Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaghtI completely adored this highly entertaining and comic look at the Irish cultural phenomena that is being an Aisling. She is bought to life here by the authors, a novel that has its origins in a Facebook page that documented and captured the varied traits attributed to an Aisling. I should warn readers that the book has numerous Irish words and references, but these can be looked up, and certain reviewers explain many of these. Our Aisling is 28 years old, is best friends with Majella, has been going out with John for seven years and is getting antsy about the fact that John has yet to propose. It begins with the wedding of Liam and Denise, and Aisling reflects on how so many women she knows have achieved the status of wife, and even motherhood, the normal expectations of a woman in the small rural community of Ballygobbard. On pushing John about their expected marriage, she is alarmed at his response that it is unlikely to be anytime soon. She organises a break to Tenerife for the two of them, clinging to the fantasy that he will propose, only on their return she breaks up with him.
Aisling commutes to work in Dublin at PensionsPlus and enjoys the comforts of living with her parents, who coddle and support her. Feeling her life needs a radical overhaul, she moves in with HR work colleague, Sadhbh and her intriguing flatmate, Elaine, in a plush penthouse in Dublin. Aisling soon begins to feel at home with her new close friends and their luxurious lifestyle. It is a culture shock for the small town girl as she willingly joins their never ending rose wine and champagne drinking, the world of celebrities, new places to go out, their strange sense of fashion and ideas of cool, veganism and avocado diets. Sadhbh and Elaine open their hearts to the fragile Aisling, enveloping her into their warmth and care, always there for her when her life faces family crises and the neverending tears and hurt as she struggles to get over John. Her one attempt at dating married Barry from work is curtailed when she bumps into Piotr and becomes a sobbing mess when she becomes aware that John is seeing someone else. As family tragedy strikes and Aisling learns of family secrets, she is determined to support Sadhbh in her personal woes and troubles.
I love the way Aisling has her horizons broadened and her thinking pushed into different directions when her personal relationship falls apart. The humour and comic touches in the story are contagious and had me laughing, this novel is really good craic! The narrative begins and ends with a wedding, but we can see a different Aisling from the first wedding. She comes to appreciate that she might want different things in life than the old Aisling and can finally appreciate the viewpoint of her ex-boyfriend. I loved the way she embraced her new friends and their lifestyle, even when she was deeply uncomfortable with it, as at a techno disco on a Berlin city break. A brilliant read for those times you need something light and frothy, with great characters, and comic fun. Highly recommended! Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
When I caught up with actor and comedian Gad Elmaleh last summer in London, Skype was on the fritz; we could hear each other, but he couldn't see me. What could have been a frustrating interview was immediately turned into a laughter-filled conversation at the expense of American television. You could be a man," he told me. It was then in Elmaleh's professional interests to know a lot about American pop culture. Born in Morocco, he's lived in Paris for over 20 years; by last June, he had spent the previous year working small New York comedy clubs while he developed a new act— his first in English. Now Elmaleh is winding down his tour for Oh My Gad , his first stand-up show entirely in English that culminates in a headlining gig at Carnegie Hall.
While in New York, Gad Elmaleh goes to Joe’s Pub and does stand-up in English for the first time.
Francis renounced a fat inheritance to dress in rags and tend to lepers. David Blaine buried himself in a plastic coffin beneath a three-ton water tank on Sixty-eighth Street for a week. Or you might choose to quit your country and live, for an extended period of time, in a foreign language—a situation that tests strength not of limb or of constitution but of humility. Not understanding, and not being understood, is an endurance exercise all its own, a crash course in the art of serial self-mortification. Your personality, that familiar, nuanced, fluid thing—witty at a party, incisive in conversation, polite in a restaurant, obscene in a traffic jam—becomes about as fleet and flexible as a rusted hunk of scrap metal. You were used to being clever in your regular life? Cleverness is totally out of the question.
Netflix has gone all in with stand-up comedy, managing to talk Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle and Tracy Morgan into doing their first specials in years. He asks, what am I going to wear on stage? Throw in some pointless crowd work and a hacky rimshot, and this is just painful. His cranky exuberance feels awfully tired when aimed at Trump. Kevin James makes a pretty feeble attempt at trying to jump into the culture wars of His stand-up is derivative, generic and barely even utilizes his best physical comedy gifts. He has a lengthy story about how he became obsessed with a guy who gave him a cigar that has a whiff of being a rejected concept for an episode of his sitcom.