NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Driving, wild and hilarious” (The Washington Post), here is the incredible “memoir” of the legendary actor, gambler, raconteur, and Saturday Night Live veteran.
When Norm Macdonald, one of the greatest stand-up comics of all time, was approached to write a celebrity memoir, he flatly refused, calling the genre “one step below instruction manuals.” Norm then promptly took a two-year hiatus from stand-up comedy to live on a farm in northern Canada. When he emerged he had under his arm a manuscript, a genre-smashing book about comedy, tragedy, love, loss, war, and redemption. When asked if this was the celebrity memoir, Norm replied, “Call it anything you damn like.”
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
If you’re already a fan of comedian Norm Macdonald’s martini-dry delivery and deadpan weirdness, you probably expect his contribution to the world of celebrity memoirs to be a little different. But pretty much nothing will prepare you for how strange—and how very, very dark—Macdonald’s satire of the genre gets. We’re talking, like, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by way of Charles Bukowski. In Macdonald’s fictionalized telling of his story, he’s a lifelong morphine addict with a dangerous gambling problem who treats even his closest friends as disposable playthings. It’s funny—filled with zingy one-liners and hilariously bizarre scenes—but it’s also edgy and prickly. That gleefully malevolent spirit always lurked in the background of Macdonald’s stand-up, but Based on a True Story is where the late comedian really let his dark sense of humor run wild.
In the spare moments of a Las Vegas gambling adventure replete with murderous loan sharks, drug and alcohol binges, and sexual misadventures comedian and Saturday Night Live alum MacDonald recounts predominantly fictitious tales from his life and career to his companion (and podcast cohost), Adam Eget, who's portrayed as a dunce. Some MacDonald fans will enjoy the comedian's signature mix of dark absurdity and sophomoric antics (many of the gags in the book are recycled from the comedian's prior work), but general readers will find little to appreciate in this uninventive and meandering adventure narrative. Many of the details and sentiments that MacDonald shares about his childhood, his 1990s tenure at SNL as host of the Weekend Update segment, and his current experience as a working comic past his prime are surely true. For the most part, however, MacDonald steers clear of introspection and disclosure, choosing instead to make up stories and tell jokes. MacDonald does deliver some hilarious material for instance, recounting a supposed confidential conversation with Rodney Dangerfield in which the late comedian admitted that despite his wealth and fame, he secretly felt disrespected. On the whole, however, MacDonald's faux memoir is not nearly funny enough to justify the reader's time.
Norm Macfonald was a funny guy.
He shoulda stuck with standup.
Talentless hack who slept his way to the top
Norm is hilarious and this book is awesome. He is an original and should've been given David Letterman's spot, or Jay Leno's spot. He is one of the few comics that actually has an original thought every now and then. Bababooey to you all. Also this book helped me get women, money and fame. I highly recommend it. I had no idea that Norm rubbed one out at the Whitehouse with Bill Cosby back in the 90's. Very enlightening. A+ 5/5 stars.
Good read very funny stuff