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The Dangerous Animals Club

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  967 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
From legendary character actor Stephen Tobolowsky, comes a collection of memoiristic pieces about life, love, acting, and adventure, told with a beguiling voice and an uncommon talent for storytelling.

The Dangerous Animals Club by Stephen Tobolowsky is a series of stories that form a non-linear autobiography. Each story stands on its own, and yet there are larger interconn
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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Apr 03, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing
You know those imaginary dinner parties where you get to invite any five people from history for an evening of amazing conversation? This book is the reason Stephen Tobolowsky has always been one of my five. He is a raconteur of the first order, and I think an evening with Beethoven, Abe Lincoln, and Winston Churchill would be made ever more fascinating for his inclusion. But it’s not just that his stories are compulsively entertaining. It’s that they resound with insight and revelation. Tobolow ...more
I realize now as an adult that I was extremely fortunate to grow up in a family that loved and utilized audiobooks. Living in Wyoming, road trips were a frequent occurrence. The nearest mall/bookstore/Target was 180 miles away, the closest family member 90 miles, and the majority of my family lived a minimum of a 13 hour car ride from our home. This meant that with some regularity we would pack up the car and take off, spending all day with pillows and suitcases piled about us. My parents would ...more
Oct 14, 2012 Rachael rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Public radio fans
I've been a long-time listener of The Tobolowsky Files, practically since inception, and I've been lucky enough to see Stephen Tobolowsky perform his stories live in Boston. So it's fair to say that I've experienced these stories from all the mediums now: audio, live performance, and now through reading.

If you're already a fan of the podcast, the book might be worth skipping. It is almost an exact repeat of the podcast, which makes sense since Tobo sits down and writes everything out completely
Neil McCrea
Dec 19, 2013 Neil McCrea rated it really liked it
As a diehard cinephile, I'm certainly aware of Tobolowsky's screen work, but I had no idea what to expect from this collection of anecdotes, essays and other autobiographical tidbits. When I found this book to be funny it wasn't much of a surprise, when I discovered that it was also wise I became impressed.

The stories involving Stephen's childhood suggested to me a more erudite version of Patrick MacManus. The film industry anecdotes are light, crisp and funny. The bulk of the book is made up of
Barbara Baer
Jan 24, 2014 Barbara Baer rated it it was amazing
This book was a wonderful surprise. I read one online essay by Stephen Tobolowsky and decided on a whim to buy the book. And I loved it.I was actually really disappointed when I finished that there wasn't more available for me to read.

The book is a memoir written in the form of a series of essays. These essays are not all in chronological order, which he somehow makes work. Some essays are serious, some funny, some philosophical, some instructive, and some just plain interesting. None so far hav
Jun 22, 2013 Cindy rated it it was amazing
If you are fortunate enough to have downloaded all the episodes of The Tobolowsky Files, this book is comprised of stories from the podcast. If you are like me, you've listened to every episode numerous times and you know how earth-shatteringly profound these stories are.

I did the audiobook (for obvious reasons) and what you get is a cleaner, more streamlined version. The words are all there (at times, verbatim), with changes made to correct missquotes and a sentence or two as stylistic choices
Karen Germain
Oct 08, 2013 Karen Germain rated it it was amazing
The funny thing about Stephen Tobolowsky is I bought his collection of personal stories, The Dangerous Animals Club, without having a clue about the author. Yet, as I read his book, I learned that he has been a character actor in so many of my favorite television shows, most notably, Deadwood. Midway through the book, I looked him up on IMDB and I had my light-bulb moment.

As much as I enjoy watching Tobolowsky act, I think that he might be even better as a writer. The Dangerous Animals Club is
Jun 05, 2012 Terry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-journal
Tobolowsky has appeared in hundreds of film and television roles (e.g., in Groundhog Day; Deadwood; Glee); however, instead of being recognized as a movie star, he writes that he is often mistaken for an insurance salesman or former science teacher. Perhaps it’s this everyman quality that elevates his debut collection of essays. Rather than presenting a mere compilation of anecdotes, Tobolowsky tells each story for a reason, creating a tapestry encompassing catching tarantulas, broken hearts, Da ...more
Blake Dornfeld
Jan 17, 2013 Blake Dornfeld rated it it was amazing
The Dangerous Animals Club
By Stephen Tobolowsky
Autobiographical Novel

The Dangerous Animals Club by Stephen Tobolowsky is a collection of stories and experiences of an actor. It follows his childhood mishaps, family blunders, collegiate errors, and riveting experiences with drugs.

