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2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
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on June 11, 2004
I felt this book. Not just felt it, like holding it, I mean you have to hold a book to read it, but what I mean is I loved this book. It helped me get in touch with my inner comedian, the guy inside of me who wants to host a radio talk show and make $10,000,000 starring in a motion picture. Every chapter is hysterically funny. Well, not every chapter. The one by Ben Stiller having a guardian angel who looked like Hoss Cartwright is kind of like a bad sketch comedy bit that goes no where, but everything else in the book is right on and cool, to quote hip seventies language.
I guess it is kind of wierd to be praising a book five years after it came out and everybody else reviewed it five years ago. Okay, so I'm a little behind, but so what? Maybe this book was ahead of its time, maybe its time is now. Maybe Ben Stiller and Janeane Garafolo, Garofolo, Garofalo's time is now. They seem to be doing pretty well, Janeane is doing that terrific radio talk show and Ben is making a movie every other month, and I see all of them. Well, I didn't see the recent one with Jack Black, but that was in and out of the theater in like two days, but I did see "Meet the Parents" twice in the movies and twice on TV, and I'm waiting for the sequel which I have heard Barbara Streisand is going to be in.
Anyways this book has really helped me. It hasn't helped me to sell any of my thirteen screenplays which nobody has bought, but it has helped me to see being pathetic as a source of humor. That's good and amazing. Well, maybe not amazing, but interesting. And believe it or not I finished it in one afternoon, and I never did finish that book by Ellen Degeneris. Maybe, I'll finish that book today and write a review of it.
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on June 3, 1999
I liked the book, but did it have to contain so many references to "brilliant, much too overlooked" comedian David Cross? To wit:
1) Chapter 4 is entitled "Why David Cross makes us laugh-fall-down!"
2) Chapter 7 is entitled "See Chapter 4."
2) The "Acknowledgments" page acknowledges only David Cross... 146 times.
3) The "audiotape version" of this book is actually a bootleg version of David Cross' 1966 farewell concert at Bill Graham's Laffapalooza.
4) Charles Joffe's "David Cross is the only worthy successor to Swift..." encomium appears as a three-dimensional pop-up centerpiece.
5) Michael Fuchs's notorious "Is this guy too angry to be on at 4 A.M. every other Wednesday?" memo is reprinted in its entirety.
6) Several oblique references to "the late Bob Odenkirk" sprinkled throughout "wacky index."
7) If you ruffle the top corner pages with your thumb, you can see a cartoon of an extremely bitter man doing underappreciated comedy.
8) David's guest appearances on "Veronica's Closet" and "Suddenly Susan" are cited as sterling examples of his lifelong strive for comedic excellence.
What gives?
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on August 18, 1999
When I fisrt opened this book, I was expecting Stiller to be funny and Garofalo to be witty. I did not think for one second the book would be taken "seriously" by either. However, I was shocked by the material I was presented. Some was really great, some was extrememly poor. To my suprise it was Stiller who provided me with thought-provoking insight and offered a very well expressed vision of self-empowerment and affirmation, i.e. the "Faster-Mations." Garofalo on the other hand was one of those pseudo-cynics/pseudo-intellectuals that one just cannot stand. She had some great ideas, but she went no where with them. Her extensive vocabulary is impresive, but well over-used. If I wasn't an English major, I wouldn't have understood what she was saying half the time; not to mention her views on relationships and spirituality are just irrational and boring. I am not very religious, but I am very spiritual and I assume she is the same way. There are limits to what offends the masses and what opens their eyes. I guess I just have a hard time believing she is as smart as she thinks she is. All in all, a pretty good read thanks to a stellar performance by Stiller. Rest assured this book will make you think!!!
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on October 19, 1999
Janeane is queen and Stiller is, well, I can't think of anything to rhyme with Stiller. But he's great, too. I have been a fan of JG's since I was a cynical, jaded adolescent and she captured my thoughts about society so well. JG is a talent that has yet to be fully recognized by the media, but I'm afraid her work, especially THIS book, is just too "right on the money" and thought-provoking for the American media to really understand its depth and importance. Stiller is, of course, another master of comedy and parody. I always enjoy his humor, although at times I feel guilty laughing at things I shouldn't really think are funny.... All in all, JG and Stiller struck a chord in me with this book and really went to town. It's a brilliant work of writing and anyone who doesn't "get" Garofalo's paradoxical and satirical quips and rants.....well, I just feel sorry for them.
