I recently read three books by funny people: Comedian and actor Brad Garrett's (Robert from TV's Everybody Loves Raymond) When The Balls Drop, Adam Resnick's (a former writer for David Letterman's The Late Show) Will Not Attend, and comedienne and actress Ali Wentworth's Happily Ali After. When the Balls Drop by Brad Garrett
Published by Gallery Books ISBN 9781476772905
Hardcover, $25, 288 pages
Brad Garrett's When The Balls Drop is a comic treatise on what it's like to be a 50-year-old man whose body is falling apart. It is clearly geared towards men of that age, and as a woman of that age, I am not the target audience. Garrett spends too much time complaining about his ex-wives and how much money he had to give them. For my taste, it was a little off-putting.
I most enjoyed his stories about growing up with funny with his interesting family, and opening up for Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas. Garrett has had a long stand-up comedy career, and those chapters were fascinating to me. I think he has a whole other book about this area of his life.
He spent nine seasons as Robert, the much put-upon older brother in Everybody Loves Raymond, but he doesn't share many stories from those days, other than Marie Roberts, who played his mother, could drink everyone under the table, and Peter Boyle, who played his father, had a gas problem. Again, I would have liked more of this. The book has many bursts of just laugh-out-loud stuff, just like his I can't-believe-he-really-said-that stand-up act.
Will Not Attend by Adam Resnick
Published by Blue Rider Press ISBN 9780147516213
Trade paperback, $16, 272 pages
The premise of Adam Resnick's Will Not Attend is that he is very anti-social and would much rather stay home than participate in any family dinner, much less go to Disney World with his nemesis, his wife's sister Diane, and her family.
Resnick's sister-in-law is one of those people who like to control everything, and Adam does not like to be told what to do and when to do it. Their epic blow-up in the middle of a Disney vacation where every slight was brought up was uncomfortable (though, I admit, kind of funny to see someone put in her place) to read, I can't imagine seeing it in person. After reading this, I was hoping that Diane was a purely made-up character because how he could have any relationship with her after this is unfathomable.
The language in the book is pretty rough at times, there is a lot of swearing here, so if you don't mind that, you may enjoy it. Again, I don't think I am the target audience for this book.
Happily Ali After by Ali Wentworth
Published by HarperCollins ISBN 9780062238498
Hardcover, $25.99, 240 pages
I read Ali Wentworth's first memoir Ali in Wonderland that hilariously dealt with her years trying to make it as an actress in Hollywood. Her very funny voice shone through each page. In her new book, Happily Ali After, Wentworth shares her adventures as a wife (to ABC newsman George Stephanopoulis) and mom to two young daughters.
I loved this Happily Ever After even more than Ali in Wonderland, probably because I can relate more to Ali the wife and mom than Ali the struggling actress. She tells great stories about trying to stay young-looking, her husband's poor driving, and her daughter's sex-education questions.
One of the stories that I most loved involved a trip the family had planned to Spain. Ali was in charge of making all the preparations, and when they got to the airport to take a late-night flight, they were told that the girls' passports had expired and they were going nowhere that night.
George was furious at Ali, and the girls went back and forth from one parent to the other asking if they were going to get a divorce. The car ride home was uncomfortable, and when they got home, Ali told George how so very sorry she was. As they lay in bed, he kissed her and told her he knew she she was sorry and that it was OK. Every couple has had that potentially huge fight, and could relate to this big oopsy that Ali committed.
Ali's story of a girl's weekend at a friend's California home with a psychic as entertainment was hilarious too. We all have our girlfriends, and her description of that party had me guffawing.
Reading Happily Ali After is like sitting in your funniest girlfriend's kitchen and listening to her crazy stories about her husband, her family, her job, her life. If I ever see her on the streets of NYC, I will invite her over for a glass of wine just to hear her stories.