“ Print Length: 94 pages / Publisher: Hodder / Published: 11 Sep 2012 „
I have a job where, sometimes, things are very quiet. While feeling a little bored one afternoon, I opened the Kindle App on my phone for something to read. I had got this a while ago, but I decided I'd read it again. This ebook was a free download as a taster for Miranda Hart's autobiography when it was released in October 2012. My friend recommended this as something to cheer me up when I was ill and it did help.
Miranda Hart is best known for her semi-autobiographical sitcom on the BBC. She seems to be one of those people who, if something embarrassing is going to happen to anyone, it will happen to her.
This ebook evolved from Twitter conversations where Miranda asked people to confess their embarrassing incidents in the same way she confessed in her autobiography entitled Is it just me? - hence the @noitsustoo and the name of this ebook. The result is an ebook that is in places funny and touching and made myself feel better about my own mishaps.
While I do like the idea behind this book, and there are some very funny moments, there are some stories where I struggle to work out why they were included, as they're not very funny or embarrassing. It is apparent when reading this book that some people really aren't as funny as they think they are and while I do feel embarrassment for them, it's not embarrassment that they thought what had happened was funny and worthwhile to share with the world of twitter.
As this was as a result of an experiment on Twitter, where you are limited to 160 characters per tweet, most of the stories are very short and can read as slightly confusing in some places as there isn't much that you can say in such a short number of characters.
As this was a free download, I can't complain too much. Some of the additions aren't that funny, but some are definitely worth reading through the not very funny ones. Or maybe I just have a different sense of humour to other people - as these were apparently the best ones and were hand picked by Miranda herself (or have I believed the hype again?). As this is a free download, you have nothing to lose by downloading it - just don't expect something incredibly funny. I did find that this was funnier the second time I read it though, so maybe I just need to read it a few more times?
~Funny Lady - but not a Funny Book~
Miranda Hart is a very funny woman. Her particular style of self-deprecating physical humour isn't everybody's cup of tea but I'm a big fan. With shades of slap-stick, lots of upper middle class angst, and more than a little nod to Morecambe and Wise, her very British humour makes her one of the funniest contemporary comic actors. When I saw that she was bringing out a book - and when I was able to sign up pre-publication for a free Kindle download - I couldn't really see what could go wrong. Sadly the answer to 'What could go wrong?' is just about everything about this ridiculous book. 'No, It's Us Too' (the answer to 'Is it Just Me?) by Miranda Hart and the General Public is absolute utter tosh.
I'm not a Twitter follower. I really don't 'get' the whole idea of Twitter. If I did, perhaps I might understand this book more than I do but I don't think any amount of Twitter understanding would make this book funny.
The basic problem is very simple. Miranda is visually very funny but is she funny on paper (or on a Kindle screen)? To some degree it doesn't matter how funny Miranda is because she barely makes a mark on the book. What does matter is that the General Public (as represented by the people who've contributed to the book) clearly only think they are funny and sadly, it's soon apparent that they aren't. The idea behind the book is that Miranda is famous for doing horribly embarrassing things. If anyone is going to walk down the road with their skirt in their knickers or is going to walk into a glass door or fall down a manhole, it's her. The book sets out to gather a collection of hilariously stupid things that have happened to the general public by pulling together amusing experiences that Miranda's 'fans' have sent to her, most of them via Twitter.
What most people will recognise is that those 'hilariously stupid things' aren't always as funny as the people telling their stories seem to think. They also aren't always very believable. Who hasn't been subjected to a friend or colleague telling a funny story that just falls flat or has holes in the plot you could drive Santa and his reindeers through?
~ The secret to good comedy? Timing~
The second problem is that a really good 'You'll never believe what I did' story generally needs a bit of setting up, a bit of scene setting and of course that secret element of humour that's so hard to capture on paper - TIMING. What the book offers is hundreds - maybe thousands, I lost the will to count - of Tweeted examples of allegedly funny things. What is quickly apparent is that a Tweet is utterly inadequate to deliver a funny story.
Perhaps if there had been some amusing stories from Miranda herself to counteract the tedious public tweets, then the book might have had a chance. Sadly that's not the case. All we get from Miranda are photos of her holding posters saying mildly amusing things at the beginning of each chapter. That brings me to the bizarre chapter system that could have been used to group together amusing stories with similar themes but sadly wasn't. Instead, the 'chapters' are just a way of breaking the book into slightly more manageable chunks of awfulness, each of which contains a random selection of the ravings of the public. If I were insane enough to want to make a book of this type, I'm sure I'd have gathered the Tweets together under various headings - embarrassment in the family, at work, in the street, when you meet your partner's parents and things like that.
Shortly after this book was published, Amazon were offering a free chapter for Kindle users to 'tempt' them into buying. I thought I'd done well to get the whole thing for free but I would have felt cheated even if they'd paid me to read this. Did I laugh out loud? I did not. Did I think of Miranda's catch phrase 'Such Fun!' even once? I did not. Did I smirk to myself occasionally? The corners of my mouth may have twitched once or twice. Did I spend most of my time thinking "What WAS Miranda thinking of to put her name to this rubbish?" and "Have I ever felt more embarrassed to be British?" Only a hundred times or more.
~ Utterly Apathy Inducing~
I thought about going to find a couple of funny examples to share with you but I realised that I couldn't face having to look at this rubbish again. Some people might love it but I suspect this will go down in Miranda's career history as a massive misjudgement of her comedic powers. I can imagine that in book form this might be a handy volume to leave in the downstairs loo - if only to deter guests from staying in there too long, or to give them some assistance in the event of an embarrassing and potentially ever so funny 'out of loo roll' incident.