The comedian and former Saturday Night Live Weekend Update host tackles race and political correctness.
At a certain point in this often jarring meditation about growing up in 1970s Brooklyn, the author warns readers that many of them will probably come away thinking he's an ass. He may be right about that. There’s little in this Irish comic’s impressions about nearly any race that hasn’t already been heard many times before. It’s true that Quinn's over-the-top generalizations about particular cultural predilections are clearly more comic than critique, but by now, hearing yet again how the Irish are like this, or the Asians are like that, and so on, will strike many as tiresome. Fortunately, Quinn doesn't rely too heavily on his ethnic jabs to score points, choosing wisely to expend just as much energy, if not more, on self-deprecation. Whether recounting a drunken and deranged attempt to rip off a couple of sex workers secretly armed with rock-lined handbags or a particularly ugly incident groping a sad and lonely shut-in during a liquor store home delivery, Quinn demonstrates a laudable frankness that probably didn’t automatically manifest itself once he sobered up. “Talk about beer muscles,” he writes. “When I drank I was convinced I was an intellectual martial arts champion. I swaggered around the streets of New York City like I owned them.” The heat-cooked asphalt and glass-strewn streets that helped shape the author’s former hard-living ways are, indeed, a richly textured font of engrossing escapades. Quinn excels best when recounting his alcohol-soaked adventures, although he never spends enough time in any one locale before he’s off again characterizing what he has found to be the best and worst in its diverse inhabitants.
Dark and gritty comedy served with just a little too much rancor. Quinn squanders a promising opportunity in a memoir that ping-pongs between bar-stool pontification and bad-boy confessional.