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Mr. Mike: The Life and Work of Michael O'Donoghue
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Mr. Mike: The Life and Work of Michael O'Donoghue

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  134 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Michael O'Donoghue's humor spared no one's feelings or sensitivities. He was a towering figure in American popular culture, the prime artistic force behind an entire generation of humorists and satirists. John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, P.J. O'Rourke, Buck Henry, Doug Kenney, and more were all affected by the acid wit of Mr. Mike. This bo ...more
Paperback, 429 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by Spike (first published 1998)
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Apr 11, 2008 Steve rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Wednesday Addams
Michael O'Donoghue was perhaps the most inspired genius of bleak, black humor since the Marquis de Sade. In The Aristocrats, he's credited with being the most perverse teller of that joke, a version that clocked in at 90 disgusting minutes. His favorite book was a wonderfully ghastly one, The Torture Garden by Octave Mirbeau. He died when his brain exploded. Back when trolls wandered the earth, he was the guy who gave National Lampoon magazine and early Saturday Night Live their bizarre edge, so ...more
J. Niimi
Not sure if I'm ever going to finish this, so I'll put down a few notes now. Fascinating subject, obviously; torture to read. The author's prose is repetitive and one-dimensional -- yes, I get that O'Donoghue had a morbid worldview, already. Not that I'm looking for more armchair psychoanalysis, but I'd like to know more about what made the man tick besides the fact that he hated his mother and spent most of his childhood sick and holed up in his bedroom reading while the other kids were out pla ...more
Would love to give this five stars, because the subject is so gripping. However, for all his good intentions, Perrin kind of soft-balls the subject, lets him off the hook too often, and really just plays Flava Flav to O'Donoghue's Chuck D. As Christgau said of that duo, "Why should I like the great man's fan better than I like the great man?"
Mike McPadden
Michael O'Donoghue's life cries out for a proper biography as thought it had 18-inch needles inserted directly into its eyeballs.

A (long) decade-and-a-half since MR. MIKE, it still does.

With this exhausting, but hardly exhaustive, effort, Dennis Perrin, to invoke an O'Donoghue line delivered by Chevy Chase regarding 1980 SNL producer Jean Doumanian, does "a worse job than any other English-speaking person possibly could."

Early tip off: the author describes his subject as "a personal god to me.
As you may be able to glean from the title, this is a book about the life and times of Michael O'Donoghue, a comedy writer that wrote for both "Saturday Night Live" and the "National Lampoon" magazine in their heydays. I thought the book was mostly going to concentrate on "SNL", but the author, who obviously loves and deeply admires his subject, begins with O'Donoghue's childhood. He combs through a ton of the writer's early work - school papers, plays and the like - and draws lines to the write ...more
i loved this book, even though it is not a great one. that tends to happen with biographies of cultish kinds of figures. the only people who want to write the book, and who are passionate enough to get someone to publish it, are superfans. not always the best writers. i recently read a Shaun Ryder bio; absolute rubbish. but still, it was great in it's own ugly way. this piece on Michael O'Donoghue is nowhere near as bad as that, though it can get tedious at times. overall, it did a commendable j ...more
Loved the relationships with the elephant, Hannah!
Steven Spector
As is often the case with a very bright guy, not always the nicest of fellows. But I digress. An excellent highly detailed of O'Donoghue's early life of rebellion to his National Lampoon years and finally to his angst (boy do I hate that word) filled SNL years. Another bio of this subject will never be needed as Perrin tells us all we want and need to know.
Matt Springer
I don't know how well Mr. Mike's grand guignol comedy would stand up for me, but as a younger man, he was a fascinating figure of bravery and wit.
Lyle Deixler
A great look at a fascinating, brilliant and bizarre man. His skits were always some of my favorites on the original Saturday Night Live.
Mark Graham
I would've loved this book to have been 100 pages shorter. That said, all the SNL stuff is gold.
Joe Faust
Well done biography of NatLamp and SNL’s master of macabre humor.
Will Hines
I like that it focused much more on his work than his life.
Dennis Lorence
Jan 12, 2008 Dennis Lorence rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: political humorists (oxymoron)
Only the good die young.

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