Review: Nerd Do Well
I first saw Simon Pegg in the cult comedy Spaced (1999-2001) and the series became one of my favourites. Pegg’s career has flourished since then with successful forays onto the big screen with his own work such as Shaun of the Dead (2004) and appearances in the likes of Mission Impossible and Star Trek. He’s one of the UK’s best comedy talents so the prospect of his life story was too good to resist.
Nerd Do Well is befitting of the proud geek that Pegg is (I’m a geek too incidentally so I’m not insulting him!) There is a loose chronology to Pegg’s life interposed with a highly amusing short story of a superhero called Simon Pegg and his robot assistant Canterbury, which breaks up the story brilliantly. Pegg crams a lot into the book’s 350 pages or so beginning with his birth in Gloucestershire, his early passion for drama and of course how he hit the big time.
Pegg gives a fascinating account of his early life which is heavy on the laughs but also throws in some sombre moments, especially the friend of a childhood friend who dies after being hit by a car when Pegg was just a boy. The adult Pegg still picturing this boy as he remembers him certainly hits hard. We also gain an insight into Pegg’s early sexual experiences despite his insistence that this isn’t that kind of book! Pegg’s love of drama came from his mother who was in a theatre group while his father was in a band, but their son would one day go even further with his talent, surviving many schools, failed exams but discovering his true calling with acting.
The geek in Pegg is most evident with the chapters he devotes entirely to Star Wars and, believe me, our humble comedian has a lot to say. I smiled at his fond memories of seeing the first trilogy and grimaced at his pained account of getting a plane to New York, struggling to find a theatre, and sitting subdued as The Phantom Menace destroyed his belief in this saga he had loved for so many years. Pegg would translate this despair into the series Spaced but there are some fascinating accounts following this including a meeting with George Lucas and Pegg queuing up to meet Carrie Fisher at a convention despite promoting work of his own! A star in his own right being starstruck by Princess Leia was brilliant!
Nerd Do Well frequently had me in hysterics. The short story involving the undoubtedly handsome superhero Simon Pegg is the funniest bit of the book. The only downside is that Pegg is so humble he merely glosses over his career and doesn’t offer much detail. The book is primarily about everything that led to him being the star he is today. The good thing is Pegg’s early life, full of joy, woe, friendship and difficult relationships is never dull but it would have been great to hear more about the work he has honoured so many fans with, especially Spaced.
Nerd Do Well is a good account of how a Gloucestershire boy who was an undoubted geek found a haven in comedy and became a big star in the process. While Pegg’s lack of arrogance may hinder some parts of the book this is still an enthralling autobiography from one of the UK’s greatest exports.
(Book source: reviewer’s own purchase)
Latest posts by Dave Brown (see all)
- Guest Post: 5 Great TV Series to Binge Watch this Summer - July 13, 2016
- The Bleaklisted Movies: V for Vendetta - December 1, 2015
- DigiWriMo (Day 30): DIGIWRIMO #digiwrimo - November 30, 2015