Read Dead Funny by Robin Ince Johnny Mains Reece Shearsmith Mitch Benn Al Murray Stewart Lee Matthew Holness Katy Brand Online


What happens when mirth turns to murder? When the screams are not from joy, but flesh-ripping pain? Dead Funny is an audacious anthology, featuring tales of terror from some of the brightest lights in UK comedy.Award winners Robin Ince and Johnny Mains team up for this unique exploration of the relationship between comedy and horror to see if they do, as believed, make theWhat happens when mirth turns to murder? When the screams are not from joy, but flesh-ripping pain? Dead Funny is an audacious anthology, featuring tales of terror from some of the brightest lights in UK comedy.Award winners Robin Ince and Johnny Mains team up for this unique exploration of the relationship between comedy and horror to see if they do, as believed, make the most comfortable of bedfellows.Featuring the talents ofMITCH BENN, KATY BRAND, NEIL EDMOND, RICHARD HERRING, CHARLIE HIGSON, MATTHEW HOLNESS, RUFUS HOUND, ROBIN INCE, PHILL JUPITUS, TIM KEY, STEWART LEE, MICHAEL LEGGE, AL MURRAY, SARA PASCOE, REECE SHEARSMITH, DANIELLE WHEELERDEAD FUNNYYou’ll die screaming....

Title : Dead Funny
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ISBN : 9781907773761
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dead Funny Reviews

  • Alex Sarll
    2019-03-05 08:23

    Comedy and horror have always been closer bedfellows than you might expect; Ince's introduction talks about comedians as often being the weird kids who like spooky shit, but it surely goes deeper than that, with both forms being dependent on mood and timing, out to garner an incontrovertible physical response rather than mere intellectual approval. And certainly in recent years there have been an increasing number of stand-ups who are interested in garnering emotions other than amusement, whether that be with harrowing confessional shows, or the offbeat and not necessarily humour-centred storytelling of Daniel Kitson (the foremost name I wish had been include here who isn't). So this project makes perfect sense, even if the results are inevitably as variable as any anthology or any comedy night line-up. I think I found Matthew Holness' story the most gruesome; turns out he can do horror straight, not just spoof it, if he so wishes. The eeriest is probably Stewart Lee's, despite it owing less to MR James than early indicators suggest, and being a reprint of a New Statesman piece which itself was largely a repurposing of a rejection from Shortlist - but hey, if ever there was a comic who turned flogging a dead horse into an artform... And my favourite single sentence was from a comic I don't know, Danielle Wheeler: "She looked up her symptoms on the internet bit could find nothing for 'Play-Doh men dancing in your soul'" - though Phill Jupitus deserves an honourable mention for how well he captures the ghastliness of drinking anywhere near Fenchurch Street. The biggest problem is the sequencing, which clusters stories on similar themes together to the benefit of none of them; the unreliable narrators hanging around near the beginning could profitably have been mingled with the various deaths foretold towards the end.