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on July 16, 2000
I could handle Janeane Garofalo's essay's (mildly) but, Ben Stiller was just down right awful. I must say, I was very sadden by this poor attempt at humor from two of the funniest people out there. I'm a huge fan of JG's but, this was just a weak try at being funny. You could almost hear them trying so hard to be smart, full of humor, and a bit on the cutting edge. They really missed the mark. I can't even imagine getting threw a chapter of the print book, at least I had the audio that had mild entertainment value. JG's reading was a step above Ben's but, that wasn't enough to make this book could. Her over abundant use of her (obviously plentiful) vocabulary just got on my nerves. I was really disappointed in this lack luster tale. I was all set to love it and have a wonderful time. Too bad it was such a let down. Don't waste your time....I'm sad I did.
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on October 8, 1999
I bought this book because I read an interview with Janeane in the Evening Standard (London) in which she talked about the experience of writing this book with Ben. So, without a second thought I logged onto amazon and three weeks later (I live in England) the book was here.
It's a very quick read - large print and a small package - but page after page is pure humour! I've never laughed so much from reading a book in my life! I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing out loud on the train (which over here is a serious offence!). The bit about Ben and his journey to "find himself" had me in stitches!
I don't know about it being a self-help book - I bought it cause I wanted to laugh - but I guess it does help you in a way, because if nothing else you laugh your tush-y off (and trust me, if you saw the size of mine - it's not a bad thing!)
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on May 20, 1999
Like another critic, I also have a huge crush on Ben Stiller. As for Janeane, I like her stand-up and movies, but I'm definitely not crazy about them. This book reflected my feeling for both. Ben's sections were hilarious and had me cracking up right in the middle of the bookstore. The book is worth buying just for his sections. Although I'm glad Janeane knows how to use a thesaurus, her need to fill her pages with fancy words got in the way of the humor, most of it being excessively self-loathing and cynical (which isn't bad in her stand-up, but gets to be boring in the book.) She tries cramming too much information in one chapter, leaving me confused and wondering "what the hell is this chapter supposed to be about?" My favorite chapters are: Preface, History, Herstory,How to Build a Relationship on Next to Nothing, Road Diary, and Selfhood.
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on February 19, 2000
It appears that after receiving a tonne of money, these 2 have dredged out hap-hazard content for each chapter.
No back-bone
Could it be that they can act (I believe so), ie translate others written words into action - but they can't actually do the writing.
I believe that JG was proving to the world that she could use many brain twisting phrases (I got lost in most chapter - lost the point), and BS tried to keep up with her.
She's definitely the stronger of the 2 - the winner if there was a competition.
A lot of unresolved psyche problems for her. He needs to accept that he's just an ordinary Joe with a job that makes him famous - he's not brilliant/intelligent, but he sure is funny.
Sorry - I was really disappointed - hope you guys do it seperately next time - Keep your day jobs - I applaud you at it!
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on May 15, 1999
After reading this entire book in one sitting...I wished it would continue. Garofalo and stiller's much loathed "He Said, She Said" section was hilarious as from Stiller's point of view I expected Garofalo's response to be longer and angrier...but it wasn't. Having found reading the book (my normal way of consumption) to be less than satisfying, I realized it was only lacking by not being heard in their voices. I suggest buying both the book (in hardcover if you still can) AS WELL AS in audio tape form...not renting it, but buying it. You need to hear it in your own inner mind voice, but also in Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo's voices. I just ordered my audiotape. I think the two of them could be as good a comedy team as...well. Stiller and Meara!
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on November 16, 1999
This book caused me to lose all respect for Garofalo and Stiller. No effort was put into the book and it shows. Just a waste of printing time. The concept is good, but they have so much more talent than is evident here. It's not funny, it's not close to funny, it's bitter. This is obviously a money maker for the writers, but written by ghost people with the comedian's input. Terrible, terrible, terrible.
So you know, I give a comedy book credit where it is due. Funny books of this genre are Steve Martin's Pure Drivel, Chris Rock's book (Toss the Salad?), even the Wayan's Bootleg book had some laughs.
Feel this Book is a waste; totally unreadable. I am being generous giving it 1 star (Amazon doesn't give you a 0 star option!)
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