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Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  1,450 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
Growing Up Laughing is a compelling autobiographical journey--hilarious and heartfelt, intimate and inspiring. It is a book that only Marlo Thomas could write.

For as long as Thomas can remember, she's lived with laughter. Born to comedy royalty--TV and nightclub star Danny Thomas--she grew up among legendary funny men, carved much of her career in comedy and, to this day,
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2010)
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Lisa N
Dec 05, 2010 Lisa N rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A glimpse into Marlo Thomas’ glamorous childhood and acting career. She grew up in Beverly Hills a few doors down from Elizabeth Taylor and went to school with the children of Gary Cooper and Bing Crosby. At home, she was surrounded by legendary comedians.

The book is a superficial hodgepodge, perhaps more of a tribute to her father, Danny Thomas, than anything else. Her story is intermingled with brief interviews from several comedians, along with several jokes thrown in. I really enjoyed her s
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
This book could have been so much better with a little editoral advice. An author has to catch the reader's attention and then hold it; but this book's lack of structure disrupts any kind of flow. There is no chronology, even though it's nominally about Ms Thomas' life. I found it frustrating to just get interested in a passage or interview, turn the page--wham! into a totally different subject, time frame, or whatever. I enjoyed it at first, but by the end it had become difficult to stick with ...more
May 13, 2013 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I was a bit disappointed, after reading the book to its conclusion, I have revised my review. This autobiography was humorous, but not as humorous as I’d hoped for. I found the first half of the book slow-going, but half-way through, the author caught my attention with her touching account of life with -and without- Danny. Marlo Thomas provides a minimal but touching glimpse into what her family life was like growing up as the daughter of the famous comedian, Danny Thomas, constantly su ...more
Susie Lindeberg
Mar 07, 2011 Susie Lindeberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I simply loved this book. I watched "Make Room For Daddy" and then "That Girl" while growing up. "That Girl" & Mary Tyler Moore were idols to little girls with big dreams that didn't necessarily include the traditional family life. It's SO NICE to read a book about a celeb from the celeb's kid that portrays a wonderful, loving relationship. I know this book was written by his daughter, but it does sound like Danny is someone I would have liked in real life. This book brought many smiles to m ...more
Kathy (ebookkat)
When I saw that the ebook version of "Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny" by Marlo Thomas was available at the library I immediately downloaded it and started reading. Marlo's famous father was Danny Thomas, so even at an early age she was around lots of comedians. In this book Marlo explores her comic roots, shares memories, and includes interviews which she had with some of today's popular comedians. This enjoyable book was a fast read that contained some interesting stories. ...more
Dec 31, 2010 Janet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A predictable and disappointing memoir by Marlo Thomas,mostly about her father,entertainer Danny Thomas but quite superficial.I usually avoid celebrity biographies and this confirms that choice.
Dec 15, 2010 Sidna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book on a whim because I was a fan of That Girl and Phil's show. It was better than I expected. Marlo talks about growing up in luxury in Beverly Hills, but not in a bragging kind of way. You hear a lot of people who grew up poor say they didn't know they were poor when they were kids because everyone they knew was in the same boat. Marlo has the same attitude about growing up in a wealthy suburb. She didn't know any other way of life. She also talks about what it was like having h ...more
May 09, 2011 Ann-Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I absolutely loved this book! It is a wonderful combination of autobiography, a view of the comedic talent of her father, Danny Thomas & the others of his generation (Syd Caesar, George Burns, etc) and interviews with current comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Griffin, Steve Colbert, Jon Stewart. Interspersed with the interviews and the story of her life. Marlo gives us some of the funniest one-liners and stories of these amazing talented funny men and women ...more
Oct 22, 2012 Mandolin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nature vs. Nurture. What is the secret behind the talent of the incredibly funny people that, with a single word or look, can render us uncontrollable with laughter, grasping our sides in near-pain as we roll in the aisles? They render us powerless with their words and lighten our worlds for just a brief moment in time, allowing us to forget - or even find the humorous in - the trials and pains of life. Are their skills inherited from funny parents? Are they adaptive responses to a difficult chi ...more
Sep 15, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As summer turns to fall, find a moment to read this book. By turns it is wickedly funny, charming, AND heartbreaking. But for me, it was a warm fuzzy. Here is a strong, independent, vocal woman who keeps her identity within a strong marriage, has strong family ties and gives back to the community AND the world. Oh, if there were more role models and mentors like Marlo Thomas. I never missed an episode of "That Girl" when I was a kid because I SO identified with her. I knew there was MORE out the ...more
Kathleen Meacham
If you are looking for a traditionally written biography, then this is not the book for you. I read all 379 pages of it, and still do not know very much about Marlo Thomas. How can this be, you ask -- doesn't the title include the words "My Story"? The style of the book is that Marlo sprinkles a little of herself between other chapters which are based on interviews that she has done with various comedians -- Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Alan Alda, etc. She wants to know how they became funny, wh ...more
Nov 19, 2010 Robin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
A little disappointing. The writing is a little bland, and not hilarious, considering it's about growing up surrounded by funny people. Still, if you LOVED "That Girl" and grew up with all of these comedians, it's a sweet and light reminiscence piece that you can dip into from time to time if you don't feel like reading it all the way through.

