Comedy writer’s book hits top spot in Amazon chart

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A comedy writer from Boston is celebrating the success of his new book – which hit the number one bestseller slot in Amazon’s humour chart.

Richard O. Smith’s book also hit the top five overall bestsellers chart leading Amazon to switch their order from 200 copies a day to 2,000. This left the publisher out of stock and having to quickly order more.

Called As Thick as Thieves: Foolish Felons and Loopy Laws – it is a compilation of more than 350 true stories of ‘idiot’ criminals.

Speaking about the number one humour chart position, Richard joked: “Take that, Miranda Hart, Karl Pilkington, Bill Bryson and David Jason - or, as I now call them, ‘numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5’!

“Hugh Dennis inspired me to write my book about stupid criminals. We worked on a Radio 2 show where he’d do material about true dumb criminal stories and they always went down well with the studio audience. Hence I started collecting them from local newspapers. My book is culmination of several years of work.”

Richard is an ex pupil of Boston Grammar School – a time which he jokes was spent ‘failing exams’ - and he still regularly visits his home town.

“My parents still live in Boston, and I am a frequent visitor to the town and massive Pilgrims fan,” he said. “I used to edit the BUFC fanzine.

“But my professional writing career started in Boston in the 1980s when I wrote obituaries for The Standard. I must have written about 500 obituaries, but did any of the subjects ever thank me for writing about them? No!”

Now a full-time comedy writer, the 49-year-old broke into the industry by submitting gags to well-known comedians to use for stand-up and panel show appearances.

“After serving my ‘comedy internship’ with Lucy Porter, Andy Hamilton and others, I graduated to Radio 4’s The Now Show by having a lengthy sketch aired starring Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt. From this, they invited me to be a regular contributor to the show. I’ve now done five series and several episodes of The News Quiz.”

This year Richard will see his work hit the silver screen when the film Foosball, starring Rupert Grint, hits cinemas - as he wrote the UK version of it.

The tales include:

l The man who handed himself in to the police in an attempt to claim reward money for his arrest.

l The bag snatcher who grabbed an old lady’s dog poo bag.

l The burglar who checked his Facebook account at the house he robbed but left himself logged in when he departed (the police soon updated his status to ‘nicked’)

l The burglars who left behind their four-year-old son and full ID.