Faber & Faber
You know Richard Ayoade from, most likely, The IT Crowd, as a staple on British comedy panel shows, for appearances on The Mighty Boosh or maybe going back to Garth Marenghi’ Darkplace. He’s also made one of my favourite films of this year – The Double – and before that there was Submarine. He’s fast becoming one of those people you’re baffled by, envious of and borderline embarrassed by the productivity, the depth, the range. You congratulate yourself for getting up off the couch. In that same time he’s made a new series, written a script and now made this book.
Ayoade on Ayoade is a parody of the famed Director series where film bores get even more insular as they unpack their own work and attempt to find some mystique. Richard Ayoade, now a two-time movie director, has fun creating a book-length parody of biting satire – as he joke-interviews himself. The one-liners hurtle by and you hear and feel his voice – that particular tone, the writing voice too. You read it in his voice. But it’s the biggest wind-up ever. None of this is true – beyond the fact that Ayoade is waving a flag passionately for how fucking absurd the PR treadmill is – we all saw that with the viral hit of this interview where he mocked the interviewer, the interviewing process, himself as the interviewee and played a version of himself that’s about as far removed from the versions that are on the pages in this book.
Ayoade on Ayoade is fucking hilarious – but it requires some knowledge of the writer, of his self-satirising mockery of the industry he appears to be moving further towards – and then of course of the types of books that celebrate the ivory tower ideals of that industry; so completely at odds with the main aim of selling popcorn, adverts and anything else as product or brand.
The comic brand that Ayoade sets up here is a continuation of themes explored in some of his work – absolutely. The off-beat humour of his films, but there’s a wonderfully perceptive writer behind these pages. He’s chopping down at the madness, lampooning deeply. And yet it’s also a wonderful ruse for hiding some spectacular jokes.