To be fair, I loved the parts about the old days, especially about the "the boys," Sid Caesar, George Burns, Milton Berle, Carl Reiner, and all, and how th
Oct 18, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This would have gotten five stars if the author had told more about herself. Marlo Thomas reveals a lot about her father, her mother and her growing up lives with a whole slew of comedy geniuses as her "uncles" around the house, she doesn't share as much of herself like how tough it was to get "That Girl" made and her current life. If you're a fan of Danny Thomas you'll delight and tear up at the poignant vignettes sprinkled throughout the book. I also wasn't as happy with one of her chapters an ...more
Sep 08, 2012 Janie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I remember as a child watching Make Room for Daddy with my family and loving the show. I really don't remember it except for Danny Thomas chomping on his cigar and yelling at Uncle Toonus. Perhaps I loved the show so much because I identified with Angela Cartwright, because my Dad too traveled a lot. Staying up late and watching comics and hearing my Dad laugh are happy memories, so of course I picked up the book. After all, who didn't want to be "That Girl" growing up?
I really enjoyed the book
Oct 15, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I checked this out of my library after hearing Marlo do an interview to promote it earlier this month. Marlo's childhood, growing up as one of the daughters of Danny Thomas was quite extraordinary, and it was a pleasure to read about her wonderful memories and appreciation for her special childhood. I also enjoyed reading the interviews with so many of the comedy legends who were part of her childhood because of their close relationships with her dad and because of her own career. Like Carol Bur ...more
Dec 12, 2010 Debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was apprehensive about the way this book was laid out. The chapters alternate between Marlo Thomas' tales of growing up with her comedian father and the stories of other comedians like Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Kathy Griffin and Joan Rivers. However, not only did the format work, it prevented the book from being just another memoir about growing up in old Hollywood with a famous parent. What really impressed me was how each person articulated the importance being funny held in their lives. ...more
Julie Mendel
Jan 03, 2011 Julie Mendel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an uplifting memoir! A typical memoir is one of the hard childhood or the rough rough road from drug abuse to sobriety but Marlo Thomas has delivered a memoir that is uplifting, accepting the life she was born into and celebrating the awesome friendships and relationships she was awarded simply for being born to Danny Thomas.

