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ALC Review: Cunk on Everything: The Encyclopedia Philomena by Diane Morgan

Release date: 1 November 2018 (Original); 26 September 2023 [Grand Central (Hachette) Audio Release]

Rating: 3/5

Narrator: Diane Morgan as Philomena Cunk

Synopsis: From the creator and star of the “deeply funny, unexpectedly informative” (The Daily Beast) Netflix mockumentary Cunk on Earth, a helpful guide covering every single topic in the known universe, from Adam and Eve to Top Gun.

Once in a blue moon, a book comes along that changes the world. The Origin of Species. War and Peace. 1984. And now, Cunk on Everything: The Encyclopedia Philomena, by Philomena Cunk.

Philomena Cunk is one of the greatest thinkers of the 21st century, and in Cunk on Everything she turns her attention to our biggest issue: why are there so many books? Wouldn't it be better if there was just one? This is that book — an encyclopedia of all human knowledge, delving into not only life's greatest mysteries but our most important political figures and cultural touchstones.

Read it, and you'll never have to read another book again.



I downloaded Cunk on Everything expecting something relatively comical; I didn’t think it was very funny at all. Though I’ve seen some short clips of the show on Instagram that made my stomach muscles cramp from laughing so hard, that was not the experience I had listening to this book. CoE is essentially an encyclopedia of rude catharsis on dated topics, most of which are political, and all of which are pretty dated, as the book released originally in 2018, around the time Trump was elected and Brexit went down. As one can imagine, a lot of the sarcasm is directed at these events, and as I’ve already experienced years of listening to criticism in regard to both of those things, listening to this book was a bit like beating a dead, already rotted horse.

I think I would have enjoyed Cunk a bit more if the political and social digs were more even-handed and encompassed all spectrums of politics, but it’s heavy-handed on criticism and negativity toward conservative issues and politics, so I didn’t quite enjoy it as much. A good comedian will make fun of everyone (in my opinion), and that just isn’t what readers are given in this book.

While I enjoy dry humor, I definitely don’t enjoy political commentary at all, regardless of what the affiliation is, so this book was not very enjoyable for me. I realize the synopsis says it delves into political figures, but it really only focused on one: Trump, whom I am very tired of hearing of and from. Though, to be fair, if this would have released over here in the US for me to listen to and review when it actually released, I probably wouldn’t feel that way because the sentiment would be relatively “fresh.”

On a more positive note, I love listening to Morgan’s narration. Dry humor is my favorite, and every time I hear Morgan’s voice, my body poises itself for laughter. The comedic timing and delivery nailed it every time, and when I did find something humorous, it was funnier because of Morgan’s narration.

Overall, 3 stars out of five for the book and 5 stars out of 5 for the narration. I can’t fault the book for old stuff if I didn’t access it when it was released, but I can ding it for not being very “encyclopedic” in its topical scope. The narration was flawless.

My thanks for and Hachette audio for the ALC, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.

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