Inside Jeremy Strong’s naturally funny mind

By Saskia Calliste

From the The-Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Dog to the My Brother’s Famous Bottom series, funny man Jeremy Strong has written over a hundred books! He will be bringing some of his first class hilarity to Barnes Festival 2019 and introducing his latest book Armadillo & Hare. And this is no ordinary hare of course. For starters, this one plays the tuba... We can’t wait to hear more!

What’s the funniest book you’ve ever read? 

Oh, I have read so many really funny books. I love Andy Stanton’s MR GUM series and for adults I love anything by Bill Bryson and also Spike Milligan’s works. They both have a really off-beat, surreal sense of humour. I also adore P G Wodehouse. When he is on top form nobody can beat him for style and perfectly poised sentences. Millionaire Wooster identifying with the working class is hysterical! I also love the Asterix series and the crazy use of Latin.

If you could meet any literary character, who would it be and what would you say to them? 

I would like to spend some time with Bertram Wooster, the casually unaware hero of P G Wodehouse’s ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ series. I would tell Jeeves that I have a very smart black and white cat named after him – and he is my butler. He always follows me around to make sure I am ok. As for Bertram Wooster I would simply like to sit down in a comfy armchair and chat to him about the world and listen to him telling me about his aunts and his view of the world – always optimistic and idotically misled.

What’s your top tip for writing funny characters? 

Make them funny! Ha ha! Actually this is a difficult question to answer and one I have never really thought about. I have a feeling that if I had to ’think’ about making a character funny it wouldn’t work. You can’t force humour – at least that’s what I feel. My mind tends to think ‘funny’ quite naturally. It’s a trait that doesn’t work well in a serious situation. Also I often shoot out something I think is funny and people just ignore it or look at me as if I’m from somewhere way beyond our own galaxy. I see my jokes nose dive into the ground and crash and burn. I still haven’t learned to stop myself from speaking!

What’s your favourite My Brother’s Famous Bottom quote? 

I haven’t got a clue!  I remember in MY BROTHER’S FAMOUS BOTTOM TAKES OFF Dad returns from their trip to America and gets arrested for stealing a sheep. It refers back to something much, much earlier in the story that the reader will have forgotten about, so it comes as a big surprise and I think it’s very funny too. Maybe you have to be caught up in reading the book to understand!

Tell us a joke?

It’s actually a poem by Ogden Nash called REFLECTIONS ON PARSLEY.


Is gharsley.

That’s all of it! I read this when I was about 12 and suddenly realised that you could play with words and have fun with them!

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