Beyond the Joke reviews The Problem With Men

Richard Herring is on a roll at the moment, having just filmed a part in a new indie movie and - spoiler alert – won the latest series of Taskmaster. But before these momentous landmarks he also published this book, which, like his previous book, Emergency Questions, is small and neat and full of giggles. This one also has a more serious subtext though and is not just about ridiculous questions such as â€œIf you had to invent a fifth season, which two other seasons would you put it between, and what would happen during it?”

The book came out of Herring's annual gargantuan task of spending March 8, International Women's Day, responding to troll-shaped gammons of all ages who ask on Twitter, "when is international men's day?" For a decade Herring has obsessively replied to everyone - many pithy replies reprinted here – by explaining repeatedly that there is indeed an international men's day already, it is on November 19. And he raises money for charity in the process.

This stocking-sized volume moves on from mere comic repetition – although there is plenty of that too – and among other things wonders about the mindset of the kind of people that think that they are the first person ever to come up with this inane, unoriginal joke. 

At one point Herring even considers if this was an early foreshadowing of what has happened more recently with certain people reponding to the Black Lives Matters campaign by saying "White Lives Matter" or "All Lives Matter?" Did Herring pick up on an early sign of the global mass madness that has ensued recently? 

The Problem with Men: When is it International Men’s Day? (and why it matters) is one of those deceptively smart books that makes a serious point by taking the piss. One can imagine academics spending years to come to pretty much the same conclusion without being anywhere near as funny.