  • Tammy
    2019-03-23 09:11

    The nitty-gritty: A healthy dose of horror from famous British comedians, and a unique collection, but only moderately successful, in this reader's opinion.So, under normal circumstances, stand-up comedy and I don’t get along very well. It’s too bad, because I have some genuine comedians in my family (and by genuine, I mean they get paid to stand up and say funny things!) My sense of humor often clashes with those around me. My husband, for example, tends to enjoy telling me jokes, most of them pretty terrible. Hence my disdain of canned humor. So why am I telling you all this? I guess to explain my reaction to Dead Funny, a new short story collection from the respectable and always interesting UK publisher, Salt Publishing, whose books I’ve enjoyed immensely.Co-editor Robin Ince says in his Introduction, “… remember that the goriest deaths will have been created while the writer was imagining their worst heckler. Interrupt at a comedy club at your peril, now you know you what goes on in the minds of the stand-up.” I was very curious to read a collection of fiction written by comedians, because while I may not always enjoy stand-up comedy, I do love humor in my fiction. Glancing through the list of contributors, it didn’t surprise me that I only recognized one name, Charlie Higson. After all, I’m an American who doesn’t really follow comedy in the first place.This collection is quite varied, both in subject matter and skill level, and I was surprised to discover that when comedians sit down to pen horror stories, the results aren't necessarily funny. Some of them are very well written, but others read like comedy routines instead of short stories. Out of the sixteen stories in this collection, I really enjoyed five of them, I liked six others, I was frankly baffled by or did not like the writing of four of them, and downright HATED one story. (And I don’t think I’ve ever said I’ve hated something on this blog before!) So quite the mixed bag.Here are the five stories that I thought were well-crafted and creepy and yes, had some black humor as well:The Patient by Mitch BennA man whose wife and daughter were killed in a car accident abducts the man responsible and tortures him in his basement. A twist near the end was a nice surprise and made this one of my favorites.Possum by Matthew HolnessThis story was crazy and sick, but I thought it was really well done. A disturbed man who makes puppets tries to destroy one of them, but the puppet doesn’t go down quietly. I’m not sure I completely understood this story. The man goes back to his childhood home and tries to get his father (?) to help him destroy the puppet. It was just weird. But in a good way!For Roger by Katy BrandThis was my favorite of the bunch. It had a fantastic Twilight Zone vibe to it. A man discovers a hidden diary in his attic, but strangely, the diary appears to predict the future. This story shows us that knowing what will happen in the future is not necessarily a good thing.Anthemoessa by Phill JupitusIn some versions of mythology, Anthemoessa was the island home of the Sirens. In this story, a man (again with all the male characters!) who is trying to climb the corporate ladder, gets caught up in the siren song of two mysterious women, and unfortunately for him, follows them. This story was very well written and also very funny. This was the vibe I was expecting from all the stories in this collection.Filthy Night by Charlie HigsonAnother funny story that I really enjoyed! An aging horror actor visits the home of one of his fans, to see his movie memorabilia collection. I loved the surprise twist at the end (although I didn’t care for the punchy comedy “last line”). More humor than horror, but still very good.I have to mention the story that set my teeth on edge, the one I didn’t like at all. It was called Dog by Reece Shearsmith. The writing was pretty good, and Shearsmith certainly has the talent to give us a gut-wrenching story. But unfortunately, it was about a psychopath who kills dogs, and since I’m a dog person, I just couldn’t stomach it. Perhaps the author meant to elicit such a response, and if that was his intention, then bravo!So while the concept of having comedians write short horror stories was certainly a good idea, this collection only manages to sort of pull it off. But as Johnny Mains says in his Foreword, “It’s an experiment in terror. Not all of the stories will make you laugh. Some of them might make you vomit or be scared to go outdoors after 6 p.m.” Johnny, I believe you hit the nail on the head.Big thanks to Salt Publishing for supplying a review copy.This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy.

  • Gin Oliver
    2019-03-07 09:19

    Scooped from the minds of some of the best comedic talent our native soil has to offer, if you ever thought that someone who sold laughs for a living must have a sinister side, Dead Funny is proof you’re not wrong.Ranging from morbidly grotesque to the psychologically disturbed and including – on occasion – a macabre come-uppance, Dead Funny is a back to back riot of dark short stories, not entirely suitable to be read at bedtime.If you love horror – buy it, if you love comedy – buy it also.Top picks for hitting the sick spot . . .‘All Warm Inside’ by Neil Edmond for the proper slash and gore fans amongst us. Tidy, intriguing and a beautiful attention to detail in describing the horrific abomination of a madman’s handywork.‘The Dream of Nightmares’ by Michael Legge – a brilliant mix of crime, egotism and the bleak, bleak reality of a grey existence seeking a little glamour and glitter to, of course, deadly consequences.Then when you’re ready for a taste of something entirely different – Katy Brand’s ‘For Roger’, a gentler tale of impending inevitability, tragedy and death in suburbia.Got to love Phil Jupitus’ ‘Anthemoessa’ as well – a moralistic tale of siren song and arsehole bankers, but I think mostly a serving suggestion on how the world could be made a less toxic place.Tipping a nod and a wink to the old school horror anthologies which the kids probably think they’re too cool for (you’re not), don’t expect to laugh out loud every minute you’re nose deep in Dead Funny, prepare yourself for a little queasy feeling instead.

