This is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. Unpublished material from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books is to be performed as part of the Chortle Comedy Book Festival, in Camden next month.
Toby Longworth — comedy stalwart and recent incarnation of Slartibartfast — chats with Adams' official biographer Jem Roberts on 10 November about his book The Frood — an all-new history of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is furnished with newly-discovered secrets from the private archive of the cult sci-fi-comedy writer. A section of the talk will feature Longworth and Roberts reading extracts from the reams of work by Adams, which didn't quite pass muster under his scrutinising eye.
This is merely a taster of the veritable universe of literary comedy taking place at what's billed as Britain's only comedy book festival. Also on the line-up is Monty Python's Terry Jones (he'll be discussing the forgotten heroes of comedy), The Thick of It's Rebecca Front (reading from her debut book), Francesca Martinez (who poses the question What the **** Is Normal?), Spitting Image writer John O'Farrell (he had the idea of making John Major's puppet entirely grey), and Omid Djalili, who is reminiscing about growing up and seeking fame as a young Iranian in London. South Londoner Jenny Eclair kicks off proceedings at the open gala on 7 November.
Fans of kooky facts will be suitably sated too. On 13 November the QI Elves (they have their own podcast and everything) feed the audience some hard-to-swallow facts — for instance, in some parts of Germany it is illegal to show The Life Of Brian on Good Friday (wonder if Terry Jones knew that one?). And on 9 November comedian Fergus Craig passes on his tongue-in-cheek advice and facts to aspiring actors. Did you know, for instance, that during the Cold War, the American military tried to weaponise the word 'Macbeth'? Nope, neither did we.