Sunday, July 2, 2017

Maybe We'll Have You Back by Fred Stoller

Why I Read It: I read My Seinfeld Year.

Summary: Fred Stoller's Hollywood autobiography.

My Thoughts: It's a cautionary tale, for sure. Fred tells us in great detail about how hard he has had to work to make it in Hollywood. Despite the fact that we believe we "see that guy in everything," a guest spot here and there means a paycheck here and there.

Who is he? Try the snarky waiter on Friends, in Monica's restaurant. He was the guy Elaine dated on Seinfeld, but he couldn't remember her after the fact. He was Cousin Gerard on Everybody Loves Raymond, playing the accordion and welcoming Robert into his cult. And you can't miss his voice in the Disney cartoon Handy Manny.

Fred's deadpan, self-deprecating style is deadly funny. It's been a struggle, and it's been a long shot, for sure, and he never lost sight of those facts. Yet he persevered. And he never sold out on his dream.

His experiences include the inner circle Hollywood crap of which we all hear, of ass-kissers and ladder climbers who were nice to him when they started out, but ignored him when they got to the top, or knives in backs and shysters seeking ways to extort funds from those working hard to get their big breaks. Fred has seen it all.

There are some tales he tells that surprised me. He protects a lot of names, but others, not at all. I can't say that I wish I was Fred Stoller, but I do wish I had the guts that Fred did to make a go of it when the world around him was telling him to stay in his room and forget about the outside world. In that way, Fred is a hero.

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