  • Jill Lamond
    2019-03-13 09:18

    I was slightly misled I feel - though these stories are written by comedians and the title implies that they are humorous this is not actually the case. They are a mixed bag of short stories, some better than others. But none of them are funny.

  • Clive Bevitt
    2019-03-23 07:24

    Some good stories and some not so good. Reminded me of Tales of the Unexpected.

  • Steve
    2019-03-25 06:15

    Johnny Mains returns as editor to the short story format, with his second anthology of 2014 (following April's Best British Horror 2014. This time he brings with him renowned comedian, writer and broadcaster Robin Ince to co-edit DEAD FUNNY, a collection of short horror stories written by comedians. High concept, but does it pay off? The answer, by and large, is yes; as with all multi-author anthologies, there will be one or two stories that don't click with each reader, but there is enough variety here to ensure that any genre fan will find a number of stories to their liking. The contents are as follows:DOG by Reece ShearsmithA tale of a young boy blinded by contact with dog faeces, and the retribution that follows. A strong opening salvo played entirely straight, without any of the black comedy Shearsmith is known for - which works in the story's favour.A SPIDER REMEMBER by Sara PascoeA dream (or not) of a spider becomes something much, much worse. An arachnophobe's worst nightmare writ large - a literal skin-crawler.THE PATIENT by Mitch BennAnother tale of retribution, this time from a medical perspective. A thoroughly downbeat story, with an ending worthy of the best of EC Comics.FOR EVERYONE'S GOOD by Al MurrayAn extended internal monologue, written from the point of view of a patient (inmate?) at an asylum in the 1940s, Murray's contribution is one of the few that didn't work for me.A VIEW FROM A HILL by Stewart Lee(After M.R. James) A meta-tale of a writer, Stewart Lee, struggling to write a short story whilst being sidetracked by writing a second piece, memories of an old friend and one magical night at the Uffington White Horse. For those familiar with Lee's stand-up, it is impossible to read this story without hearing it intoned by the man himself - a fact which only adds to the experience.MOST OUT OF CHARACTER by Robin InceA curiously comic tale about extreme loss of self-control, this entry contains my favourite line in the collection: "He had a morbid fear of meeting Morrissey and smelling of mince or bacon".POSSUM by Matthew HolnessA Frankensteinian mechanical puppet, made from bits of animals (including the titular possum) takes centre stage here. I didn't really follow the story, but that didn't stop me being disturbed by the feel of it.FOR ROGER by Katy BrandWhile chasing a mouse in his attic, Roger finds a diary which he wrote, to himself, in the future, predicting his wife's death. An examination of fate vs free-will, expertly put together. One of the best in the collection.WOOLBOY by Richard HerringDolls are creepy. Life-sized dolls, staring out the windows of abandoned houses in the dark, ten times so.HALLOWEEN by Tim KeyA 14 line piece of flash fiction about a Halloween prank, more than half of which is footnote. There's not much else I can say, for fear of the review becoming longer than the story itself.FIXED by Rufus HoundA stream-of-consciousness nightmare. About halfway through I knew where this story would end up. I was wrong.IN LOVING MEMORY OF NERYS BAG by Danielle WheelerAnother tale of predestination; will Nerys Bag die as predicted, or can she get out of it? There's a lesson here: don't play with Ouija boards. Will they never learn..?ANTHEMOESSA by Phill JupitusA modern-day siren song, named for the island on which they lived. Entertaining, but the ending left me cold.THE DREAM OF NIGHTMARES by Michael LeggeIs Gwen's husband just talking in his sleep, or is he unconsciously solving crimes? And, if the latter, can his prediction be altered?ALL WARM INSIDE by Neil EdmondA man wakes, not knowing who he is or why there's a destroyed corpse in the room. A story like this is all about the conclusion which in this case, while not bad, feels like a bit of a let down. That said, it does feature the lasting image of a man reaching into his own anus to find out if he is battery-powered.FILTHY NIGHT by Charlie HigsonAn interview with a horror icon becomes a tale of real monsters in this satisfying, if lightweight, closing piece.The success or failure of DEAD FUNNY, as with any anthology, lies with the stories themselves. It is a tribute to both the authors and the editors that this collection, written in part by contributors who (one assumes) are not used to the short story format, comes together in a coherent and thoroughly enjoyable way.

