Comedy gold with a lot of heart, filled with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments.
Comedy with heart is nowhere near as common as it should be, particularly when the right amount of pathos lifts the quality and memory of the piece so far above the rest. When it’s achieved, it’s usually in the hands of a stand-up artist at the top of their game (think Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, available on Netflix), or through some stellar team writing, like that found in Korean supernatural comedy-drama The Uncanny Counter, or the American sitcom, Schitt’s Creek.
Even rarer, is to find such sublime comedy within the pages of a book.
Adelaide nurse and award-winning stand-up comedian Georgie Carroll displays so much heart in the pages of her first tome that she could almost be a surgeon. She tells much of her life story through the lens of a long nursing career, depicting the funny, the gross, and the heart-warming moments that have been her life journey.
Carroll’s laid-back narration is laugh-out-loud mayhem, just like her stand-up routines. The hearty laughs are interspersed with a healthy dose of chuckles but in the midst of it all, she hits hard with a haunting tale of suicide watch in the Intensive Care Unit, or the bravery of paediatric nurses in times of crisis.
Carroll imparts worldly wisdom on health, parenting, family, and growing old, all delivered with an abundance of sarcasm and unpredictability. Her inside information of the health system in two countries makes her tales hysterically funny. Even those with bite find humour in the moment.
Off the Charts is a delicious read to be devoured in as few sittings as possible. It moves along at a cracking pace and the short chapters make it easier to take a pee break before the next belly laugh does it for you. Carroll’s heart-warming humanitarianism is the soul of the book and it’s evidenced not just in her loving outlook, but in the care she takes to never belittle someone’s misery or their part in it.
Fans of Carroll’s stand-up comedy will fall in love with her all over again, while those new to the comedian’s work will be queuing up for tickets to her next show after reading this gold-standard autobiography.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Distributed by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Released: 27 April 2021