The next time you're having a bad day, sit down and watch Black Books. Within minutes you'll not only feel better from laughing, you will feel comforted by the fact that nobody you are ever going to meet is as cruelly sadistic and utterly bitter as Bernard Black, proprietor of the world's worst bookshop.
Of late, "quirky" has become a buzzword of comedy, almost a fashionable word to insert into a rave review, and one of which I am intensely wary, as it ordinarily implies it is of the same brand of "fun" as, for example, a businessman who thinks mouth-shaped cufflinks are "fun". However, there are few other words to adequately describe the occasional surrealness of these half-hour jaunts into the grime of Bernard, Manny and Fran's dusty world. Refreshingly avoiding the cheap laugh bought by so many comedies simply by adding in the occasional profanity, Bernard expresses his utter disdain for everyone and everything in ways which can only be described as pure creativity. If you haven't been introduced to actor and writer Dylan Moran's unique brand of anger, you're in for a treat. Meanwhile, Bill Bailey as Manny provides a delightfully childlike and endearingly terrified pincushion for Bernard's razor-sharp remarks and Tamsin Greig puts forth a superb performance as Fran, their oldest friend and faithful bringer of wine.
Full of conversations you'll be re-enacting with your friends and with a whole pile of extras such as the bizarre "Black Dolls" puppet show, this intelligent and yet simultaneously brainless comedy is exactly what you need to remind you that however bad life gets, at least you don't work at Black Books.