Top critical review
Carey's honest moments are hilarious
on June 3, 2001
This book is a curious mix of rants, jokes, behind-the-scenes moments from The Drew Carey Show, and short stories. The rants, which, Carey says early on, his editors made him put in, are mostly lame, though the one where he tells the presidents where to go is pretty sharp. He's thrown in 101 "members-only" jokes, which he wrote with the help of the show's writers. Many of these are dumb, but some are pretty good. The short stories are just weird. They're a mix of fact and fiction, it seems. Some of these stories appear to have become episodes of The Drew Carey Show. Carey's reliving the themes from his childhood that make up the series: his disdain for wrongful sexual harassment charges, beer, being overweight, living in Cleveland, hanging out with friends, eating burgers and pizza.
The stuff in the middle of the book is great, especially the show's writers' back-and-forth with the ABC censors. It's a wonderful inside look at how a show is written and is transformed by the writers and the suits in the days before an episode is taped. I didn't buy Dirty Jokes and Beer for this material, but it's the best stuff in the book.
Admidst the humor, you can feel Carey's pain about the loss of his father, his weight, his difficulty in having a normal relationship with a woman, about being molested as a child, enduring substance abuse and depression, and surviving two suicide attempts. He tries to laugh off these moments, though they permeate the book. Carey tries to make us laugh even with baring his soul.
Beyond that, this book is an enjoyable romp through the eyes of Drew Carey, with some classic lines such as "My favorite game to play in Las Vegas is hooker." Carey's story about Mardi Gras is priceless.
My advice: kick back and enjoy the dirty jokes with beer.