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Fired!: Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized, and Dismissed

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3.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  199 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
If you've ever been fired, you're in good company. That's what actress and writer Annabelle Gurwitch discovered when she was fired by her idol Woody Allen ("You look retarded"). She confided her tale of woe to her friend Felicity Huffman, who made Annabelle laugh with her own stories. Annabelle realized that there was a world of people out there waiting to laugh at the exp ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published March 10th 2006 by Touchstone (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 439)
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Petra X
I was once fired from three different jobs in one day. I quit more often that I was fired though. :-) Skip to * if that's all you want to read, or if you want to read about why I hated the book, stop reading when you get to * :-)

I fired this book though. It had two major problems, the first of which it wasn't a book. It was a series of stand-up comedy routines on being fired in front of a 'live' audience (sounded too much like canned laughter, so much on cue did it come). That in no way is a boo
...more
Melki
Jul 07, 2014 Melki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I've been fired more times than a postal employee's gun."
Wildman Weiner, Maytag repairman


Ah, yes..,.FIRED, the new f-word.

My one and only, ahem, "dismissal" occurred in the early nineties when I worked at a card/gift store. Near as I can figure, I was fired for having a sense of humor when the owner did not. ( He really couldn't stand when someone had something he didn't, be it common sense, or a height of over five feet.) So, I was out on my ass, though I had my moment of sweet, sweet revenge
...more
Lisa
Mar 01, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book! Actress Annabelle Gurwitch had been hired to be in a Broadway play by Woody Allen, but apparently soon afterward he felt it wasn't working out, and fired her. Only he didn't just say "You're fired". He told her she was absolutely terrible, and "looked retarded". Yikes!!

In telling her story to her friends and acquaintances, Annabelle soon collected stories from others who'd been fired from jobs in a terrible manner, or fired from terrible jobs where they were actual
...more
Alice
Nov 21, 2012 Alice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Here are some problems with this book: 1. The stories aren't edited very well. Some tell one single cohesive (sometimes good) story, others just blather on about firing in general. 2. The stories are almost all written by famous people, most of them supposedly funny. Their humor makes it difficult to tell which parts of the stories are true, and they're not even that funny. This also means that they range of jobs people are being fired from is pretty narrow. 3. The categories the book is based o ...more
Karen
Feb 18, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
There were some laughs and it was a bargain on Audible.
Barry Davis
Feb 16, 2016 Barry Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Subtitled “Tales of the Canned, Cancelled, Downsized and Dismissed.” Ms. Gurwitch, formerly on the TV show “Dinner and and Movie” and an actor and comedian, was selected for an off-Broadway play by Woody Allen, who summarily dismissed her without ever making eye contact or using her name, saying, “You’re retarded.” After being fired by an entertainment icon, she found out that many others had similar experiences. This book recounts many of them, along with various statistics on such adventures. ...more
Melissa
I listened to the audio book which was read by the original authors in front of a live audience. Some of the stories were gems, some not so great, but the overall message I took away is that setbacks are just another part of life. Often our natural reaction is to be embarrassed of our "failures", but really it is just a bump on the road to success. No surprise that being fired makes some people want to use profanity (a lot!). You have been warned.
Laura
Apr 23, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This audio edition features a series of live monologues by show-biz pros who, at some point in their pasts, were canned. There are highs and lows, of course. I'd point to Jim Turner's story of being fired while being held prisoner in a speeding cemetery service truck and Sandra Tsing Loh's increasingly shrill monologue about the f-bomb that got her fired from public radio. Both center on a single word or phrase delivered repeatedly, but Turner's combination of deadpan and farsical show better co ...more
Jennifer
Some books are a like a fine four-course meal. You take your time. You appreciate every bite. You savor each delectable mouthful. When it is over, you feel like you've had an experience.

Some books are like comfort food. They fill you up and make you feel good inside. You crave more, and they make you feel better when you are feeling down.

Some books are like candy bars. They are sweet, easy to eat and gone in no time.

This book was a candy bar.

Now don't get me wrong -- I LOVE candy bars. (I love t
...more
Mckinley
Jan 24, 2014 Mckinley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The books starts innocently enough with a story from the editor about being hired and shortly thereafter fired by her idol, Woody Allen. She was miserable about it, but when she told others not only did they laugh, but many shared their own stories of being let-go.

