Chortle Comedy Book Festival 2024

British Library, London.

Chortle Comedy Book Festival 2024


Sunday 03 March 2024, 12.00 - 20.15, Knowledge Centre  

Ticket type Cost (face value)? Quantity
IN PERSON DAY PASS - FULL £30.00 (£30.00)
IN PERSON DAY PASS - MEMBER £25.00 (£25.00)
*Concession includes senior 60+/unwaged.

More information about Chortle Comedy Book Festival 2024 tickets

The Chortle Comedy Book Festival returns to the British Library! A day bursting with your favorite comics who riff on all things bookish…


Sara Pascoe and Cariad Lloyd invite you to their Book Club for weirdos; Bob Cryer talks about his legendary father, Barry Cryer; actor and writer Doon Mackichan delves into the roles she’s played and some she’s refused; Lou Sanders rails against shame in her much-lauded memoir; while Ed Gamble shares his life through food.


Plus, acclaimed comedian, author and broadcaster Robin Ince hosts a Literary Lounge with a range of special guests, including: Adam Bloom, Dave Cohen, Joel Morris, Zahra Barri, Njambi McGrath, The Carry On Girls AKA Gemma and Robert Ross.   


A jolly day for comedy fans and bibliophiles alike!  


Access all session with a day pass or see the programme below for single-session tickets. Day passes grant you access to all sessions in the Theatre or Eliot room. Eliot room session will have limited availability, early arrival recommended.  


Limited Student and Under 25 concessions available.


In association with Britain’s leading comedy website Chortle. 




13:00 – 14:00, Pigott Theatre 

Sara Pascoe & Cariad Lloyd’s Weirdos Book Club
Join comedians and authors Sara Pascoe and Cariad Lloyd in their Weirdos Book Club - a space for the lonely outsider to feel accepted and appreciated. Assisted by their comedian and writer friends, they discuss a book that is special, stimulating and – weird. Welcome to your new book club! Sara’s debut novel Weirdo is published by Faber & Faber, while Cariad’s book, You Are Not Alone, is published by Bloomsbury


13.15 – 14.15, Eliot Room 

Robin Ince’s Literary Lounge:  Adam Bloom 
An in-depth guide to the art of stand-up comedy. Adam Bloom – a multi-award-winning comedian – is finally sharing all his writing methods and theories on stand-up in this advanced book for those who practice their arts. Bloom has performed several acclaimed solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and has been invited to perform at the prestigious Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal four times, twice appearing on their internationally syndicated TV galas. In the UK he has appeared on Mock the Week, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Russell Howard's Good News – as well as writing and starring in three series of his own Radio 4 show The Problem with Adam Bloom. 


He has also ghost-written for more than 50 of his peers, and in this detailed book he outlines the techniques that have helped them develop material and sharpen up their act. It will be extremely useful to anyone who already performs stand-up, regardless of their experience, as well as being beneficial to anyone who’s thinking about doing stand-up for the first time or does any form of public speaking. 


14:30 – 15:30, Pigott Theatre 

Ed Gamble: Glutton - The Multi-Course Life of a Very Greedy Boy
From a young age, comedian, Off Menu host and Great British Menu judge Ed Gamble's immaculate bibs hinted at his capacious appetite. Before he could walk, Ed already knew that he preferred poached salmon to puree, that celery was a calorie-sapping waste of time, and that mashed potatoes should be made with lashings of butter. In his new book Glutton - The Multi-Course Life of a Very Greedy Boy, Ed shares a relatable buffet of experiences and stories from a life lived through food.


14.45 – 15.45, Eliot Room 

Robin Ince’s Literary Lounge: Dave Cohen  

Dave Cohen has been a comedian, Edinburgh Festival Perrier Award nominee, founder member of the Comedy Store Players, and constant presence on the British comedy scene for nearly 40 years. He’s written for top TV and radio shows, spent 10 years as a stand-up performing more than 2,000 gigs across the UK, was lead singer with the world’s first Jewish heavy metal band Guns’n’Moses, and has written nearly 100 songs for multi-Bafta-winning BBC hit Horrible Histories.


Barry Goldman: The Wilderness Years is set in 1981, the early days of alternative comedy and Barry is right in the thick of it with Harriet, the love of his life. In the hilarious follow-up to Stand Up, Barry Goldman, Barry still wants to be a comedian, but comedy has other ideas - which is how he ends up as a trainee journalist on the Rotherham Times. The comedy world moves forward without him and soon he is further from his dream of stand-up stardom than ever…


16:00 – 17:00, Pigott Theatre  

Barry Cryer: Same Time Tomorrow? The life and laughs of a comedy legend with his son Bob and a special guest
When the legendary comedian Barry Cryer died in January 2022, there was a vast outpouring of grief, appreciation and anecdotes - from the general public and fellow comics alike. Now, his son, Bob Cryer, is doing what Barry's humility did not allow: revealing the story of the man behind the jokes. His book, Same Time Tomorrow? is an ode both to Barry's incredible life and to the lessons he so generously imparted on the art of comedy during his sixty-year career.