  • Colin Murtagh
    2019-03-25 02:35

    So what happens when you ask a pile of comedians to write horror stories? They get dark, very dark. Robin Ince, who I must admit I know more from his podcasts than his standup, pulled a pile of his comedian friends together to write an anthology of horror stories. There is an old cliché about the sad clown. Going by this it's more like the clown from Stephen Kings IT. As with any anthology it's a mixed bag, not every story works, but the hit rate is certainly high. I have to particularly point out the stories of Mitch Benn, Katy Brand and Phil Jupitus, all of whom have excellent stories. May have to pick up the next volume

  • David
    2019-03-11 07:25

    I always thought that the first book I ever really enjoyed was at 12 years old when I first got my hands on the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy but this was untrue. I recently discovered that my previous favourite and the epicentre of my fear of being buried alive was three years earlier, in the shape of R.L Stine’s ‘One day at Horrorland.’ I genuinely believed that my love of media rested exclusively in the ‘comedy’ camp. It is only recently I’ve discovered it was equally divided between comedy and horror. So it was inevitable I would discover and enjoy ’Dead Funny’.Dead Funny is a collection of short horror stories edited by (horror fiction authority figure) Johnny Mains and co-edited by (comedian, actor, writer and broadcaster) Robin Ince. The stories are written exclusively by comedians and though some of them will make you laugh briefly, (I’m fairly sure Richard Herring’s is an amazing story I heard him mention on a podcast) they are horror stories and not comedy.Right out’ve the gate Reece Shearsmith writes a story so visceral that I remember it every time I go to a park, but it also had such a specific blend of dark humour that you would’ve known exactly who had written it even if it hadn’t been clearly stated. It made me feel very uneasy many times, such as making me want to kick a blind child into a fire. Sara Pascoe creeped me out so much I re-told her story to everyone I met for two days. Charlie Higson’s story is really satisfying and has a slightly higher quality that reeks of ‘I do this for a living now’. Robin Ince has a great twist on a thoroughly explored horror genre that has the hallmarks of a workaholic comedian who sits around thinking up horror stories every time he is left alone without a microphone. Al Murray does the equivalent of a creepy documentary and Michael Legge utilised his infamously bottomless well of frustration and rage to craft one of the most satisfying stories in the book. For at least a couple of the authors I know this is the first time they’ve attempted to write anything like this. Some of them didn’t really work for me though some of the stories I loved really irritated other people. Dead Funny has resurrected my love for horror stories, and made me want to go mad so I can write some. It is a satisfying read with a lot more authors than I’ve stated, I can’t imagine you are going to be crying yourself to death after reading them but I enjoyed them a hell of a lot. I have genuinely had nightmares for the whole week I was reading Dead Funny, though that’s probably a lot more to do with my decaying mental stability and impending breakdowns than with these stories. Except Sara Pascoe’s story A Spider Remember which creeped me out permanently and has supplied me with a semi-permanent twitch. Copies of Dead Funny, at the moment at least, are available in a very physically attractive small format hardback book, and there’s a sequel collection on the way so you should buy it even if you just want to look more interesting to other people.

