on August 30, 2001
On the whole, I enjoyed the book, however, it is really two separate books -- the first is what we have come to expect from stand-up authors (one-liners and funny stories) while the second is a rather odd collection of short stories. It is the first book that is worth reading. Carey offers many funny observations and stories about his life that gave me many laughs and a breezy read. Unfortunately, he didn't continue in this manner. Carey apparently feels the need to show us that he is a "real" writer with his short stories.
These short stories, for the most part, never should have seen the light of day. Most of them read like a high school journal kept by a stereotypical drama student. Some of them are nearly unreadable. I figure he must have demanded total creative control over this section when he agreed to write the book, because any editor worth his/her salt would have demanded rewrites on virtually this entire section.
My recommendation: Read the first half and skip the short stories.
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.
on August 2, 2000
"Guilty Pleasures" are the things human beings do in the private moments when they think themselves in a witness-free universe. The Foreign Film Lover who watches Pauly Shore driven dreck, the Vegetarian guiltily gobbling their McDonalds cheeseburger; Guilty Pleasures are the things that make life worth living.
Well, Dirty Jokes and Beer is my Guilty Pleasure. As someone whose tastes run to classic lit, who can debate endlessly the minutiae of Return of the Native et. al, well let's just say I would be no less than a disappointment to my intellectual friends.
But that is the entire point of the book. To be who you are, not worry about what others think. Which is probably why a guy like Drew doesn't give an Armadillos behind about reviews such as this, from fans or critics!
While others have slammed Carey's short stories, I found them to be the most refreshing part of the book. They follow classic short story structure, and the characterizations sprinkled liberally throughout only give them added "punch". Sure, Drew is no wordsmith on par with Fitzgerald or Capote, but he isn't meant to be. He's here to entertain, take it or leave it.
As for the beginning of the book, I found it considerably weaker, but not less entertaining. It's definitely a fun read, filled with humor and frivolity. Carey makes no apologies, nor does he need to. He did a damn fine job!
on September 9, 1999
I just finished reading a translation of the Nina Berberova novel The Book of Happiness (published by New Directions). Normally, of course, I read only socially/morally uplifting and intellectually challenging books, but from time to time Mr. Hyde wants to come out of the closet and flash somebody. Sometimes I can hold off this attack with a bit of froth, like a mystery novel; at other times, only what I call (for want of a better title) Crud Books will do. I just picked up a great one: Drew Carey's Dirty Jokes and Beer: Stories of the Unrefined. Criteria for judging great crud books include vulgarity, filth, and humor almost any adult would be ashamed to admit they like. My favorite chapter includes 101 mostly hilarious jokes about genital elephantisis, to use a euphemism. Carey's prose is good enough. He also prefaces almost every chapter with a very funny dirty joke.
After a good amount of this kind of carrying-on, however, comes a very strange part indeed: the stories of the unrefined. It seems Carey wanted to write a book of short stories. The consensus from his friends and business associates who read these stories, however, was "dark," and Carey can't sell dark, only funny. So they get slipped in after Carey has given the customers what they expect - a real professional. The stories are dark indeed (and also funny), and if they are based, even remotely, on what actually happened to him (they sound like they do), I can understand why he tried to commit suicide twice.
The stories are mostly about down-and-outs and marginal characters in Cleveland (West Side equivalents of R. Crumb and Harvey Pekar), so that part was fairly interesting to me, since I grew up in Cleveland as a somewhat marginal figure. They weren't bad at all, as stories, if not up to Wings of the Dove. But Carey surprised me. They didn't have to be good at all.