It turns out that there are sub-categories to being fired and this book has examples of them all:
- the job so terrible you can only hope to be fired,
- the firing you didn't see coming,
- the time you deserved to be fired,
- the time gett
...more
Carolyn
LA Theatre Works provides a two and one-half hour fun-filled production in which actors, writers, and stand-up comics (plus one juggler) tell stories about how they were fired, some several times. There's also a movie which we may watch later this week. An entertaining diversion!
Cassie
Mar 27, 2009 Cassie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again, I wish I could give a book 3.5 stars. I enjoyed reading this book after watching a small portion of the Documentary of the same name directed by the author. I wanted to continue reading all of the stories of being fired but never felt the book really pulling me. Most of the stories are written by directors or actors who discuss being fired from menial jobs they held while pursuing their "dream". I wished there had been more stories from everyday folks. You can only read so many stories ab ...more
Christian
Feb 05, 2015 Christian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed most of the stories in the book. There were a couple that were a little dull, but for the most part it was funny and uplifting to hear how each of the contributors persevered. Great project!
Chrissy
Dec 19, 2014 Chrissy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
I'm just not a huge fan of these collections of tales like this. The subject matter is interesting and relateable, but in the end it's probably a book I'll entirely forget about in a week or two.
Megalion
Again a very early review... LOVING this so far. Each tale is to the point, entertaining and often with comeuppance in the end. Some by names I recognize, some I don't. Either way, I've yet to read a tale that failed to keep my attention.

Because of it's nature, it's great for a 5 min break read (aka bathroom read), it's also fast IMO if you sit and read. I have a hard time putting it down once I get a couple stories in.... The stories flow together really well.

Finish: Nothing to add really...
...more
Barbara
Dec 19, 2012 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
If you have ever been fired, you can place yourself in the same company as comedians Judy Gold and Anne Meara, actress Ileana Douglas, and filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. There are five categories of being fired, according to the book: (1) the job so terrible you can only hope to be fired; (2) the firing you didn't see coming; (3)the time you deserved to be fired; (4) the time getting fired leads you to something better; and (5) the time you had to fire yourself. The humor is uneven at times, but ove ...more
Bill
Aug 30, 2015 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Boring. Stories read by their authors, all of which, without fail, seem very full of themselves.
Catherine
I bought the book immediately viewing the documentary that Gurwitch also made about the subject. The stories about being "let go" range from the hilarious to the heart-rending, but all have one thing in common - each person has moved on to bigger and better things. So it just goes to show that we can learn quite a bit about ourselves, and others, from the failed relationships we might have had even in the professional arena.
Andrew
Jun 27, 2007 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people in show biz
Shelves: humor, cha
This was Alex's CHA selection. It was just a series of anecdotes from people who have been fired: some famous, some not. The stories were interesting and funny, but the vast majority of them were about people who were fired from acting gigs, which is not what comes to mind (for me anyway) when I think of the word "fired". Many of the people weren't even fired, just not called back. That aside, the book was a fun read.
Michelle
I think I may have listened to a different version on audio book, but this was still a fun and light jaunt to listen to while sitting in traffic. Anything helps, believe me. Some of the vignettes are better than others, but I could definitely identify with all the fears and failures!
Dave Gaston
Universally funny audio book, it is amazing that someone didn’t choose this subject before now. A series of short stories and stand up performances dramatically retelling the events surrounding the day they were fired. My personal favorite was the macho, “You be a man. I’ll be a man.” As an aside, amused to find this coded under business books. 10/23/06
Jason Fialkovich
A hilarious collection of essays about even famous people getting fired. This book took me a day to read while on my cruise. I recommend it to anybody looking for a quick, easy, and encouraging book that'll put alot of things in perspective and assure you other people go through difficult times. (No, I didn't get fired from my job!)
Andrea
While this group of essays was amusing, it was not as funny as I had hoped it would be when I picked it up. I have noted a number of things in my life being less enjoyable due to my high expectations lately (movies, novels, etc.) and it is something I am working on for my own personal growth.
Julie
Mar 30, 2008 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays-memoirs
I listened to this at work yesterday & laughed aloud. Creative people telling tales of getting fired, what's not to love? Apparently there is a movie with some firings that are not in the audio - I'll be watching that soon.
Charlayne Woodard, fired from Henry IV, is a highlight.
Mike
May 08, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a sly message. All of these folks got fired, but there is almost always a happy ending: success. The sin is not getting fired; it's to stop trying or to lose your sense of humor. In fact if you haven't been fired, you apparently aren't trying hard enough.
Brandy
Light, usually funny. Mostly TV/movie celebrities, with a couple of relative nobodies thrown into the mix. I'd imagine that it's a much funnier book if you've been recently shitcanned, but without that context? Funny enough, but with little lasting memory.
HeavyReader
I started reading this book one day at work when the computers were down and I didn't have anything to do, but couldn't leave. It is amusing. It is amusing to read stories of rich and famous people (mostly) in the entertainment industry getting fired.
Sarah
Dec 03, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's amusing, and it made me feel a lot better about my own sudden shift in career plans. It's not life-changing, literary masterpiece that makes you reconsider everything you thought you knew, but it was enjoyable and comforting.
John
Mar 29, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost as good as the documentary (watch it!), this book is equally funny, chilling and inspiring. It suffers a bit from too many show-biz stories, but still, well worth reading.

Now -- how about a sequel!
Donna
Apr 27, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious! Especially if you have even been fired from a job yourself. Some celebrities even share their embarrassing stories of getting fired from Hollywood and Non-Hollywood jobs.
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