- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Viking (Oct. 22 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670066575
- ISBN-13: 978-0670066575
- Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.5 x 21.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 558 g
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #204,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Not Quite the Classics Hardcover – Oct 22 2013
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“Colin Mochrie is devastatingly handsome, perilously smart, and smells like warm maple syrup. Step inside his hilarious and complex mind, and abandon all hope.” - Aisha Tyler
“Colin’s greatest attributes are his unique sense of humor, his kindness to his fellow man, and his uncanny ability to retain everything I’ve taught him the last 30 years.” - Ryan Stiles
“I adore Colin Mochrie. I think he is brilliant, so talented AND a dear sweet man. Also, he’s funny as well and a good kisser!” - Florence Henderson
“Colin Mochrie is a comedic and creative force to be reckoned with. Therefore, this book is a literary force to be reckoned with. If you are too lazy for reckoning, just read this book and everything will work out nicely.” - Brad Sherwood
“I love Colin. I love his voice. I love his lips. I love his eyeballs. His pecs. And the rest of him. I’m going to Paris with him soon.” - Richard Simmons
About the Author
Colin Mochrie was born in Scotland and grew up in Canada. He is best known for his roles on Whose Line Is It Anyway? and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and as host of Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5th Grader? He was influenced by the writings of Charles Dickens, Dr. Seuss, and Stephen King, and fulfilled his lifelong ambition to write a book after his agent forced him into it. Mochrie lives in Toronto with his wife, Debra, his son, Luke, and two dogs that won't come when called.
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A Study in Ha Ha opens the collection with a Sherlock Holmes homage so absurd, so inconceivable, it works astoundingly well. In it, Holmes decides to make a study of jokes, with the intention of becoming the world's first stand-up comic. Moby: Toupee or Not Toupee is a tale of a different sort, a blackly comic horror story about a bald man who lacks confidence, and the living toupee that does far more than just boost his self-esteem.
One of the early highlights of the collection is Casey at the Bar, a straight up homage of Casey at the bat, with Colin's version being the story of a washed up Leaf's goalie. Funny stuff, and as it enjoys a few wildly humorous tangents. My favorite entry, however, has to be A Tale of Two Critters. It's written as a very stuffy Dickensian tale, capturing the narrative essence of the original, which actually suits the story of poor old Wile E. Coyote very well. Without spoiling it, let's just say that anybody who's ever wanted to see the roadrunner get his due won't be disappointed!
The Cat and My Dad is another rhyming tale, this time putting a very Seussian spin on the post-apocalyptic zombie story. It's a fun story, surprisingly dark given the singsong verse, and it reminds us precisely why polite, law-abiding, poorly-armed Canadians would have a hard time with zombies. Along the same lines, Twas Not Right Before Christmas continues the rhyming lyrical theme, offering up a Twilight Zone mash-up of all the holiday standards, coming together under one man's roof. If there's any justice in the world, this will be the next animated holiday special . . . just please don't let Tim Allen or Adam Sandler be involved.
While I had hopes that Not Quite the Classics would be funny, I honestly did not expect it to be as clever and as well-written as it is. Clearly, Mochrie put a lot of thought and imagination into his story choices, and while a few missed my funny bone, other had me laughing out loud (and driving my wife crazy with my insistence on reading passages aloud). How each story will hit you depends as much on your sense of humor as your familiarity with the source material, but it's an entertaining bunch of tales.
I've had this sitting on the coffee table in my living room for a while now - it has sparked many interesting conversations.
This is an excellent read by Colin Mochrie. I've recommended it to family, friends and now you!
1. A Study in Ha Ha (inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet) - Fun. Sherlock takes on the study and science of humour and decides to become a stand-up comic performing at a local pub's weekly talent show. Mochrie capture's Holmes' essence quite well and it is an amusing story. Mochrie's own voice is loud and clear; I could hear him inside my head telling the story. Fun but not great. (3/5)
2. Moby (inspired by Herman Melville's Moby-Dick) - A horror story about Ishmael Moby, a balding actor, whose life changes when he meets a toupee with a mind and power of its own. Silly but fun. (3/5)
3. Casey at the Bar (inspired by Ernest Thayer's "Casey at the Bat") - Haha! Loved this! Truly Canadian all the way as Mochrie re-writes the famous poem making it about an old disgraced hockey player at a bar. (5/5)
4. The Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Fourth (inspired by George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four) - The first long story; this is a total farce. Keeping a dystopian plot like the original, Mochrie turns it into a cross between a fairy tale and a fantasy channeling Terry Pratchett. Outrageous fun as a magic shop owner is recruited by the rebels to overthrow the tyrannical King because they have been led to him by the Oracle. A few nods to Orwell's 1984 are included such as a siamese set of twins named Big Brother and Little Brother. (4/5)
5. A Tale of Two Critters (inspired by Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities) - Wow. A serious, violent and touching story written from Wile E. Coyote's point of view. Darkly hilarious as well! (5/5)
6. The Cat and my Dad (inspired by Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat) - The author cheats a bit for this one by paraphrasing the first stanza, then changing the words to the last sentence to reference his own story, but that didn't stop me from loving this Seussian zombie apocalypse rhyme. (5/5)
7. Franken's Time (inspired by Mary Shelly's Frankenstein) - Black humour and horror combine in this ludicrous tale of a man and his close relationship with a rooster. Mochrie manages to keep many elements of the original and writes a morbidly funny tale. (4/5)
8. Waterhouse Five (inspired by Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five) - This is the first story where I haven't read the original book so any humorous references are lost on me. However, this is a totally comic story of the most outrageous proctal exam anyone could possibly imagine. Undergone by poor Billy, the world's most unfortunate soul. LOL (4/5)
9. 'Twas Not Right Before Christmas (inspired by Clement Moore's "Twas the Night Before Christmas) - Hilarious! These poems are my favourite parts of the book. There's been a shift in the space-time continuum and when the narrator gets up in the night he's visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past accidentally, then in pops Clarence the Angel, they start arguing, and eventually all mayhem breaks lose as the characters from all Christmas classics and TV shows and movies turn up. Wild. (5/5)
10. The Grateful Gatsby (inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby) - A delightful British farce! An impoverished British Lord is trying to save his estate by making an advantageous marriage for his daughter. This is where the wild American comes in. Set during World War I. Quirky and lots of fun. Probably the best-written story in the book so far. (5/5)
11. Re: Becker (inspired by Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca) - A delightfully morbid tale. A man find's out he's just inherited his only friend's vast estate after a sudden death. But the will comes with one very strange condition that he, however, has no qualms over. The second story I haven't actually read the book of, but I have seen the movie more than once; Mochrie keeps several nods to the original here for fans in this darkly humorous and very British tale. (3/5)
12. Faren Heights Bin 451 (inspired by Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451) - Boy, a bit of a dud to end the book with. A noir private eye has the private dick searching for a missing set of keys for the lovely dame who came into his office. Things get convoluted with a cast including a midget, but the humour of this one fell flat on me. (2/5)
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