Reading the Funny People


I find myself reading (and re-reading) a lot of funny-people autobiographies. Something about hearing other people tell their stories is always inspiring to me, someone who dabbles in storytelling myself.

Amy Poehler's book had a slightly more serious tone, I thought. She's a really smart lady. Most comedians I like tend to have very nerdy, intelligent backgrounds. You have to be, in improv. Part of me kept wishing she would spill the dirt on her divorce to Will Arnett (aka The Day Love Died) but a bigger part of me was glad she didn't. There was a lovely chapter on her two kids, however. She gave quite a bit of valuable advice in her book. My biggest take-away was her motto: "good for you, not for me". If someone does things differently than you do, has a different parenting philosophy, birthing plan, whatever, the correct response should always be "Good for you! Not for me." So true. And helpful!

I have no schema for Dr. Doogie. Everything I know about NPH comes from watching HIMYM and the awards shows he has hosted since. That being said, I love NPH! And the format for his autobiography meant I was going to read it, even if I didn't like him. How clever! I totally cheated - I read straight through the book, disregarding every "If you want to become a Broadway star turn to page 146, if you want to get into a fistfight on Sunset Boulevard turn to page 93" crossroads. I was too worried about missing a page to skip around! This book was fun, informative, and comes with bonus magic tricks! For real, the back cover, instead of being a blurb previewing the contents of the book, is instead a magic trick of the "pick a card, any card" variety. The correct answer (that crazy Neil, gets it right every time!) is in the inside jacket flap.

Reading these two books made me want to go back and reread one from a couple years ago. Mindy Kaling's voice in this book is spot on. If you watched The Office or The Mindy Project, you'll be able to hear her narrating this book in your head as you read. Mindy's is probably my favorite of all the books on this page, simply because she is the most likeable and relatable of the bunch. I'm sure everyone who has starting reading has imagined bumping into Mindy at a nail salon or Great American Cookie mall stand and becoming instant friends. Her book is broken into bite sized bits ranging from how she got started in Hollywood to why she doesn't eat cupcakes anymore (an actual chapter), several sweet paragraphs about how much she loves her parents and wants to get married someday, and even "Why Do Men Put on Their Shoes So Slowly?" Yes, Mindy, why is that? If I was going to write an autobiography (assuming anyone would be interested in ever reading it), this is the tone I would go for.

And of course, having read the above, I had to go back and pick up Tina Fey's book again. Her cover confuses me the most. But like the others, another well written book from a very smart person. Like Mindy's book, there are several random chapters and lists, and she touches on all the topics you would expect from a Hollywood star: being too thin, being too fat, how she was the victim of a random knife attack in grade school... okay, that last one isn't one you'd find in everyone's autobiography. However, excellent all around. Like Poehler's, it delves a bit more into the idea of "comedy" and specifically being a woman in comedy. There is good SNL gossip and shout-outs to other famous names you'll recognize. It's been fun rereading it, especially on the heels of all the others.

So that's what I'm reading these days. Apparently I needed a little funny to kick off this year. But hey, it's working! These first seven days of 2015 have been great! Now, anyone have any recommendations to get me through the remaining 358?

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