This book has motifs. Shocker. Throughout the book, Tobolowsky juxtaposes his role as a student with the purpose of his book, which is to be a teacher. "I have always chosen to be a student. It's fun to learn." He keeps
May 07, 2013 Tansal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, audiobook
If you want to know whether to check out this book, I recommend that you start either with one of the freely available episodes of the Tobolowsky Files podcast, or the movie that inspired it, Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party. As an avid listener of the podcast since the beginning, I wanted to support the incredible work done there by purchasing this audiobook. It's like a greatest hits of the podcast, recorded in high quality, a bit more organized to have a flow and conclusion, and with some ...more
Catherine Belles
Dec 23, 2012 Catherine Belles rated it it was amazing
Stephen Tobolowsky, The Dangerous Animals Club.
This is a collection of short stories with an underlying autobiographical theme; the four people Stephen considers his personal heroes. In the midst of telling stories from his life growing up and becoming a character actor, Stephen ponders deep questions of personal and social worth. He is Jewish but did not begin to consider scripture with any seriousness until an adult. He considers two Old Testament stories at some length, Joseph and Creation.
Aug 24, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of nonfiction storytelling
Shelves: humour, memoir
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC and enjoyed it immensely. As a casual listener of The Tobolowsky Files (the podcast, and having attended one of the shows), the obvious question is how it compares to the audio version. Though they are very similar, in the end it's not only the tone of his voice that I love, but his attitude: friendly, open, and real with an inspiring gentleness. Stephen Tobolowsky encourages me, in the most honest way, to be kind and not afraid. I will always be inte ...more
Sep 08, 2016 Me rated it liked it
I admit it. I'd never heard of character actor Stephen Tobolowsky before this book. I read this on CD and the author narrates it himself. Like any collection of short stories, whether fiction or non-fiction, some I liked more than others. All in all, his collection of non-linear biographical pieces are enjoyable and sometimes funny.
Aug 30, 2015 Jackie rated it really liked it
Just Finished #27 of the Home Library Project - The Dangerous Animals Club by Stephen Tobolowsky.

This is definitely a case of not judging a book by its cover which is the name of the book and the author written in thick white paint on a background of a weathered board wall. So I was expecting some sort of 'Deliverance'-styled murder mystery.


Stephen Tobolowsky is a character actor who has appeared in over 200 movies and TV shows, most memorable, to me, at least, as the annoying salesman tha
Patrick Devlin
Aug 09, 2013 Patrick Devlin rated it really liked it
Really a good book by this actor/writer who you will certainly recognize, but won't know his name. He shares stories from his own life that will have you laughing into your hand to prevent waking up your wife in the middle of the night as you try to get through one more chapter. Very entertaining.
Jan 27, 2014 Leah rated it it was amazing
I listened to Stephen read this book and I loved it. About a year ago I was clued into his podcast - which is the genesis of this book. Luckily I hadn't heard any of these stories before, although really, hearing them again would be wonderful.
It must take an actor to be willing to bare his soul the way Stephen does. He takes the mundane and creates wonderful stories, of course it also could be that he simply has a fascinating life.
He doesn't sugarcoat anything, he is very honest about what went
David Alkek
Sep 10, 2013 David Alkek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This is a hilarious collection of real-life stories by a movie and TV actor. He has a wonderful way of telling a funny story, as if you were listening to a stand-up comic. My sides hurt from laughing.
Aug 07, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
*This is a review of the audio edition*
If the name Stephen Tobolowsky doesn't ring a bell, look up a picture. You've definitely seen him, one of those guys who has been in everything. Since he's known to be a super story teller, I chose this well-reviewed audiobook for our road trip from NY to MI. Even with that reputation, this listening experience still exceeded all my expectations. A series of autobiographical essays, "Tobo" pulls details from mundane events to create stories that make you la
Joshua Gross
Mar 26, 2014 Joshua Gross rated it liked it
Stephen Tobolowsky is a lot better at telling stories than Nick Offerman is. A lot of these stories were very interesting or very funny, although none of them are particularly edgy or resonant. Stephen Tobolowsky is also capable of sounding a little old-fashioned, particularly in regards to women. For some reason, a lot of the stories feature his ex-girlfriend Beth, while few have much to do with his current wife. I did like reading about the way Hollywood works from the point of view of an inte ...more
Feb 18, 2014 Jeremiah rated it really liked it

Stephen Tobolowsky has a very compelling biography and more than most celebrity memoirs, he is able to present it beautifully and richly, whether it's on his podcast, the Tobolowsky Files, or the film Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party, or this book, he has experienced every level of the entertainment industry, from children's entertainment to blockbusters; he has partied with David Byrne, broken his spine, kissed a man while smuggling drugs, and played in a garage band with Stevie Ray Vaughn--
Selim Tlili
Oct 23, 2014 Selim Tlili rated it it was amazing
Stephen Tobolowsky is an actor that I've admired for a long time. He definitely shows us that good acting can be a cerebral endeavor. His humorous style of writing shows just how thoughtful and intelligent he truly is. Tobolowsky offers valuable insight into the world of acting and the world of self discovery. He is imminently quotable and I found myself laughing out loud throughout the collection of essays. I heartily recommend this book to actors and to anyone who appreciates a good coming of ...more
Feb 20, 2015 Ana rated it really liked it
Full disclosure - I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

