Thursday, November 12, 2015

When the Balls Drop by Brad Garrett


Why I Read It: I'm a huge Everybody Loves Raymond fan, and I loved what Brad Garrett brought to the show

Summary: Half the book is biographical, half the book is opinion; from the start, all of it pushes the envelope.

My Thoughts: If you've ever watched a stand-up comedian on Comedy Central and thought, "That guy's pretty funny - I'd like to see him live," then you know what I'm talking about here. There are actually two comedians per performer: TV and live.

On TV, they are observational, witty and cleanly funny. Live, they are foul-mouthed and fixated on topics they know are edgy, or, as Hawkeye Pierce once said on M*A*S*H, "over-the-edgy." Sex, drugs, race, everything is on the table for discussion.

In other words, if you came to this book looking to find "Robert Barone, New York City Police Department," you will be surprised to find he's not here. This is Brad Garrett, the stand-up comic.

The author does a wonderful job of telling the story of how he got to this point in his career, from local stages to his first Tonight Show appearances (although he doesn't mention that he was the voice of Hulk Hogan on the Saturday morning cartoon Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling, which is how as a 13-year-old I first heard his voice!). He walks us through his days of running with the Rat Pack, or at least opening for Sammy Davis, Jr. and Frank Sinatra, and occasionally being invited in for pizza after the shows.

Mostly, though, the book is about Brad's tackling of midlife. I stop short of calling it a crisis, because that's the point of his book; he thinks he has it figured out, and is telling all the men reading his book his plan for beating it: get a pre-nup, marry a 31-year-old and if you have an opinion, let it fly.

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