Monday 24 October 2011

An Idiot Abroad - Karl Pilkington

Karl Pilkington is friends with Ricky Gervais and as a result he spends his life being mocked by him. Mainly for his oddly round head. Pilkington is not and adventurer or a traveler. He knows what he likes and he would rather it stayed that way. Friends Ricky and Stephen decide this is the perfect way to poke some fun at him and make a TV programme at the same time. So they send him round the world to visit the 7 wonders, force him to stay in hovels and to take part in tasks he would rather not do. This book is a diary of those events.

I am actually not a fan of Ricky Gervais. I am probably the only person in the world who is unable to watch him without wanting to hurl something at the television. Famed for his amusing arrogance which actually just sets my teeth on edge. Despite that I clearly have a bit of a sadistic side because every time he appears on TV with Pilkington I find him hilarious. Really I am laughing at Pilkington and I should probably feel bad about that but he does have some of the most insane ideas. Some of which actually scarily make sense.

Anyways, that's my round about reason for picking up this book. The truth is I probably should have just watched the show. It probably would have been funnier. Oh, the book did get a few laughs but not enough to make me say this man is hilarious. Instead it was filled with a few laughs, lots of complaints about toilets interrupted by annoying conversations with Gervais.

This might actually be my shortest review as I don't think there was much more to add about the book. Unlike most travel books he didn't inspire fascination for the places he was visiting. It was a nice distraction but not worth buying the book for. I am curious about his other books though and wonder if maybe they will be a little funnier.


  1. Definitely watch the series, it's really funny, and season two has just started which also looks promising. I think there is something about his whinging and whining that works better audibly (I really enjoy the podcasts) than on paper.

    I've got two of Pilkington's books at home waiting to read and I keep switch between thinking "this is great, bet it's funny" to "seriously, of all the fantastic authors out there this guy got to put pen to paper?"

  2. I barely have time to watch TV these days but I will try to make a point of it. I know they did an animated version of their podcasts which I would quite like to see too.

  3. My colleagues absolutely love the TV show and podcasts. I think now and then he's funny but can't watch loads, not really my kind of humour.

  4. I've only saw him in interviews and clips so maybe reading this book and not enjoying it should show that he's not my humour either. Ricky Gervais is certainly not mine but he actually doesn't bother me so much when he's with Pilkington.

  5. I don't like Karl for his humour either, I mean, he isn't a comedian. The humour, at least for me, comes out of the absolutely bizarre and insane reasons and explanations he comes up with to explain the world around him. I'm not sure how that comes out in his books (I'll get back to you in a week when I finish one), especially without the sanity of Ricky and Stephen Merchant to wind him up and juxtapose his craziness. I wouldn't discount the show or the podcast because of not liking the book...perhaps don't buy it, but give it a shot!

  6. Yeah, I still want to see the show. It could be that travel writing just isn't his thing and he was out of his comfort zone too. Plus like you said there was no one there to really wind him up apart from the odd phone call. Most of Ricky's method of winding him up was over the fact that Karl would get charged for every phone call and text he got. He complained about that so Ricky of course made a point of texting and calling.