REVIEW: Jay Mohr: Gasping for Airtime: Two Years in the Trenches of Saturday Night Live

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Jay GaspingIn 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.

Get Gasping for Airtime: Two Years In the Trenches of Saturday Night Live from Amazon HERE

REVIEW: The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History

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John Ortved is the author of this Simpsons ‘book’. I came across it on a pretty good recommendation and being a huge Simpsons fan I couldn’t say no to reading a Simpsons book. There are plenty of things to like and dislike about this one, first thing you’ll probably notice is the weird way the book is written. It closer resembles an assembled collection of quotes and notes than a real book. It takes a little while to get use to and I can see where some people will just not like reading it at all. I would say it seems like the lazy way out if you didn’t take into account the massive amounts of quotes that the book contains. Luckily even as disorganized and thrown together as this book seems it does follow a coherent timeline. Starting from the early days of comic strips and reviews of Groening it goes to the shows early development and branches out in detail into all the different stages of the show, concentrating heavily on the writers room. All of this stuff is pretty good, the Groening stuff and the way the show came about and the writers, I enjoy reading all of that. However my major problem with the book is what it becomes, most of the book is pretty good but the last quarter of the book just becomes a bitch fest attack on the show. It’s kind of like when a good movie has an ending so bad it ruins the entire thing. It’s painfully obvious that the writer is one of the people that hold the opinion that the show now sucks, throwing in shots at every chance he can get. This really makes no sense to me, I’d imagine if you were writing a book about the Simpsons you’d be a huge Simpsons fan, instead we have a guy who it seems is one of the fair-weather turncoats that has become associated with the show disguised as fans. Another thing that really bothers me about this book is the stance on Family Guy. Personally I use to like Family Guy a lot but since the show has come back it’s flat out sucked. This Simpsons book started out pointing out what an ungrateful rip-off Family Guy was but by the end of the book it was sucking Family Guy’s dick. South Park is also referenced a fair amount towards the end, the author doesn’t really seem to know what he’s talking about when he’s referencing that show. He makes it seem like they’ve got some sort of rivalry or hate, but if you’ve ever listened to South Park DVD commentary or read anything the show’s creators say about The Simpsons (oddly enough even in this very book) it’s very apparent they have a lot of love for the Simpsons. This book is about 290 pages; roughly 250 of them are pretty good. If you’re a Simpsons fan you might want to check this out because it does have some good stuff, just be warned you may be sick of it by the end. A casual Simpsons fan may not be as interested because this is mostly a behind the scenes type look at the show.

Get The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History from Amazon HERE

REVIEW: Bruce Campbell: If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor

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Most people know Bruce Campbell from his acting, most specifically the Evil Dead movies. Well Bruce decided he’d had enough life experience under his belt to write an autobiography. And damn if it isn’t a good one. This takes us from Bruce’s childhood making up games with his friends in the neighborhood to making backyard movies to the giant mess it was trying to raise money for, film and sell Evil Dead (a good chunk of the book). From there it goes onto other film projects, Bruce branching out and becoming an actor independent of Sam Raimi and his friends all the way to doing the book tour for this book. It’s also got an excellently hilarious intro by Sam and Ted Raimi. Anyone who’s a Bruce Campbell fan, a fan of movies or just likes reading autobiographies will really enjoy this one.

Get If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor from Amazon HERE

REVIEW: I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action

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Ah Jackie Chan, one of the greatest martial arts actors of all time, but you may wonder how he got to be that way. Well Jackie is here to answer that question with a book written by the stunt hungry always smiling man who seems to be made of rubber. Clocking in a 416 pages it starts you out with Jackie as a kid going to the Peking opera because his family thought this would be the best direction for their son to go. We go through his life at the school, how at times it seemed to be too brutal that anyone would survive but eventually he graduated. We go from there to seeing how Jackie started out in stunts and movies with his brothers Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. You get some great stories about things like how Jackie had to make his own furniture in his apartment because he couldn’t afford to buy any to his brushes with organized crime, and his fight to get films made in both Hong Kong and America. The book ends around the time that “Rush Hour” comes out so it’s somewhat current even at this point. Includes a list of his films, top stunts and injuries. A must read for any Jackie Chan fan, fucking great book.

Get I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action from Amazon HERE

REVIEW: I Am Spock

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spockI never really intended to read this book, I kind of fell into it accidentally but I’m kind of glad I did. I’m a fan of Star Trek, the original series, but I’m nothing close to a fanboy about it. “I am Spock” is what I’m going to call a Star Trek biography by Leonard Nimoy. It talks about how the show started to how it was canned and then the movies. We get information on is friendship with co-stars and some strange stories about some celebrity fans of the show. 356 pages is a lot more than I would think a normal person would be able to fill talking about Star Trek, but Leonard Nimoy is no normal man. I wouldn’t say this book is for everybody, I enjoyed it but it’s obvious the real target audience here is the hard Star Trek fans.

Get I Am Spock from Amazon HERE

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