The stand-up comedian serves up another Soft Pretzels With Mustard: scores of short personal anecdotes told in colloquial style. The collection will please Brenner's fans as he reverts to form after the throwaway Revenge is the Best Exercise. Devotees of show-biz schlock will also delight in the book as a peerless epitome of smarm. Somehow, he has precisely captured the glitzy talk-show in prose: the unctuous posturing, the self-promotional storytelling, the world full of ""very special people."" The jokes are sometimes crass, scatological, or downright humorless--as when the punchline to a story is that he dumps a pile of particularly fetid garbage on the desk of an associate he didn't like. Like a literary laugh-track, he assures us that ""everyone screamed with laughter."" His humility is patronizing, as when he explains why the shoemaker was his childhood hero, because ""He cannot make crowds of people laugh, but I can't take a beat-up pair of shoes and make them almost new. So, the next time you see a shoemaker, please think about it."" When he takes a moment to be serious, folks, his prose is rotted through with clichÃ‰s. He recites little self-canonizing dramas of the sort that conclude with something like: that small boy. . . was me. Or name-dropping: that good friend was. . .Freddie Prinze. His adolescent and narcissistic observations about life and love have all the depth of greeting cards. At best, here are many new stories by a Vegas headliner, told in the lively patter of an experienced comic. At worst, the stories are slathered with cloying show-biz sentimentality. Brenner's foes and fans will both be amused. Save money: catch him on Carson.