Carey writes probably pretty close to the way he talks and he talks about things almost every adult male talks about. He didn't write it for prudes, male or female, liberal or conservative. It's up-front, funny (for those who can see the humor), and take-it-or-leave-it.
on December 4, 2000
Dirty Jokes & Beer is the first book by Drew Carey, star of his own self-titled TV show. What makes the show so funny is Mr. Carey's ability to poke fun at himself and the humorous look at every day life. This book is written in the same style except it doesn't suffer from the restrictions of network TV. If you are scared off by vulgar language and sexual situations, then this book isn't for you. Mr. Carey goes into tales of his life with a self-deprecating style and keen eye. His account of his trip to Mardi Gras is hysterical and his chapter on the ability, due to his TV success, to buy a house and accoutrements is priceless. The three short stories that make up the end of the book are extremely funny as well. One minor setback is the chapter of big dick jokes. A few of them are very funny, but he drags it out for too long and they get a little tedious. Overall, this is an extremely enjoyable read and just like his show, laugh out loud funny.
on June 13, 2000
Ok the reason I gave this book a rate of 2 1/2 is because a little bitmore than half of Drew Carey's book was so heartfelt and so funny.Hestated his thoughts on life,his family stories,his big screen t.v. and that made a great first half.He had some of the funniest jokes i have ever heard,his 101 jokes,I will not say the name of them because there may be some children looking at this review.I can say,being that I am a male and live by Ohio I can relate to some of his experiences. But,when we get into his short stories I nearly gave up on him.I was hoping for the book to end so I could start to read a quality book.When the last page came upon,I was glad and hardly read it.
If you are sure you need to read this book,check it out from the local library or borrow it from a friend.Do not waste your money.
Yes I am a teen male,I enjoy reading "dirty jokes" and things but what Carey is writing about is rape and bull.
on September 19, 2001
This book is an interesting humor book. Part joke book, part biography, part short storeis. It's three short books combined into one. The first part is by the most hilarious. Just pure, uncensored hilarity. I got a great kick about how he made 101 jokes about how big one certain body part was.
The second part is not the best part, but it sheds some light on who Drew Carey is, and what the show is all about. It's not the highlight of the book, but even Drew Carey grudgingly admits he didn't want to put it in but felt obliged to.
The third part is suprisingly good. He writes about 4 short stories that, though not humorous, are interesting. It's classic blue collar literature. "Tackling Jim Brown" should by all means be considered a classic.
Check out the book, and you can show why Drew Carey has a highly rated show and is a great stand up comic.
on May 6, 2001
I admire Drew's truthfulness, even though it does offend people. I got this book because I wanted to learn more about Drew and his feelings on many things like showbiz, tabloids, and other things stars deal with. However, he also suprised me by writing about "average guy" things like beer,gambling, big screen T.V.'s, Mardi Gras, and strip clubs. I am glad Drew didn't get too caught up in stardom and forget his average guy traits, and this book proves he didn't. If you are unsure if this book will offend you, read some of the short stories. Those would probably be the worst part of the book, vulgarity wise. I don't feel offended by them, because I know these things happen to people. I certainly don't think of Drew as a sleaze or something because he made up stories like these, I believe he just wanted to show people that stars do have problems.
on December 26, 2009
This 'book' is downright awful. I read the book looking to learn about Drew's experience over the years - instead you get his non-stop whining about everything in life. He keeps talking about how he passed over using a ghostwriter - and it shows. The quality of writing is crummy. The book bounces around with no direction whatsoever. Even the revelation of him having gone through sexual abuse as a child is treated like an unnecessary diversions from the plethora of boring cliched and tired comedic bits strewn around the book. The only saving grace were the jokes at the beginning of each chapter - and Drew had nothing to do with those.
If you want to read a book that was written by someone going through adolescence, this would be it. Otherwise, there are far better books by other comedians (George Carlin, Gene Wilder, etc)
on July 15, 2001
For and inexpierienced book writer who was kicked out of college twice, this book is an unparalleled acheivement. Drew Carey has written one of the most funniest and wittiest books ever. The only way I can tell you how funny and smart this book is is to tell you to go and read it yourself. Drew notices the things in life that many other people have never noticed and if other people have noticed them then they never told anyone about it. Drew tells us stories from working on the Drew Carey Show and Stories about growing-up. Then he writes fictional stories that are so well written that they could be taken as non-fictional stories. So you must stop reading this and get the book and start reading it. It is an adventure through the life of a man who has seen it all.