"[My Aunt} Rose was a tiny wrinkled
Russian woman with one arm several
inches longer than the other.
My dad claimed it was because
she played trombone." P243
I've been reading a few biographies lately. Most of them from authors I admire like Robertson Davies, Frank Herbert, and most recently, Charles Dickens. I enjoy reading about their lives as it adds a dimension to their books on a re-read that I enjoy. I feel like I am "in" on some of the jokes as well as learning more about the time they wrote in and the inspiration behind their work.
I decided to pick up Billy Crystals autobiography as I have been a fan of his for years since his "Soap" days and even more on SNL. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by his book! I know he is a comedian, but almost every page had a laugh-out-loud story, anecdote or comment that kept me turning the pages. Mixed in with some genuine and heart-felt stories about his career, growing old, and his journey from starving comedian making 20 bucks a show to an Oscar host aiming for Bob Hope's hosting record.
Well written, impactful at times and always sincere, the book had me smiling.
I've always wondered about his impressions as most impressions I hear from other comedians are typically a veiled attempt to insult the person. After reading this book I realize that some of Billy Crystals best impressions are not meant to insult or belittle, but are actually an "homage" to people he has worked with or admires greatly such as Muhammad Ali or Sammy Davis Jr.
It was also interesting to read his thoughts on working on "City Slickers" and "When Harry Met Sally", both movies that were part of my growing up.
I also found it hilarious to read about his minor disagreements with Charles Bronson and Orson Wells. You'll have to read the book to find out why, but his interaction with Bronson is one I would be proud of!
The only part of the book that didn't resonate with me was some of the baseball stories. I appreciate that it is a big part of his makeup but not being a baseball fan myself I was not smitten with the various stories around his brief career as a Yankee.
I read this book close to my own birthday so I also liked the part about his adoption of his mothers mantra to "always do something nice on your birthday".
But overall an excellent read. I may have to go online and rent "When Harry Met Sally" now. ;-)
8 out of 10