Anne Hirsch

THE READER: Anne Hirsch

The Cape Town-based comedian discusses Catcher in the Rye and other books she might have read


Born (so she claims) in Bloemfontein, Anne Hirsch is a Cape Town-based comedian, and the mastermind behind The Anne Hirsch Show (soon to commence its third season on YouTube) and three one-woman shows. Instead of going to med school, she studied acting for six years: this included a Master’s at UCT focusing on comedy (you can study that?!). Glamour named her 2013 Woman of the Year in the “Next Big Thing” category. As if she wasn’t a Big Thing already, pffft. Hirsch also hosts the marvellously irreverent, Cape Town in-joke strewn FOBLO Bulletin. This gal is hashtag awesome … for days! (Else we wouldn’t have invited her to do this Q&A, like, duh!)

What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just read Tina Fey’s Bossypants for the third time. It’s my absolute favourite at the moment. The book is just filled with such rich comedy writing and, of course, life lessons such as: “If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?”

What book has had the greatest impact on you?

The Catcher in the Rye. It was one of the first “proper great” books I ever read and it has a huge impact on me. J. D. Salinger is amazeballs and Holden Caulfield’s character is just so beautifully written. I think every teenager, adult, old person and baby should read it.

What is your favourite novel of all-time?

I would say The Catcher in the Rye again, but for the purposes of variety in this interview I’ll mix it up a bit and say either The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole or Jane Bussmann’s The Worst Date Ever or How it Took a Comedy Writer to expose Africa’s Secret War. Writer Marianne Thamm lent that to me and I still haven’t returned it *evil laugh*.

If you could invite any author onto the Anne Hirsch show, who would you invite, and why?

Probably Stephen King, cause I’d want him to be all scary and creepy … or Vladimir Nabokov who wrote Lolita … that guy must have had issues for days!!!

What were your favourite books as a child?

Short ones. I wasn’t much of a reader as I kid. I was obsessed with TV and would watch anything. I’d wake up early on Saturday mornings and watch Keith Kirsten gardening. I remember my dad had this book on Italian Cooking and I’d play around in the kitchen trying to duplicate recipes, without actually having any of the ingredients … needless to say, I’m a terrible cook.

If you could get anyone to read you a bedtime story, who would it be, and why?

James Earl Jones, of course ….

What’s the last book that made you laugh?

People magazine … it’s my dirty little pleasure … I love the tabloids.

Which book have you never been able to finish?

Pillars of the Earth … pages and pages for days!!!

What book do you turn to for advice?

The Dictionary.

What book would you recommend the President of SA should read?

How To Cheat And Not Get Caught by Elizabeth Sylvince.



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