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.