I often peruse the giveaways page and enter a few of them when their blurb catches my eye.
But then I'll completely forget about them as I go about my everyday life.
So when I received an email letting me know that I'd won a copy of 'The Dangerous Animals Club', I didn't remember anything about it and had absolutely no expectations. I actually won a couple of giveaways around the same time, so this one sat on my nightstand for a little wh
May 11, 2013 Ensiform rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, jobs
A collection of essays and autobiographical pieces by the veteran character actor, amounting a book that is both memoir and pop philosophy. He’s a witty and self-deprecating story-teller who seems to have an inexhaustible cache of bizarre anecdotes, from his childhood escapades hunting poisonous animals in Texas fields to the surreal experience of working under eccentric director David Milch on “Deadwood,” from the inexplicable and nasty vendetta an acting professor maintained against Tobolowsky ...more
Aug 01, 2013 Vee41dmb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, famous, funny
I'd give this one 3.5 stars.
The beginning was SO hilarious!! The part about the Dangerous Animals Club.
There were a couple small things that bothered me about the book. It wasn't really in the style of essays, which is fine, however the way Stephen repeated stuff he had already written previously to remind the reader of them was pretty annoying at times. Maybe it's because I was engrossed in the book and just wanted to hear more, not repeats.
I did not know who Stephen Tobolowsky was when I bough
Jan 20, 2013 Scott rated it it was amazing
Stephen Tobolowsky is like the world's best dinner guest. This collection of stories about his life and his acting career is so hard to put down because I just kept wanting to hear more! Just tell one more story about that goofy teacher you had in college, one more silly childhood memory, just please keep talking...

He is not only a talented storyteller but also shows himself to be a thoughtful human being that has learned from his mistakes and is more than willing to share them with you. And he'
Mar 03, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it
An actor I wouldn't have "heard of" but whom I have seen in dozens of television shows and films, from Thelma and Louise to Deadwood to Heroes to Glee. This man has been around. And he can spin a tale. An actor by day but a storyteller by night?

This book is funny and it's carefully woven together--it's not chronological but it's crafted. A reader will never feel lost. In places he repeats elements of a story, but not, as is so often the case, because writer or editor missed a duplication, but b
Jan 11, 2013 Larissa rated it really liked it
As the second biography from a comedic actor that I have read in as many months, (I read the spectacular, poignant autobiog of Steve Martin, Born Standing Up), I found Stephen Tobolowsky to be witty, flippant and surprisingly, eloquent. His various screen roles have made him memorable, as the everyman with that wallflower tendency of the perpetually overlooked. What I didn't know, was how emotional his writing would be. I heard (on audio - read by him) his life stories spun into clever 15-20min ...more
Sep 23, 2013 Sue rated it did not like it
I confess that I only made it to page 34. According to Nancy Pearl, librarian extraordinaire, I gave up on this one 21 pages too soon. (Before giving up on a book, you are to read 100 pages minus your age. Not a directive, but a handy guideline.)

I also confess that I haven't heard any of Tobolowsky's podcasts. If I had, I may have had my ear tuned to his humor.

I could live with the unapologetic harassment of wildlife, both as a child (forgivable) and as a father (less so). The tipping point fo
Feb 27, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
Stephen Tobolowski—an excellent character actor who can play humor or menace or menacing humor equally well—proves also to be an excellent storyteller. This set of stories is a loose non-chronological memoir, mostly focusing on Tobolowski's early days as an aspiring actor in the 1970s and his relationship with the troublesome Beth, his live-in girlfriend for 15 years. But there are tons of sidelights about moms, siblings, dogs, Texas, Hollywood, Broadway, parties, friends, and various characters ...more
Amy Bond
Nov 25, 2012 Amy Bond rated it really liked it
What a surprise, this book! I usually enjoy books by actors because they are entertaining but I don't expect much else besides laughs. Tobolowsky really goes above and beyond that standard. Each story focuses on a lesson that Tobolowsky has learned through experiences as varied as being held at gunpoint to writing an essay about Alaska to catching tarantulas as a child to a not-so-escaped elephant named Bubbles. The interesting part is that the lessons are never what you expect them to be and "T ...more
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Announcing an eBook sale 8 13 Aug 27, 2013 05:20PM  
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The quintessential character actor, Stephen Tobolowsky has appeared in more than 100 movies and more than 200 television shows in his career (USA TODAY recently noted that he was the ninth most frequently seen actor in film today). Along the way his roles have spanned almost all aspects of being a working actor, from the big-budget and Oscar Award-worthy (as head of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi ...more
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“Fairly or unfairly, many people are tried in life. The mistake people make is that they think the trial is a sign of failure. It’s not. It’s only a doorway that leads to who you really are.” 3 likes
“The one common tragedy I have seen woven throughout my life and the lives of others is that we can't feel the miracle of our own lives.” 2 likes
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