Supplies lots of laughs in its observances of the everyday.

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STORIES I TELL

A COMIC'S RANDOM ATTEMPTS TO MAKE SOME SENSE OUT OF NONSENSE

A life expressed through laughter and punch lines by a self-proclaimed “comedian-at-law.”

In his memoir, Massachusetts-born D’Angelo (born Paul J. Murphy) entertainingly chronicles his adventurous life via a funny collection of anecdotes and satirical commentary. Indecisive through high school, the author initially settled on dentistry as a career, then opted for a law degree. He became a prosecutor with the Essex County District Attorney while also doing stand-up comedy, but the strain of juggling an escalating career as an attorney and hosting a weekly show at a popular Boston comedy club left him “successful, but unhappy,” so he decided to be a full-time funnyman and writer. Much of the book recounts droll observances that, due to time restraints, never made it into his stand-up routine. D’Angelo shares a bounty of tightly written, lighthearted tales, some barely a page in length, others more thoroughly considered. Among the best are musings on his thick Boston accent, how his judgmental mother stunts his love life, his six-year struggle to go pro in “phony” Hollywood, terrifying airplane turbulence,  class reunions, and the general highs and lows of navigating the comedy-club circuit. Describing a checkup, he quips: “My doctor was happy to report that the only thing that is sick about me was my mind.” On modern technology, D’Angelo remarks: “If we have now been blessed with so many so-called ‘time-saving devices,’ why is it that no one ever seems to have any free time anymore?” Cohesiveness is not one of the book’s strengths, however, as each of the chapters, while consistently amusing, contains a mass of ideas with no organizing principle. Fans of the comedian and general readers who enjoy a fusion of comedy and memoir will easily overlook these flaws and be content to discover D’Angelo’s wit and comic chops, accompanied by plenty of black-and-white photographs that illustrate the author’s rich, star-studded road to success.

Supplies lots of laughs in its observances of the everyday.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692294352

Page Count: 298

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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