The book is truly a memoir and not a biography of her father; while Danny Thomas was clearly influential in her life, the book includes interviews with Ms. Thomas' con
May 19, 2012 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. It has a bit of everything - fascinating glimpses into the life of her father and his career, her growing-up years, her life as an actress, and some good interviews with well-known comedians. She even throws in some actual jokes - and most made me laugh out loud. This book had me both laughing and crying. I felt that I was right along with her as she described some of her life events. Although there were poignant moments, the funny ones far outnumbered those, and I ...more
Jan 04, 2011 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A charming little book. Marlo Thomas combines a memoir of growing up in Beverly Hills as the daughter of funny man Danny Thomas and surrounded by the giants of comedy like George Burns, Sid Caesar, Bob Hope, Milton Berle and Bob Newhart. She also includes stories of her own acting and writing career and marriage to Phil Donahue. In addition, there are interviews that Marlo had with the leaders of contemporary comedy--Chris Rock, John Stewart, Jay Leno, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, etc. to uncover ...more
Aug 20, 2010 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marlo Thomas is an actress, author, feminist, and director of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. I have always been an admirer of Thomas and am even more so after reading her memoir. Thomas is an excellent writer and has done a terrific job weaving together personal anecdotes and interviews with comedians to capture the essence of laughter and comedy in only a way that Thomas can. Afterall, Thomas is the daugther of the late great comedian, Danny Thomas, from whom her passion for comedy ar ...more
Feb 08, 2011 Ilyse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It was light and lovely. I found, like with Child Star, that as a memoir it meanders and sometimes what makes sense to Ms. Thomas make me have to flip back pages to figure out what she was talking about. I liked some of the comedian/enne interviews, but not all. I don't know that I loved Ms. Thomas' interviewing style. I did enjoy the jokes smattered throughout and I loved reading the love that she had for her father and the respect that she had for him and the comics of his ...more
Sep 03, 2012 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book by a friend while I was on a trip. I was tempted to, you know, conveniently leave it in the rental car or airport. But when I finished the book I had brought for the trip, I was happy I had this to read. Oh my goodness, I'm so glad I didn't "lose" it. Part of the book is a memoir about her life growing up as Danny Thomas's daughter and telling the reader how she tried and succeeded in breaking into show business. But to me, the far more fascinating part of the book were the ...more
Nov 04, 2010 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to read this book because I remember loving "That Girl" and "Make Room For Daddy" and all the old comedians of that long ago era. It was an interesting read, although I found myself hoping the Marlo Thomas would "get real", which, sadly, she never did. I really wasn't looking for dirt, I'm just tired of people painting their lives with a brush of perfection. I do realize that she did not want to trash her family, and I appreciate that. The book was interesting and thoughtful with i ...more
Aug 05, 2011 Sanyashnick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, humor, memoir
Well this was a good book. Marlo Thomas is the daughter of famous-comedian Danny Thomas, and she shares anecdotes from her childhood growing up with a comedian for a father.

She also interviewed 20 successful comedians about their childhoods. She asked what inspired them to pursue this career, when they first realized they were funny, and about their general thoughts about comedy.

Overall, I enjoyed learning more about these funny people. It was cool to see what many comedians shared in common and
Apr 23, 2011 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, biogrpahy
Fun, though I skipped around quite a bit, ignoring some parts. This book is part autobiography (Marlo Thomas), part biography (her father Danny Thomas), and part a discussion with famous current comedians on what is funny, and where humor comes from. I love reading about the comics who started on vaudeville and radio, before going into TV, so I love reading about Danny Thomas. I also loved reading about Marlo's life as a child of a famous comedian and her exposure to all the great comedians, who ...more
Sue Seligman
Oct 18, 2010 Sue Seligman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this memoir of Marlo Thomas's life growing up as the daughter of Danny Thomas. I remember watching Make Room for Daddy with him, and later That Girl was one of my favorite shows when I was around 11 and 12 years old. I couldn't wait to live on my own in NYC, which I actually did for nine years. Marlo interjects the experiences of contemporary comedians among her childhood memories, and it is evident that those who make us laugh belong to a very tight knit community and have overcome va ...more
Claudia (CJ)
Oct 01, 2010 Claudia (CJ) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book or at least most parts of it I loved. Reading about Marlo Thomas's life growing up in a loving family was great. There where always famous people over to the house etc. Later her life and marrying Phil Donahue. Loved reading about all this and St Jude. She has always been a favorite of mine since "That Girl". (starting in 1966 how can that be!)
She has lots of interviews with other comedians which I really didn't care to read. Most (not all) where people I don't like to begin wit
Apr 19, 2011 kathi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I read further into this book I began to really enjoy it. As the daughter of Danny Thomas, the comedian, the author was able to meed many of the greats in show business....some of the greatest comedians in history. She would write a chapter on her life and then throw in an interview with a famous comedian or anecdotal brief stories about those that are no longer living. Some corny jokes were also added although imagining the delivery by a performer like Jack Benny, George Burns, et al made th ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Ray rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography
Sad. For a woman who broke ground in TV and started a revolution in the industry, you learn nothing of that. Instead u get what seems is a somewhat fabled recollection of her childhood (she glosses over any misdeeds her father had with the family). There is barely a mention of "That Girl" and her other TV work, which is what we want to know about. One would almost think she is not fond of those years and the ground she broke. Instead we get interviews with celebrity comics, which I still can't f ...more
Jan 18, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: she-ro, memoir
Marlo Thomas was a childhood shero to this little feminist. It was fun to read about her family growing up; most of this memoir focuses on her famous father and all the comedians she knew growing up. Anyone hoping for a thorough autobiography will be disappointed, but I really enjoyed the funny stories and the insider view of Hollywood in the "Golden Age." Frequently interspersed are interviews Marlo did with comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Whoopi Goldberg. Some of these are good, some not so ...more
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