I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Diversion Books on July 12, 2013
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Colin Mochrie, a man known worldwide for working without a script, has penned a collection of stories destined to make its own mark in the literary community. Borrowing from a well-known improv game, Mochrie takes the first and last lines from familiar classics and reimagines everything in between. With the same engaging humour he exhibits on stage, television, and film, he takes the reader in bizarre and hilarious new directions, using the original writer's words as a launch and landing point. Imagine A Tale of Two Cities in which Wile E. Coyote gets his revenge on the Road Runner, Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hatwith zombies, or The Night Before Christmas with a time travelling twist. Imagine Sherlock Holmes devising a foolproof method for eliciting laughter and then taking the stage at a Victorian comedy club in Old London.
This inspired collection is comical, quirky, and clever--classic Mochrie.
I was a huge fan of Whose Line Is It Anyway? in all of its incarnations–both when it had the dry British humor, and the lewd American humor. And my favourite contestant was always Colin Mochrie. Maybe it’s that Canadian pride, but since I didn’t know that at first it was probably more to do with his sense of humor and his ability to laugh at himself. So, yeah, when I saw that he had a book coming out I geeked out a bit (okay, so it was a lot).
Not Quite the Classics is a play on the Whose Line game ‘First Line, Last Line ‘ where you use the given first and last lines and everything in between is improv comedy (that’s hopefully gold, but sometimes falls flat). In this book we see Mochrie take on classic poems and novels and make a mockery of them. (I’m sorry… I am so sorry. I’m pretty sure the wordplay is required!)
This book is a pop culture riot. For the Sherlock fans we have a Sherlock who tries stand-up comedy, the Whovians will love the cameo by Doctor Who, Wile. E. Coyote wages war on the road runner, and if you love all things Zombies there’s a delightful (or not so delightful, as the case may be) version of The Cat in The Hat. There is a bit of something for everyone.
The only problem in this book was that, as is the case with improv, while some were comedy gold, others were not. Some of these stories just weren’t that funny to me, and the writing leaned more to the drier side. Mochrie makes an effort to keep the original author’s tone and voice in a lot of these stories so if you’re looking for something that’s more of a parody then this may not work well for you.
This was definitely a fun book to read, and very well-written (who knew that inside that bald head and comedic genius was a great writer?). I was, however, quite glad that this was a series of short stories and poems instead of one full-length novel. In the drier and not-so-funny stories I struggled to stay interested. I would definitely recommend this book to Whose Line fans, or fans of Mochrie’s other work. When these stories work, they work tremendously well!