‘Where Do Comedians Go To Die?’ by Milton Jones
As featured on Chortle.co.uk (read the full article here)
Write what you know, that’s what novelists are always told – and it’s advice Milton Jones has certainly taken to heart. His debut literary effort charts the life story of a jobbing stand-up, from eager open spot to successful, but not famous, road slave; a career that ultimately leaves him somewhat detached from real life, especially his family.
Where Do Comedians Go To Die? is, it should be stressed, fiction, not autobiography. Central character Jerome Stevens, for example, won the 1996 Schwepps Best Newcomer Award – nothing at all like the real-life Jones, you understand, who just happens to won the Perrier best newcomer award in that very same year.
‘Thinly disguised’ is definitely the watchword here, and comedy aficionados can have fun guessing the inspiration behind some of the familiar characters that populate its pages: Mickey Spinoa, the comic who got hugely famous by appropriating bits of other stand-up’s acts; the flashily soulless big-shot agent Gary; Tony Tundass, the thick-skinned hack, bitter at all the clubs who won’t book him but blissfully ignorant of the fact it’s because he’s dreadful.
Jones certainly draws on his experiences to make each episode feel utterly authentic. A little less convincing is the device that links all these together – Stevens being incarcerated in a Chinese cell, prompting him to reminisce about all the experiences in his career, and occasionally his personal life, that made him who he is.
As you might expect from a comic who’s act is based on exquisite one-liners, Jones has a lovely turn of phrase, that sometimes leaps into the very funny. Although the character is usually too busy fretting about whether a line is funny or not for the text to contain many useable jokes, it is consistently witty and eminently readable.
Where Do Comedians Go Where They Die? by Milton Jones, is published by JR Books at £14.99. Click here to buy from Amazon at £8.99
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