Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Laughing at Life -- Fall Comedy Memoirs
If you take a look at the line up of books being released in the coming months, it seems like this fall, everyone is going to be laughing at life. Or at a few specific ones anyway. Comedy is cool these days, and the last few years have seen a number of high profile biographies and memoirs from comedians (including Steve Martin, Billy Crystal and Tina Fey). No surprise that publishers are looking for another to follow in the footsteps -- maybe it will be one of these.
Lady Parts by Andrea Martin (September 2). When I started reading to find our more about SCTV alum Martin's memoir, the very first thing I learned was that I was wrong in having thought she is Canadian. Although strongly linked with the Canadian comedy scene, Martin was in fact born in Portland, Maine. "Whether lighting up the small screen, stealing scenes on the big screen or starring on the stage, Andrea Martin has long entertained Canadians with her hilarious characterizations and heart-warming performances. Now, for the first time, she shares her fondest remembrances of a life in show business, motherhood, relationships, no relationships, family, chimps in tutus, squirrels, and why she flies to Atlanta to get her hair cut. LADY PARTS will make you giggle and may make you cry - a powerful collection of stories by a woman with a truly storied life."
Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy by Rainn Wilson (September 15): Fans of the NBC sitcom The Office know Wilson as the co-worker you never want to have Dwight Schrute. In his new memoir Wilson looks back on his awkward teen years, his success in comedy and "his achievement of success and satisfaction, both in his career and spiritually, after re-connecting with the artistic and creative values of the faith he grew up in." In addition to his comic performances, Wilson has become interested in philosophical questions and runs a website called SoulPancake and a related book called SoulPancake: Chew on Life's Big Questions. I guess I've learned something about Rainn Wilson already, and I haven't even gotten to the memoir!
Let's Start a Riot: How A Young Drunk Punk became A Hollywood Dad by Bruce McCulloch (October 14). I'm exactly the age to be someone who waxes fondly about the Kids in the Hall, having watched the series obsessively when I was an impressionable teen. This is, to the best of my knowledge the first memoir to come from one of the troupe members and this one chronicles McCulloch's "journey from wild early days as a "young punk" in 1980s Alberta, to his flannel plaid days and futon nights in 1990s Toronto, to becoming a "pajama-clad dad" living in the Hollywood Hills. Taking us from scowling teenager to father of two, this biting, funny collection of personal stories, peppered with moments of surprising poignancy, proves that although this infamous Kid may be all grown up, his singular brand of humour and signature wit remain firmly intact."
Yes Please by Amy Poelher (October 28). Yes, please is basically what I said when I heard there was an Amy Poelher memoir coming out, and it's one I'm expecting we'll be seeing a lot of popular demand for. Amy Poelher is a comedy favourite these days and this book promises to be an uproarious look at the author's life and experiences. From the Back Cover: "In a perfect world . . .We'd get to hang out with Amy Poehler, watching dumb movies, listening to music, and swapping tales about our coworkers and difficult childhoods. Because in a perfect world, we'd all be friends with Amy—someone who seems so fun, is full of interesting stories, tells great jokes, and offers plenty of advice and wisdom (the useful kind, not the annoying kind you didn't ask for, anyway). Unfortunately, between her Golden Globe-winning role on Parks and Recreation, work as a producer and director, place as one of the most beloved SNL alumni and cofounder of the Upright Citizens' Brigade, involvement with the website Smart Girls at the Party, frequent turns as acting double for Meryl Streep, and her other gig as the mom of two young sons, she's not available for movie night."
I Must Say: My Life as Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short (November 4) "Martin Short takes you on a rich, hilarious, and occasionally heartbreaking ride through his life and times, from his early years in Toronto as a member of the fabled improvisational troupe Second City to the all-American comic big time of Saturday Night Live and memorable roles in movies such as ¡Three Amigos! and Father of the Bride...But there is another side to Short’s life that he has long kept private. He lost his eldest brother and both of his parents by the time he turned twenty, and, more recently, he lost his wife of thirty years to cancer. In I Must Say, Short talks for the first time about the pain that these losses inflicted and the upbeat life philosophy that has kept him resilient and carried him through."
So Anyway by John Cleese (November 4). John Cleese came through Halifax just over a year ago on his "Last Chance to See Me Before I Die" tour, if you missed him then, this might be a good consolation prize. "The autobiography of John Cleese, legendary co-founder of the Monty Python comedy troupe and creator of the award-winning British sitcom FAWLTY TOWERS. John Cleese ranks among the most popular and influential comic geniuses of our time. His work has had - and continues to have - an enormous impact on the world of entertainment. To the legions of Python fans and comedy aficionados worldwide, Cleese's work with the Pythons has become the stuff of legend."