Women “were invented ages ago, before the 1960s, because God realised very quickly that Adam needed an audience for his jokes,” writes Bridget Christie in A Book For Her. His plan went wrong, however, when Eve turned out to be a lot funnier than Adam. “This annoyed God very much… and so as a punishment, all female comedians have had to endure the pain of being edited out of TV comedy panel shows every since.”
A Book For Her might looks and have the title of “another funny feminist book”, in the mould of Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman (as Christie says: “Jesus, you’re thinking. ‘these feminists will need their own bloody bookshop soon to fit these two book'”) but it is something enjoyably different – part social study, part autobiography, part script collection and part spit-and-sawdust look at the life of a jobbing comedian.
It is, essentially, the tale of two journeys – of Christie’s path to feminist activism (“of sorts”), and of a stand-up finding her way to success, via a decade of poorly attended gigs in former strip clubs, ill-advised ant costumes and lukewarm reviews. These two jouneys are inextricably linked, of course.
It was Christie’s 2013 stand-up show, A Bic For Her, in wheich she seized upon the topic of equality, tearing into sexist sports commentators, “female” products and The Taliban, alike, that won the Edinburgh Comedy Award and rocketed her to record sell-out runs in London, this book and her current status as one of comedy’s big voices.
That voice comes through loud and clear here. Not a page goes by without a gag, or five. This is a comedian’s book and Christie applies the same lightness of touch and level-headedness to her own foibles as to FGM. At the launch last week she said: “My main objective is to be funny… I’m always tryin to be a better comic.” At points she writes out chunks of scripts or routines in full. Having seen some of these several times live, it’s striking how well they stand up to being read again on the page.
Comics will find much sage advice in its pges; others simply a commonsense perspective of the world. It’s a book for everyone, then, not just “for her”