I return from Edinburgh Fringe Festival laden with comedy books, turning what was intended to be a two-part article into a regular feature. This time, we look at travel and adventure: comedians who have written about their amazing adventures, or their travels to unexpected places, usually fuelled by pure madness.
Tim HitzHigham is, quite frankly, insane. He has a strange and unusual passion, to find crazy bets from the past and try to fulfill them. And I, happily, have seen his live shows, in which he recalls his feats, at every single Edinburgh Fringe I have attended. He has rowed down the Thames in a boat made of paper, ran across the desert in a suit of armor, and in his latest show Hellfire, which I won't spoil, he delves into Illuminati level conspiracies and mistreatment of a poor butler. But one of his adventures became the subject of a book. All at Sea, previously known as In the Bath, tells the story of the time FitzHigham tried to row the English Channel in a bathtub. He must navigate his way through the red tape of naval officers and the uncooperative French, actually learn to row, and crucially, not get killed in the busiest shipping canal in the world. Hilarious and suprisingly informative if you're mad enough to try it yourself, it's a great read.
Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure, the famous stand-up show chronicling Dave Gorman's round the world trip lead by an obsession to meet ten Googlewhacks in a row while not writing a novel, is now ten years old! But it was also a book, going into more detail about all the colourful characters he met along his journey, from a man also called Dave Gorman in France (who he already knew!), a doctor on Creationism AND his nemesis, and a terrible night with a tattooist called Boo-Boo. But it's not Dave's only adventure to make the leap to literature. Co-penned by Danny Wallace, Are You Dave Gorman? is Gorman's previous mission to meet as many Dave Gormans as possible, after a bet from Wallace. (This was how he met the previously mentioned Dave Gorman in France.) There's also America Unchained, the book version of Gorman's journey across the USA, which was also a BBC series.
And so we reach Dave Gorman's partner in crime, Danny Wallace. While Wallace has written many books, we're focusing on two, mostly because I've only read two. Yes Man, which you may remember as a middling Jim Carrey film, is a far superior book chronicling the time in which Wallace decided to say yes to everything. Seriously, everything. Join Me, meanwhile, is about the time Wallace started an entire London movement by placing the following advert in Loot: "Join me. Send one passport sized photograph to..." It worked, and a subsequent TV series How to Start Your Own Country saw him form the micronation of Lovely with his Joinees.
Famous for his An Idiot Abroad TV series, Karl Pilkington has expanded his...unique perspective on the world to several books, including An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington, The Further Adventures of An Idiot Abroad, and the books of his "wisdom" Karlology, Happyslapped by a Jellyfish, and The Moaning of Life. The Idiot Abroad books, like Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure, go into more detail than you see on screen of the places Pilkington goes, the people he meets, and the funny yet inappropriate thoughts he has about them.