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Robert Webb: How Not to Be a Boy
In Australia, Robert Webb is probably best known as the iconic petulant manchild Jeremy in Peep Show, the award-winning sitcom in which he co-stars with longtime Mitchell & Webb collaborator David Mitchell. But in the background (okay, maybe a little in the foreground) of his long and successful career in comedy, TV, theatre and radio, Webb has been grappling with the meaning of modern manhood. It’s this self-examination that forms the backbone of his recent book, How Not to Be a Boy.
Part memoir and part clarion call, How Not to Be a Boy sees Webb reflecting on his life and early career – from shy, empathetic boy to philandering, arrogant young man, and into fatherhood – as he learns and unlearns the so-called rules of manhood.
With host Clementine Ford, Robert Webb visits Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre to discuss his search for answers – and how the questions of masculinity revealed themselves through his encounters with grief and expectation; with women and men.
Robert Webb has been a male for his whole life. As such, he has been a boy in a world of fighting, pointless posturing, and the insistence that he stop crying. As an adult man, he has enjoyed better luck, both in his work as the Webb half of Mitchell & Webb in the Sony award-winning That Mitchell & Webb Sound and the BAFTA award-winning That Mitchell & Webb Look, and as permanent man-boy Jeremy in the acclaimed Peep Show.
Clementine Ford is a Melbourne-based writer, speaker and feminist thinker. She is a columnist for Fairfax’s Daily Life and is a regular contributor to the Age and Sydney Morning Herald. Through her twice-weekly columns for Daily Life, Clementine explores issues of gender inequality and pop culture. Fight Like a Girl is her first book.