  • Jonathan Butcher
    2019-03-03 06:28

    Dead Funny is a pleasingly unique horror anthology, with the twist being that each ghastly tale is written by a comedian. Being a huge fan of both comedy and horror I was excited by such a prospect, and while there are some weaker tales the pace remains fun, varied and enjoyably written.While I was expecting the stories to lean heavily towards the comedy element, I was surprised to find that there were plenty of unnerving moments lurking amidst the mirth. The collection begins with one such story, “Dog”, penned by the reliably black-souled creator of League of Gentlemen and Inside No. 9, Reece Shearsmith. Risking controversy, this genuinely nasty piece revolves around a young man’s vicious revenge upon those he holds responsible for the blinding of his younger brother: a selection of dog owners, and their pets. It’s not a tale for the easily shocked and functions as a warning for readers expecting the book to be a barrel of light-hearted giggles.Following this was another of my favourites, another bleak and laughter-free entry by Sara Pascoe entitled “Spider Remember”. Short yet far from sweet, it’s a story of love, madness and arachnid abominations. This was one of the most thought-provoking and thoughtfully written stories in the book.While I was hoping for Matthew Holness’s entry to be a knowingly-inept tale penned in the style of his fictional horror writer Garth Merenghi, it proved to be a truly unsettling piece about a disturbed man’s relationship with his grotesque homemade hand puppet, perhaps to parallel the decidedly serious theme of mental illness.Further highlights included Katy Brand’s unpredictable, inspired and tragically touching take on precognition, “For Roger”, Rufus Hound’s ingenious jigsaw puzzle “Fixed”, which only unveils the truth amongst the existential weirdness in its closing paragraphs, and Michael Legge’s sweetly hilarious tale of psychic crime-solving, “The Dream of Nightmares”.As with any collection written by a large variety of authors there are a couple of weak links, but this is to be expected. While I adore him onstage, Stewart Lee’s offering “A View from the Hill” was too meandering and ended with the proverbial damp squib, and Al Murray’s “For Everyone’s Good” gave me little to chuckle or shiver about. Phill Jupitus brought a wicked immediacy to his prose in “Anthemoessa”, but a disparity between the surrounding tale and its conclusion left me with the sense that the “twist” had merely been tacked on.However, as previously mentioned, this is a strong collection of grisly guffaws, and for the most part left me feeling extremely satisfied.Highly recommended!

  • Pamela
    2019-03-06 04:35

    Editited (but have left original review for comparison):After Johnny Mains comments below I chose to persevere and read some more of the stories. I'm glad I did, as there really were some good pieces in there, which just goes to show you can't always judge a collection on its opening story. There were some stories which were brilliant (I especially liked Charlie Higson's offering which made me feel almost nostalgic for the glory years of hammy horror), and others which really weren't to my taste, but all in all I'm glad I read on.Stories I enjoyed were:THE PATIENT by Mitch BennA VIEW FROM A HILL by Stewart LeeFILTHY NIGHT by Charlie HigsonThe rest weren't 'bad' as such, they just weren't to my taste and from a personal perspective I didn't enjoy reading them. Still, all in all I'm glad I forced myself to read on, even if only a handful of the selection really drew me in. That is the issue with a compilation though, no matter how hard you try, you just can't please everyone with every story.(Original Review) I couldn't even tell you if this compilation has potential, because I stopped reading just a few pages in to the first story. It was a brave choice to begin a comedy compendium, no matter how dark, with a tale of animal cruelty but Salt Publishing have done it. Whether it's something that appeals to others I do not know, but for me, it turned me off reading any of the other stories all together. I can't comment on the collection as a whole, but from the outset I failed to see how this collection was going to go anywhere that I would find funny if its opening gambit was dog murder.

