TV funnyman on marriage, family and BMW shopping.
Black (My Custom Van: And 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays that Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face, 2008, etc.), familiar to comedy fans from the sketch series The State and Stella and dozens of TV and movie appearances, presents an affecting memoir that unflinchingly details his failings as a romantic partner and father while curiously eliding his troubled childhood and professional career—aspects of the author’s life that might seem to be richer material for an autobiography. Black briefly describes his parents’ fractious relationship, his mother’s midlife embracing of lesbianism and the anxiety he felt for a younger sister with Down Syndrome, but these dramatic elements are largely ignored as Black details his callous behavior and sexual insecurities as a young man on the make and his current status as a conflicted husband and father. Readers hoping for glimpses behind the scenes of the alt-comedy boom will be disappointed, as Black barely mentions any specifics of his career as a writer and performer. However, he writes with real courage and feeling about his relationship with his wife, Martha, a moody and difficult partner with little patience for her husband’s immaturity and petulance. While Black is consistently funny and maintains his slightly detached, absurdist persona in his prose, there is authentic pain and moral confusion in his descriptions of marriage-counseling sessions, bitter arguments and threats of divorce. The author treads well-covered ground, but does so memorably and funnily.
A slight but reliably amusing look at masculine insecurity and confusion.