A humorous take on mortality by famed comedian and actor Crystal (700 Sundays, 2005, etc.).
In his latest book, the always-affable author proves yet again his ability to translate his comedic chops from the screen to the page. On the morning of his 65th birthday, Crystal peered into the mirror to find he was no longer the “hip, cool baby boomer” he thought he was, but now resembled “a Diane Arbus photograph.” Horrified by the transformation, Crystal dedicates the rest of the book to finding his old self in his new saggy skin—a self-deprecating shtick that proves as endearing as it is silly. Melding the personal with the professional, the author recounts his rise from unknown comic to acclaimed entertainer, a journey that has included run-ins with everyone from Mickey Mantle to Muhammad Ali. Yet through it all, Crystal makes clear that his brushes with greatness—and, in fact, his own greatness—were often the result of luck, timing and hard work in equal proportions. Though he revels in his self-portrayal as a key-losing, liver-spotted old man, in truth, Crystal’s wit and writing remain sharp, as do his reflections on the more disappointing moments of his career. Of the mild success of his directorial debut, Mr. Saturday, Crystal chalks up the film’s struggles to audiences’ inability to leave his past characters behind and embrace the one he portrayed in the film. “I’d had a great run playing a certain kind of guy,” he writes. “Audiences liked that guy; they didn’t want to see that guy get old.” By book’s end, it’s evident that Crystal himself has grown old, but rather than make a secret of his age, he turns it into a punch line. In the final chapter, he confronts his impending death in perfect Crystal fashion. “I do see a silver lining,” he admits; “it’s the satin in my coffin.”
A charming, warm, welcome read for Crystal’s legions of fans.