I don’t think most people realize it today but Bob Newhart is pretty damn brilliant. He’s got a comedic wit which is amazingly unique. Most people couldn’t pull it off and I don’t think anyone would be dumb enough to attempt to imitate because it just can’t be done. When I came across his book I was pretty excited to read it though I don’t know if it quite lived up to my expectations. The book is around two hundred and fifty pages but it felt incredibly short. Now I guess that’s a complement to Bob but besides the fact that a lot of this stuff is great I feel that a good part of that is because he just skims across a lot of things. The book pretty much covers most parts of his career. Before he got into standup, getting into it, making it big and going through his tours various shows and movies. The problem with this is that Bob Newhart has had such an extensive career that a good chunk of this stuff is just touched on. I know that if he actually when in depth with a lot of this stuff the book would balloon to double or triple the size but I think I’d be pretty satisfied with that. Even still comedy and Bob Newhart fans should enjoy this book; as much as I was left wanting more of it I did enjoy the read.
In 2004 Jay Mohr wrote his first book, it was on what seems to be one of his favorite subjects, Saturday Night Live. Or more specifically the two years he was working on Saturday Night Live. Personally I’ve always liked Jay Mohr, I guess that would be obvious since I read (or more specifically listened to) his book. I had the audio book version, it was pretty short, it only took an hour or two to get through, from my looking on Amazon it seems the actual book version is around three hundred pages, so I guess that makes Jay a quick reader. It’s a pretty insightful and entertaining book; it goes from right before he started in SNL, to working on the show and finally getting out of it. As much as I like SNL and I’m pretty sure Jay Mohr does too, it does seem like a fucking awful place to work. There appears to be a lot of politics and corporate bullshit that comes with the job, but still, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to work on Saturday Night Live, even if it has become a shell of its former self. My only real problem with the book isn’t actually a problem more of an observation I guess is I felt like I’d already heard/read this book. As a fan of Jay Mohr I listen to his podcast Mohr Stories and it seems like he’s told every story in the book on the show, not that I can blame him, the book is eight years old now and they’re good stories. So anyone who wants some insight into the world of Saturday Night Live, or is simply a fan of Jay Mohr or comedy in general will probably enjoy this one. But be warned, if you listen to his podcast on the regular, chances are you’ll hear a lot of repeat information.
Tina Fey is a comedic genius. There’s no way around it she just is. She’s a great comedy writer and I love to see her in front of the camera too. As soon as I heard she was writing a book I knew I’d be reading it. The book is pretty great, recently I’ve been reading a fair amount of comedian’s books and this is definitely the best of the bunch that I’ve read this year. It’s a great biography that dips into a lot of back end of the comedy writer’s life. I tore through this book pretty quickly. It covers her getting into comedy, her time on Saturday Night Live and on 30 Rock and everything in-between. This is a clear must read for any Tina Fey fan.
In 2009 David Cross wrote a book, it’s not a memoir or biography, though I wouldn’t say it’s a book just filled with bits either. It’s kind of a pseudo biography mixed with his thoughts on things and some things that he’s written in the past for various magazines. The problem most books written like this have is they tend to be random and don’t flow together very well, fortunately ‘I Drink for a Reason’ does not have this problem, the book is a great read (or listen) everything goes together well it doesn’t just seem like random ideas thrown together. There’s an audio book version, it’s got some guest appearances by H. Jon Benjamin and Kristen Schaal and the bands Les Savy Fav and Yo La Tengo. The spot with H. Jon Benjamin is particularly great. The book overall though isn’t super great. It’s good some good bits in it but there are some that are just alright. Though it does contain his open letter to Larry the Cable Guy which I’ve always found great, so it’s worth it just for that. People who are David Cross fans will probably dig this a lot, though if you’re not familiar with David already this might not be a great starting point.
Personally I’m a fan of Sarah Silverman so I was pretty excited to read this book, and I came in a little unprepared. The first part of the book is pretty fucking depressing, though it is leading up to her long bout with depression so I guess that makes sense but I didn’t really see that coming. But it’s not all downers there’s a lot of great things in this book, in fact most of it is pretty great. It covers her stand up, shows, movies, controversy she gets involved with. You get a pretty good idea of what it must feel like to hang out with Sarah for a bit. The book also has some hate mail that she’s gotten over the years, I’m glad she included this because some of the stupid ignorant shit that people have said to her over the years is so mind boggling that you can’t do anything but laugh at it. It clocks in at around two hundred and fifty pages so it’s a pretty decent read, while the book might not be for everyone it’s a must for Sarah Silverman fans and I think most fans of stand-up comedy will find a lot of this pretty interesting.