16.15 – 17.15, Eliot Room 

Robin Ince’s Literary Lounge: Joel Morris - Be Funny or Die: How Comedy Works and Why It Matters

Comedy can soothe our pain, vent our anger, make us feel less alone and provide the answer to life’s most difficult questions like: ‘what do you call a man with a seagull on his head?’ Comedy is social glue, but it can also be divisive, and the joke is on us if we don’t understand how it works. So, what are the rules? How does comedy do its magic, and why does it matter? Join professional comedy writer Joel Morris on a hilarious journey into the hidden world of shared laughter, where he reveals the mechanisms that make jokes work and what comedy can teach us about ourselves. Offering astute analysis of everything from stand-up to slapstick and sitcom to spoof, Morris examines comedic patterns, rhythms, and dynamics to uncover the algorithms that secretly underpin comedy.


Joel was part of the writers' room for both Paddington and Paddington 2; he wrote the five-part series Cunk On Earth and Cunk On Britain, based on the character of Philomena Cunk which he co-created for Charlie Brooker's Wipe shows.

17.30 – 18.30, Pigott Theatre  

Doon Mackichan: My Lady Parts – A Life Fighting Prejudice
Doon Mackichan is best known for her comedy characters in the hugely popular Brass Eye, Smack the Pony, Two Doors Down and Toast of London – but throughout her career there are parts she’s refused to take and roles she’s been forced to play. In her book, My Lady Parts, Doon shares her experience on stage, screen and in real life, examining how our culture still expects women to adhere to certain stereotypes – and punishes those who don’t. This is a courageous, vulnerable and empowering account of being a woman in an industry that has been exposed for its deep-rooted sexism. It is, above all, a call to reflect on – and radically rework – the implications such attitudes have for future generations.


17.45 – 18.45, Eliot Room  

Robin Ince’s Literary Lounge: Zahra Barri and Njambi McGrath

Egyptian/Irish writer and stand-up comedian, Zahra Barri grew up in Saudi Arabia attending both Muslim and Catholic schools which gives her writing a unique perspective. She has featured on Channel 4's Only Jokes a Muslim Can Tell, BBC Period Dramas, BBC radio and BBC Asian Network. She recently won the Unbound Firsts competition to champion previously unpublished writers of colour. Her first book, Daughters of the Nile is an original and darkly funny novel that examines the enduring strength of female bonds. It follows the lives of three women from the Bin-Khalid family – in 1940 Paris, 1966 Cairo and 2011 Bristol – who are no strangers to adversity but must learn from the past and relearn shame and shamelessness to radically change their futures.


Njambi McGrath is a Kenyan-born, UK-based comedian and author, who has been nominated Best Newcomer Black Comedy Awards 2012 and won the 2019 NATYS award. Following her trailblazing memoir Through the Leopard's Gaze comes her debut novel Rinsing Mukami's Soul, an incisive story laying bare the contradictory societal response to gender, sex and redemption. Rinsing Mukami's Soul looks at revenge as a powerful tool for reclamation when young Mukami's carefully ordered life is cruelly thrust into scandal.


19.00 – 20.00, Pigott Theatre 

Lou Sanders: What’s That Lady Doing? False Starts and Happy Endings 
Lou Sanders’ much-lauded memoir, What’s That Lady Doing? False Starts and Happy Endings, is a book about mistakes – and why we should de-flower shame in all its messy, complicated glory. For Lou ‘We all have stories and I think it’s useful to share them, I think it helps unite us and in some ways it helps us release some shame. I've been alarmingly truthful and sincere, because I think society would be better if we could all be honest’.


19.15 – 20.15, Eliot Room  

Robin Ince’s Literary Lounge: The Carry On Girls by Gemma and Robert Ross 

Celebrating the women who shaped British comedy. Whether it is the seaside postcard bubbly blondes of Barbara Windsor; the hysterically historical leading ladies of Joan Sims; the coquettish authoritarians of Hattie Jacques or the statuesque confidence of Valerie Leon; the Carry On Girls are stoic, sexy, and fiercely independent. In this lavish celebration of a pioneering generation of comedy actresses who continue to radiate charm and contemporary relevance, a few home truths are revealed, some myths are debunked, but above all some of the best-loved icons of British entertainment are given fitting affection and respect.

Please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of each event.

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