Jerry Seinfeld ‘Is This Anything?’ Book

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The comedy of Jerry Seinfeld is worth its weight in gold © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2021

Comedy gold—-I have discovered Jerry Seinfeld’s jokes, or tiny stories, are even better when read.  I can fully absorb the nuances leading to a smooth punchline, being taken by surprise, and bursting into laughter.  Fortunately in the comfort of my own home.


IMG_20200617_141756Of course, reading a Jerry Seinfeld book filled from cover to cover with his observational comedy written over five decades is best taken in small doses.


There is nothing truly personal in this book so don’t expect an autobiographical exposé of his life.  The best you are going to get under the heading of About The Author is “Jerry Seinfeld is a stand-up comedian.  He lives in New York City with his family.”

However, his life does subtly unfold throughout the book via his comedy routines, both on and off television.  I can relate to most of his observations.  Admittedly they don’t always mirror my experiences of life, but do cover a large, unavoidable portion of my existence as a human being.

Film Camera Lights Action MovieIt is fascinating to read through the decades from 1970s to 2010s.  Small bits, longer bits like “The Chicks and the Checks”, an ordinary event turned monumental.  And there’s the condensing, the immediacy of his transference, the reveal, the audience reaction he craves on stage. He couldn’t hear me laughing at the six lines of “Earthquake”.

If you’re wondering, the book title “Is This Anything?” is taken from what comedians nervously ask each other about a new bit they have written.

Seinfeld’s stand-up comedy style is a clean, straight-forward, perfectly paced delivery.  Always on the funny side, in his 452 page book plus index, he goes from being a young man to a mature adult with a family. Gradually the content and tone of the jokes change, a kitchen sponge talks, technology invades and “Device Dictatorship” rules but the entertainment is always there.

It is not necessary to have watched his television series “Seinfeld” but as I read, I heard his voice in my head.

I guess maybe that’s a good thing… 

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

It is like being in a time machine with the years being told in very short, very funny stories: great to lift the pandemic blues.
GBW.

Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld

Bill Bailey – Earl of Whimsy

Bill Baily Actor Comedian

I love searching for theatre performances out-of-town.  Just the ticket!  British actor, writer, musician, comedian Bill Bailey will bring his inimitable style to Queensland in the historic Empire Theatre in Toowoomba.

A thriving rural town with fine old buildings, a genteel air and beautiful gardens, Toowoomba is situated on the top edge of the Great Dividing Range so the weather is more temperate than Brisbane.  And they have successfully resurrected the art deco splendours of the Empire Theatre.

Bill Baily Actor Show Empire Theatre

Bill Bailey has appeared in various TV series including ‘QI’ and ‘Have I Got News for You’ and his most memorable character was Manny in ‘Black Books’.  The following details are all about his newest stage show––

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“After his 2016 sell-out tour, ‘Larks in Transit’, the UK’s very own straggle-haired polymath, Bill Bailey, returns to Australia in 2018 with his new comedy and music extravaganza, ‘Earl of Whimsy’.

“Bill describes himself in his own words, an Earl of Whimsy.  Whatever his title, this might be Bill’s cleverest, daftest, most eccentric show yet.  Quote from The Guardian ‘Scales the peaks of sublime silliness…this is a foray into Bailey’s magpie mind…a delightful place to spend time.’

“While the world tumbles into a seemingly more chaotic place by the minute, find a moment of calm in the chaos with a trip round Bill’s mind, described recently as ‘A huge, lavishly decorated and nicely untidy place… its contents spill out with an infectious enthusiasm during this wonderful show’.  This I gotta see!

“The show has Bill’s trademark blend of satire and surrealism, stories and dismantled jokes, crowd singalongs, weird instruments and musical showstoppers.  But there’s a distinctly historical feel.  With its tales of Britain’s fortunes past and present, of ancient Viking battles, of Shakespeare’s contribution to comedy, and Bill’s own ancestry, this is both a mockery and a celebration of national identity.

“It’s also a journey of discovery.  We find out where Knock Knock jokes came from, how we got days of the week.  And why Nicky Minaj rejected a puffin sample for her latest single.  (That last sentence means nothing to me!)  There are lively audience discussions, a mass German singalong, and even some Cockney crab-dancing.  Something for everyone.”

For more information on Bill’s extravaganza on Monday 15 October 2018, 8pm and other shows at the Empire Theatre, click What’s On.

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Hmm, I think dinner and a show is likely and perhaps an overnight stay at historic boutique hotel Vacy Hall. Love that place!


Thank you to local blogger Fiona Ryan of Tiffin who has images of the Empire Theatre art deco delights on her website http://www.tiffinbitesized.com.au/2015/02/13/art-deco-delight-the-empire-theatre-toowoomba/

Gretchen Bernet-Ward