I am not fine thanks begins with the pandemic. Comedian Wil Anderson quit his radio job to tour a few shows in 2020 because what could possibly go wrong? Despite his anxiety and possible depression dripping off the page, or perhaps because of it coupled with his usual comedic style, I laughed and cackled my way through so much of this book. Anderson shared so much to which I relate, enabling me to laugh. And feel relieved that I really haven’t been the only one.
I didn’t expect a comedian’s take on the pandemic to have an emotional journey but Anderson nailed it. THIS emotional journey was in my professional writing and editing degree although I forget its name. Anderson rolls out the jokes even through recounting the pathos of the first months of the pandemic then he punches you in the feels during what would – in a novel – be the climax, to finish on a feel-good “god I love my community” note.
No trite marketing
I’m a long-time fan of Wil Anderson, having watched the Gruen Transfer tv series for years. For those who missed it, a panel moderated and MC’d by Anderson discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of marketing and consumerism with many laughs along the way.
During this book, Anderson may have mentioned – once or twice – how 2020 should have been his 25th consecutive year of appearing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I may have caught some of those performances too.
I am not fine thanks is more like his stand up comedy than Gruen Transfer.
This book is a comedian’s take on life, the pandemic, anti-vaxxers banning the vaccinated in the “anti-vaccination capitol of Australia”. But even more: Anderson talks about billionaires, the climate emergency, his admiration for the younger generation who protest, fossil fuel companies trashing the joint, and communities uniting in the face of disaster.
I am not fine thanks is a memoir, stand up in paper format, political satire and so much more. John Cleese said Wil Anderson is one of a handful of comedians whose work he enjoys. And Cleese said that well before going to dark side! Anderson is a stand out comedian whose material is diverse and hilarious. From the chapter on apple cider vinegar that became a running joke, to the evolution of internet security and passwords to “the trees are trying to kill me”, Anderson is riveting.
Best abdominal exercise since quitting the gym during the pandemic.
Oh, yes, and Anderson loves Shaun Micallef. Right down to writing Micallef’s intonation of “the prime minister, Scott Morrison,”. Love it.
Read this if you loved the ScoMo Diaries by Tosh Greenslade and Andrew Weldon. Anderson’s book also reminds me of Kathy Lette who is hilarious in this podcast as well as her books. Also Tim Ferguson is a satirical activist who shines in this podcast. Interviewing my heroes is a definite upside of working on Dark Matter Zine!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Released: today, 2022
Format: paperback, 288 pages