Now that pretty much every one of his contemporaries has written a memoir, why not Macdonald?
The book starts out promising enough, justifying the title with the typical disclaimer: “there’s no way of telling a true story. I mean a really true one, because of memory. It’s just no good.” The author also promises to “name names,” “drop bombshells,” and “let the filth fly, like a mad dog.” Though he delivers on the first two, Macdonald’s creative imagination has reached such delirium by that point that readers are likely to discount even the parts that may be true. Most of this account takes place in Las Vegas, where the author may or may not have gambled $1 million on credit, high on morphine and whiskey, promising (and failing) to kill himself if he lost, and then borrowing another million to try to win back what he had lost—and becoming God’s anointed messenger in the process. Part of the problem here is that, as he acknowledges, “if I am remembered, it will always be by the four years I spent on Saturday Night Live and, maybe even more than that, by the events surrounding my departure from that show. As long as SNL exists, so do I.” Of his departure, he says he refused to resume telling O.J. Simpson jokes. As for the rest, he may or may not have been deeply in lust with Sarah Silverman. It isn’t likely that he engaged a hit man to murder her boyfriend, that he was sentenced to 40 years (or four months) for this, and that she took out a restraining order that made it difficult for them to do sketches together. It also isn’t likely that he was hired for the program by Lorne Michaels because of a shared passion for liquid morphine, and it isn’t likely that he received a $1 million advance for this book, whatever it is.
Will try the patience of even the comedian’s fans.