The man they called Knight Rider covers his life in standard greatest-hits format.
Even given the meager expectations aroused by celebrity autobiography—a cheery narrative arc laced with a modicum of self-deprecation and the occasional bit of gossip—this relentlessly cheery account still manages to disappoint. Known in these post-ironic days as the Hoff (the logo from a T-shirt he sells via the “Hoff World” website), Hasselhoff launched his career in 1975 when he landed a role on The Young and the Restless. He caught the eye of NBC’s Brandon Tartikoff, who put him in ’80s touchstone Knight Rider, a block of televisual cheese co-starring a snooty talking car with an oscillating red-light scanner for an eye. Next came Baywatch, at one point the most popular TV show in the world, which cemented the Hoff’s status as a world pop-culture star. Success was confirmed when he headlined cheeseball concerts that pulled in massive crowds of Europeans. While the account of his TV exploits soon bores, his story of playing to fame-dazed East Germans in 1989 offers a moment of surreal magnificence. (His song “Looking for Freedom” became an anthem of the post-Wall era.) Readers can hardly turn a bright and sunny page without seeing the Hoff grasp another great opportunity or a sick child needing a celebrity visit pick-me-up. Oh, he encounters occasional speed bumps like divorces and near-death from alcohol poisoning, but he’s soon off and running again: starring on Broadway in Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical and becoming an even odder icon with his stunningly popular SpongeBob SquarePants cameo. Nothing keeps the Hoff down, it seems.
Autobiography as gaping grin—nary an honest moment to be glimpsed.