As anyone who knows me should know, I have been a fan of Jon Richardson for quite some time now. Since December 2007, to be precise. A little late than some, but earlier than some others (She says, smugly). This was all down to finding out Mock The Week favourite Russell Howard had a radio show and the rest is history. If you don’t know who Russell Howard is, I suggest you google him, as this is about Jon Richardson and his highly anticipated book.
After an introduction, he is quite clear in stating that this book is not an Auto-biography. Well, it doesn’t need to be, because we still end up seeing deep into his inner monologue as he tells us of the events of Four specific days in his life.
Did these events really happen? Well, i’m sure they happened, but as much as I know from his radio show, snippets of stand up i’ve seen and his anecdotes on panel shows, it’s possible that they didn’t happen exactly in the order presented to us in this book. But don’t let that stop you from reading this book. Far be it for me to marr this book with rumours of falsehoods and fairytales.
Over the four days, the book presents us with how Jon deals with his daily life. Not the average day of his life, but what the most reoccurring features are of his daily life. There is a woman named Gemma that he keeps referring to, an experience in a hotel, much journeying, fits of rage and hatred, his coping methods and a very well executed knock down of a pompous loud mouth in a suit and a meeting.
We eventually find out that Gemma is a woman who has mutually shown an interest in Jon and that the flow of consciousness that is this book has all been sparked by Gemma’s suggestion they go out on a date.
Some people say that other people are the personification of objects and ideals. This book, “It’s Not Me, It’s You” is the book version of Jon, which makes sense as it’s Jon’s book. But what I mean is, is that if you’re a long-standing fan of the radio show and Jon Richardson, especially during the Russell days, then you already have had glimpses of the way his mind works and the way he thinks of the world and of himself. In the book, he says his stand up is like a 20 minute to an hour condensed version, except not as detailed or indepth and he’s right, but nothing in this book should shock or surprise anyone if they are a longstanding fan. He gets angry, he gets angry at himself, he gets angry at the world, and he back-and-forths on scenarios regarding the rest of the world, and before anyone knows it, he’s mapped out his future and is already picking it to pieces.
There is a lot of Meta going on in this book, by the way, just to let you know.
I think the most powerful thing he talked about in the book was when he says he picks up the glass and gets an overwhelming urge to just smash it against the wall. He goes to do it… and then stops himself, because a voice at the back of his mind says “Don’t do that” and backs up of why he Shouldn’t do that with a health and safety risk assessment. He then ends up in the bath, covered in a towel, calming himself down and doing something he calls the Zoom technique.
If this dude wasn’t a comedian, I really think he’d be a brilliant observational psychiatrist. He could even be both! This is why I adore this man. He has a moral compass that he questions and analyses but still sticks by, because he knows it’s right. He just doesn’t do what he is told is right, he questions and concludes that they ARE right. He has some issues, but he’s no different than the average man, but he still gets on stage and makes people laugh. He did it on the radio, he does it on panel shows and he does it on stage.
And now he does it in a book! This very book! I loved reading this book, from beginning to end. I genuinely didn’t want to put it down, and when I realised i’d nearly read it in a day, only then did I stop and put it down. It is too much of a good book to read in one day.
If you’re a fan of Jon Richardson, buy the book. If you’re on a fan of inner monologues by people who are riddled with perfectionist based habits, buy the book. If you feel like you have two people constantly arguing inside of your head, figuring out which version of yourself should be portrayed the most, buy the book!
He’s been so underrated for so many years. Thank who-ever’s out there that people are finally catching on to just how good he is. If you don’t believe me, watch a bunch of his stand up, watch him on comedy panel shows, listen to him when he’s on the radio, and most importantly…
Buy the book!