  • Gav451
    2019-03-08 02:28

    This was a quick and entertaining read. The authors are all comedians and each has their own style, sometimes they are similar to their stand up and sometimes not. What this is however is a good collection of short stories.Some of the stories are more akin to Tales of the unexpected Horror with a twist at the end as opposed to the visceral stuff I recall from the pan books of horror I read as a child. There are a few of that type in there as well and the changes in tone to help. Robin Ince's tale is a particular stand out one for me, Stuart Lee does paranoia with panache and both Michael Legge and Mitch Ben's stories charmed me as well. To be fair there are no weak links on the book.One VERY short story pushes the boundary of the definition of 'horror' but when you read it you do not begrudge its presence. (As if I had any right to do that. I haven't ever had a story published so how dare I even presume to judge those who have!)I liked the fact this was not a hug weighty tome, it was a quick book of short stories, easy to carry and fun to read.

  • Jim
    2019-02-23 02:35

    I have to say that the authors of this short story collection edited by Robin Ince and Johnny Mains are very sick people... and I really enjoyed reading their work, so I'm not sure what that says about me. Reece Shearsmith, Al Murray, Stuart Lee and Robin Ince are my top choices, but not necessarily in that order. Some of the stories are of a good short story length and highly entertaining and one barely covers a page, but it is still worth a read. If you like the kind of horror short story collections that were very popular in the 1970s, and I believe still are, then this is definitely for you. I hope that there will be a second volume. Oh and if you ever get upset over dog mess, try to avoid following the actions of the main character in one of the first stories. I wouldn't like to hear about your court case on the national news.

  • David Chaudoir
    2019-02-25 01:10

    All anthologies in any genre have their hits and misses, by their very nature they are the literary equivalent of a bag of Revels. So too Dead Funny, compiled and edited by Robin Ince and Johnny Mains. Pity that the first reviewer couldn't get past the canine slaughter in Reece Shearsmith's Dog since this was one of the black gems of the book. Other highlights for me were; Katy Brand who wrote a touching and well observed picture of a retiree who discovers a mysterious book andRobin Ince's observations of a flesh eater.The pièce de résistance however is Charlie Higson's potrait of a washed up and burnt out old horror actor visiting the house of a fanboy. It recalls Pertwee and Oliver Reed and a loving nostalgia to the films of Amicus and Hammer.

  • Rashida
    2019-03-07 09:33

    I enjoyed some of these, the others... not so much. Collections of stories like these are always going to be a mixed bag, especially with so much variation in style, so I didn't go in expecting to love every tale, but I have to admit I was a little disappointed.The offerings by these authors are the ones that stood out or resonated with me the most: Mitch Benn, Katy Brand, and I think, Michael Legge? I'd have to go back and check, but yeah, I wanted more horror and maybe more comedy, too.

  • Lostaccount
    2019-03-10 03:12

    Unfunny, crass stories that read like the first efforts of a creative writing class for children. And it hurts me to say that, because I actually like some of the comedians in the book, which is why I started reading it in the first place, but the book is bloody awful.

  • Laura Armstrong
    2019-03-25 04:13

    A mixed bag. I especially enjoyed Mitch Benn's grisly story and the spooky yarn from Katy Brand, also Charlie Higson's nostalgic Hammer house horror throwback was a bit of a triumph.

  • Alice
    2019-03-04 09:30

    Like other reviewers, there were stories in this I loved and ones I was less keen on. I think Katy Brand's was my favourite though, spooky and she captured modern life in a village very well indeed!

  • David
    2019-03-25 06:21

    Some excellent stories. Well worth it for any horror and comedy fan. I'm familiar with many of the writers from radio 4, which helped.

  • Richard
    2019-03-03 04:12

    Got halfway through and gave up. Only my third DNF in over 500 books. The title should be prosecuted under the Trades Description Act.

  • Lee Johnson
    2019-03-24 01:30

    Some really good stories, some not so great. A genuinely disturbing one regarding a diary found in a loft, which was a modern day M. R. James! All in all a very interesting collection.