Jon Richardson. You know him as a standup comedian who jokes about being a little bit OCD. You know him as team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats, opposite Sean Lock. You know him as author of It’s Not Me, It’s You!, a book all about how he’s going to end up alone. You’ve seen him in the news this year, announcing his engagement to fellow comedian Lucy Beaumont.
Yes, you heard right. The man who, in his book, claims “Company pollutes the mind,” has been with his girlfriend for a year and a half and is now ready to tie the not. But how did he go from writing a book about how he’s impossible to date to being ready for commitment?
Jon Richardson Grows Up (2014) is a three-part TV documentary chronicling Jon’s investigation of happy adults in a quest to find the lifestyle that will suit him (and hopefully Lucy, too). In a contrived and corny scenario, Jon goes on a month-long road trip with his former housemate and fellow comedian Matt Forde, who you’ll recognize from the Funny Magnet DVD commentary. They hop into an ugly camper van Jon refers to as a fluorescent orange biscuit tin and hit the road in search of happy, functional adults. Their interviews and in-between chat is interspliced with clips of Jon performing standup on related topics.
Part 1: Relationships
“I can’t picture marriage without picturing divorce.”
Jon’s motto is not “We have one life, live it.” His motto is “We have one life, try to limit the misery.” He is initially more attracted to the lifestyle of the married couple who live in separate houses than in the wedding he attends of a couple who’ve had five previous marriages between them. He currently cuts off Lucy whenever she mentions marriage. Appalled, Matt tries to show him how lovely marriage can be.
But if you’re not into all that sappy stuff, you’ll enjoy seeing Jon get awkward at a swingers party and fall repeatedly off a surf board. The highlight of the episode has got to be Matt imagining what Jon would be like during sex, an impression complete with Jon’s voice and catch phrases.
Part 2: Money
From a lottery winner who has a full-size Dalek and TARDIS to a community of squatters who grow their own potatoes, Jon and Matt visit the happy rich people and the happy poor people in effort to find out which is better. The lottery winner doesn’t seem perfectly happy because he’s lost all his friends. However, a piano tuner who is purposely homeless seems content. And yet, the self-made millionaire who gave away his fortune to help treat cancer and has no regrets doesn’t seem as happy as he should be. Jon says, “I want him to be the happiest person in the world, and I don’t think he is.”
The sweetest moment in this part, in fact in the whole show, is when they visit Jon’s mother. Finally, his career has given him enough money that he can pay off the mortgage to his mother’s house. Matt tells her how that’s always been Jon’s drive in his career and now that he’s done it, he’s happy.
Part 3: Children
In the final installment, Jon comes face to face with “the true knackering reality of being a parent.” Matt and Jon are blessed with a realistic robot baby that keeps them up all night, and they visit a gym of loud screamy children trying to play ball. Jon’s not sure he wants to have children and whether he would be a good parent, with any flaws he has. In A Little Bit OCD, his mother blamed Jon’s compulsions on herself, and there’s no doubt Jon worries about the same things rubbing off on his children. There’s also a little matter of money. After visiting a DINK (double income no kids) couple, they calculate that the average couple spends 227,000 pounds on a child–That’s equivalent to the cost of a Ferrari.
In the end, though, Jon bonds with a seven-year-old named Felix, offering him solid evidence that he is capable of being good with kids and even being a good dad. The show ends with a sweet but bloody C-section of a woman who’s been obsessed with becoming a parent since she was a little kid. Since we know that Lucy wants to have kids, we now see a hint in Jon’s demeanor that he’s willing to give up the Ferrari lifestyle dream.