Rob Brydon visited Guildford in December for a book signing.
That’s right, the comic impresario came to a sleepy Home County to promote his life story. But why am I telling you this? Well, where he’s been and who he’s met is a crucial part of Small Man In A Book. Because everyone who has had some sort of prolonged contact with Rob Brydon has gone on to become a star (see: Catherine Tate, Catherine Zeta-Jones, James Corden). I wish I’d gone, now.
I wasn’t expecting much from his autobiography – I thought it’d be like an older, Welsh version of [insert modern moderately-successful young comedian]. But actually, it’s a shining insight into the well-rounded development of a comic actor.
Even the picture pages tell a story – and more importantly, they contribute to it. All too often in biographies, the pictures section feels like the publisher broke in to the author’s aunt’s house, stole some mantelpiece pictures and then topped those up with a Google Images search. Not Mr. Brydon – his photo pages are a bit like being squeezed between his mum and his nan on the sofa, forced to look at the best and worst of their baby. Complete with hilarious captions.
What’s interesting, though, is comedy’s Mr. Nice Guy can’t actually be brutally honest. This is a shame. We’re warned in the foreword that we’re not getting the grisly bits of his divorce, and we’re only taken up to the year 2000, so no amorous dedications to his new wife, either. The downside of the time-period is that there’s no Gavin & Stacey stuff. The upside is we get the trials and tribulations at drama school, and some great anecdotes about his voiceover work. Oh, and no mention of his appearances on every single comedy panel show since.