How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be
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A fitfully amusing memoir that seems to be based on the (seemingly correct) premise that any comedian can land a book deal.

Mainly known as the host of The Soup, McHale is no Tina Fey. However, any prolonged exposure on TV seems to require that the personality put his name on a memoir as a means of “ ‘extending his brand’ through the written word.” Thus it is with The Soup host and co-star of the sitcom Community. “I needed a new revenue stream,” writes the author. “Sure I had conquered television—both real and cable. I had mildly defeated the world of cinema—both theatrical and straight-to-video. And I had bent the world of comedy over my knee and made it called me ‘the Harbormaster’….I was good at talking, that much was certain. But how could I turn the words I usually talked into a permanent thing that people could purchase at a wildly inflated price?” Even those who don’t care much about McHale or feel that they know enough about him will be entertained by his tales of prickly Chevy Chase, his annotated account of the various actresses he has kissed (and fondled), his tempest-in-a-teapot feuds after delivering comic jobs at Robert DeNiro and Mickey Rourke, and his memories of Robin Williams and “Chubby Matt Damon.” When hosting the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, McHale discovered that “the experience of meeting the president was like a ride at Disneyland. You wait in a long line, the most exciting part lasts a few seconds, and then you’re spit out into an empty hallway, breathless and dazed. Later, someone shows you a photo to prove that it happened.” The book’s second section is funny self-help, designed to show readers how to attain, sustain, and survive the author’s level of celebrity. It extends the amusement park simile: “the life of a celebrity is like a roller coaster—plenty of ups and downs, and with a fair share of vomit.”

Engaging because it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-399-57537-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2016


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