What makes people laugh? Where does the urge to make people laugh come from? And just how hard can it really be to become a stand-up comedian? In pursuit of the answers to these questions - and more - writer and comedy obsessive, Steven Jacobi has set himself a horrifying task: to perform as a stand-up comic in six comedy clubs around Britain. (The Amused Moose, at the Enterprise in Chalk Farm; XSMalarkey in Manchester; the Cheeky Monkey at the Station in Kings Heath, Birmingham; Ha! in New York; Oi! Oi! in Eastbourne and Up the Creek in Greenwich, London.)
As he gathers together material for his big adventure, Jacobi tracks down his comedy heroes, Ken Dodd and Woody Allen and seeks their advice and wisdom. He looks at the long tradition of British humour and looks to, among others, a Python, Eric Sykes, Frank Skinner and Steve Coogan to get their take on comedy.
Only then does he embark on his ordeal, logging - in unsparing detail - the venues, audiences, hecklers and humiliation. All the while charting his all-important material, evolving - and hopefully refining - as he travels across the country on his masochistic odyssey.
Steven Jacobi was born in Birmingham and educated in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London. He has worked in the Far East, and has written a thesis on Angus Wilson. He has written a number of plays for Radio 4 and has written for various newspapers and magazines including The Times, the Guardian, the Observer, Esquire, Marie Claire and Arena. He lives in Gloucestershire.