Saturday, April 8, 2017

My Seinfeld Year by Fred Stoller

Why I Read It: Because "Seinfeld" was in the title.

Summary: A Kindle single, a short book about the experiences of writer/actor Fred Stoller, someone you know, but just not by that name.

My Thoughts: The face, the voice, the sad sack characters. You can't miss them. They have become the Fred Stoller trademark. He's the guy who can't remember Elaine on Seinfeld, despite the fact they've been on a date. He's the jerky waiter in Monica's kitchen on Friends. He's Cousin Gerard on Everybody Loves Raymond.

More than that, he's the guy who wrote one of the iconic Seinfeld episodes, "The Soup." Not the one with the Soup Nazi, but instead the episode in which comedian Kenny Bania gives Jerry a suit that no longer fits him in trade for a "meal,"an entity of which the two have very different ideals. This story was not torn from while cloth; it actually happened to Stoller.

Stoller's autobiography works upward from his youth in New York, through his stand-up years and over to Hollywood. Much of the book focuses on his year as a writer for the show, his interactions with fellow writers and with the cast members themselves, not to mention the "real" Kramer back in New York City. The acting bug hits him again after finishing his Seinfeld year, and in an odd twist, he ends up on the show the following year, playing a guy Elaine is attracted to because he can't remember her.

Stoller gives us a little insight into the life of a Hollywood part-timer, what it's like to seek that starring role but being unable to land anything but bit parts. In the end, though, he lets us know that compared to many other trajectories of a life, his path has not been that bad.

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