Not That I’m Bitter by Helen Lederer review – funny lessons from the comedy fringe

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Funny female Helen Lederer honed her trade doing standup connected nan replacement drama circuit of nan 1980s, sharing bills pinch nan likes of Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Jenny Eclair, earlier landing roles successful sitcoms including Girls connected Top and Absolutely Fabulous. Since then, she’s appeared successful reality TV shows, pantos, ads. There person besides been books, this latest of which strives to explicate why, erstwhile truthful galore of her contemporaries went connected to go family names, Lederer herself still requires an introduction.

A hectic, now-and-again hair-raising study of her life and career, it originates pinch a mother who worked astatine Bletchley during nan warfare only to go trapped by 1950s domesticity, and a Czech-Jewish begetter who arrived successful nan UK arsenic a exile and continually felt nan request to gain his spot successful British society.

Growing up successful suburban Eltham, south-east London, Lederer depicts herself arsenic an asthmatic show-off, prone to spilling her beverage successful hysterics. As she stumbles into young adulthood, location are disturbing episodes arsenic a trainee masseuse and nan recipient of after-hours “lessons” from her acting coach.

Certainly, these were different times, which besides accounts for nan velocity pills she takes for dieting and, perhaps, nan deficiency of camaraderie she encounters among female comedians, still fewer successful number backmost then. Competing pinch men became harder still aft she became a azygous mother.

She’s ever successful nan correct spot astatine nan incorrect time, doing a “singleton” act, for instance, a decade earlier nan advent of Bridget Jones. When she does contrive to beryllium successful nan correct spot astatine nan correct time, she manages to self-sabotage. Reflecting connected it from nan “autumn” of her career, mortification and regret stay successful plentiful supply, but what she genuinely doesn’t evince, her book’s title notwithstanding, is bitterness.

To nan grade that Lederer has gained immoderate penetration pinch property and experience, she’s capable to spot that nan consciousness of not being bully capable that has dogged her from puerility is besides what drives her to perform. Without it, she mightiness beryllium happier – much successful, perchance – but she’d besides ne'er person known nan “bliss” that comes from creating laughter successful an assemblage successful nan first place.

Here is simply a communicative that is, supra all, irrepressibly, unrepentantly funny. This tin consciousness jarring connected juncture yet her defence is important – moreover much truthful now than erstwhile she started out, contempt nan galore changes for nan better. As she insists astatine nan end: “Making nosy of nan bad stuff, and caring astir nan bad stuff, tin beryllium done astatine nan aforesaid time.”

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Source theguardian