Comedian-author Charlie Demers, whose brain-bending brand of black humor will be familiar to followers of CBC Radio's The Debaters, offers his madcap perspective in a new collection of essays highlighting a wide range of topics under the heading of Bad Things. The Horrors is presented abecedarian-style, despoiling a beloved children's book tradition in order to explore personal hangups that range from the slightly awkward to the down-right terrible.
Beginning with 'A' for 'Adolescence, ' Demers recalls his sexless teenage years spent in a Trotskyist sect, and 'B' for 'Bombing' offers a first-person account of the agonies of stand-up comedy gone wrong. 'E' for 'End of the World' explores the wacky world of Preppers (YouTube how-to-prepare-for-the-apocalypse experts), while 'F' for 'Fat' explains what life is like for those with both testicles and breasts. Other essays creep toward the pain side of the hilarity/agony line: 'D' for 'Depression' and 'M' for 'Motherlessness' traverse topics that more balanced minds might hesitate to make light of.
Fortunately, Demers does not let tact or sensibility deter him from pushing humor to its hysterical limit in order to examine our deepest fears. With artful insight, he never minimizes the very real pain inherent in some topics and uses comedy as a catharsis rather than a numbing agent. Dark, smart and funny, in the sunny world of The Book of Awesome
and The Happiness Project, The Horrors
will be a shadow . . . or at least a shadow puppet.Author:
Douglas & McIntyrePublished:
9.00h x 6.10w x 0.80dISBN:
9781771620314Review Citation(s): Quill & Quire
12/01/2015 pg. 28Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Charles Demers is an author, stand-up comedian, and faculty in the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia. His collection of essays, Vancouver Special (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009), was shortlisted for the Hubert Evans BC Book Prize for Non-Fiction.