I was strangely hopeful to discover there a suggestion that Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling wants to write a novel about a stand-up comedian. I’ve only read a couple of the Potter books… I don’t remember them as especially funny, but they had a good sense of whimsy about them. So I’m not necessarily a fan (or a hater) of Rowling’s work.
However, what I do kind of love about the idea is that there are tons of young fans who are probably hooked on Rowling. If she were to pen a novel focused on a stand-up comic, it could be the first detailed introduction lots of young people have to stand-up outside of the odd Comedy Central special. Sure, they’ve seen stand-up, but had they thought about as an art form? It’s an interesting opportunity.
As Chortle correctly points out, there’s plenty of reason Rowling might be credible at writing a book about stand-up as she lives in Edinburgh, home to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which brings many of the best international comics working today right to her doorstep. If she’s got a viewpoint on the art form, she’s certainly had the opportunity to see stand-up at its best.
Also, I can’t really think of too many novels where stand-ups are the main characters. The only one that comes to mind immediately is Bill Maher‘s “True Story”, written before Politically Correct and Real Time. I haven’t read it in ages, so I can’t testify to its strengths or weaknesses, but I do remember it being almost a little dismissive of stand-up in a way. The characters are named by what type of jokes they tell - i.e. Dick, Shit, Fat, Chink - which makes for a possibly accurate portrayal of exactly what went wrong with the 80s comedy boom (the book was published in 1994). I don’t think a definitive novel about stand-up has been written yet - but my memory might be spotty. Can anyone else think of other books I’m missing?
Of course, Rowling says she hasn’t written a word yet. So it may never turn up. But I’d read it. Would you?