince investigate the evolutionary and social origins of laughter. Buy a ticket for just this event

Sunday November 15, 9pm: Adam Buxton discusses his 1970s memoirs, Ramble Book. Buy a ticket for just this event

Monday November 16, 10.30am:  Frank Skinner on How To Enjoy Poetry – in conversation with comedian Peep Show actress Isy SuttieBuy a ticket for just this event

Monday November 16, 7pm:  The Mash Report’s Michael Spicer talks to Viv Groskop about his hit online series The Room Next Door. Buy a ticket for just this event

Monday November 16, 9pm: Matt Forde –the comedian, former Labour adviser and familiar face on TV shows, including his own on Dave, talks about his new book Politically Homeless. Buy a ticket for just this event

Tuesday November 17, 7pm: Stand-up and writer  Mark Watson talks to Emma Kennedy about his latest novel, Contacts,  bout what happens when a man sends a message to all 158 people in his contacts that he plans to end his life. Buy a ticket for just this event

Tuesday November 17, 9pm: Grace Campbell - the activist, comedian and daughter of Alastair Campbell - talks to stand-up Sophie Duker about feminist and her relationship with shame. Buy a ticket for just this event

Wednesday November 18, 7pm: Comedian Laura Lexx talks to Emma Kennedy about her book imagining married life with super-sensible Jürgen Klopp – which was commissioned after a series of tweets went viral. Buy a ticket for just this event

Wednesday November 18, 9pm: One-liner king and Mock The Week regular Gary Delaney talks to fellow comic Athena Kugblenu about his career and his new joke collection, Pundamentalist. Buy a ticket for just this event

Thursday November 19, 7pm: Let's Do It! Biographer Jasper Rees talks to Viv Groskop about the life and genius of Victoria Wood. Buy a ticket for just this event

Thursday November 19, 9pm: When is International Men's Day? It’s today, and Richard Herring, who’s answered that question so often on Twitter in response to those who take issue with International Women's Day, talks to fellow comic and podcaster Rich Wilson on the problems toxic masculinity has for women and men. Buy a ticket for just this event

Friday November 20, 7pm: Andy Hamilton, panel show regular and writer of Outnumbered, Drop the Dead Donkey, and Old Harry's Game talks about his career and his new novel, Longhand, published as a 300-page handwritten note. Buy a ticket for just this event

Friday November 20, 9pm: Andrew Hankinson takes a look at the serious business of stand-up at New York's Comedy Cellar in his new book Don’t Applaud. Either Laugh Or Don’t. Buy a ticket for just this event

Saturday November 21, 5pm:  Comedian Ariane Sherine and public health expert David Conrad share tips on how to live to 100, based on science and interviews with comics and other celebrities. Buy a ticket for just this event

Saturday November 21, 7pm:  How to tackle the publishing whitewash. Panel discussion with Anuvab Pal, Esther Manito, Stephen K Amos and host Thanyia Moore. Buy a ticket for just this event

Saturday November 21, 9pm: Why I'm no longer talking to white people about publishing, hosted by Thanyia Moore. Buy a ticket for just this event

Sunday November 22, 5pm:  Comedian and broadcaster. Ian Stone tells his story of growing up in London in the 1970s, of trying to ignore his parents arguing, of watching Arsenal play  and of going to see The Jam. Buy a ticket for just this event

Sunday November 22, 7pm:  At 87, Lynn Ruth Miller is the world's oldest performing female stand-up comedienne.  To tie in with her memoirs, Getting The Last Laugh, she tells Emma Kennedy how she travels the world telling inappropriate jokes. Buy a ticket for just this event

Sunday November 22, 9pm: In his new book Arthur Mathews, co-writer of Father Ted and Toast Of London,  channels Dominic Cummings to offer a  valuable insight into the brain of No 10’s chief adviser. Buy a ticket for just this event

Published: 27 Oct 2020

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