This is a straightforward autobiography. Having said that, it contains a lot of the stuff that I usually attach to Poehler, i.e. quick turns of eventsThis is a straightforward autobiography. Having said that, it contains a lot of the stuff that I usually attach to Poehler, i.e. quick turns of events, fast dialogue and fun stuff. The good parts that I was hoping for, but didn't expect, were those where she extrapolated on her youth and her hurt. For instance, what she refers to as her demon:
Dating in high school was very different. Boys suddenly went up your shirt. Girls were expected to give blow jobs and be sexy. You had to be hot but not a slut. You had to be into sex but never have it, except when your boyfriend wanted it. If you had sex you had to keep it a secret but also be very good at it, except not too good, because this better be your first time. Darling Nikki masturbated to a magazine, but Madonna was supposedly still a virgin. It was very confusing. Once high school started, I began to see the real difference between the plain and the pretty. Boys, who were going through their own battles started to point out things about me I hadn’t yet noticed. One told me I looked like a frog. Some told me I smiled like a Muppet. A senior told me to stop looking at him with my “big, weird eyes.” I looked in the mirror at my flat chest and my freckles and heard a sound. It was the demon, suitcase in hand. He moved in and demanded the top bunk.
Now, as I continue, please know a few things. I usually find any discussion about my own looks to be incredibly boring. I can only imagine what a yawn fest it is for you. But I cannot, in good faith, pretend I have fallen in love with how I look. The demon still visits me often. I wish I could tell you that being on television or having a nice picture in a magazine suddenly washes all of those thoughts away, but it really doesn’t. I wish I were taller or had leaner hands and a less crazy smile. I don’t like my legs, especially. I used to have a terrific flat stomach but now it’s kind of blown out after two giant babies used it as a short-term apartment. My nose is great. My tits are better than ever. I like my giant eyes, but they can get crazy. My ass is pretty sweet. My hair is too thin for my liking. My Irish and English heritage and my early sun exposure guarantee that I am on the fast track to wrinkle city. Bored yet? Because I can’t stop.
The bad thing about this book is the lack of editing. Where Tina Fey's "Bossypants" excelled, was where she was able to wrangle her experience and scatterbrained existence into a quite coherent book, but Poehler doesn't succeed even remotely as well. I wished her editor could have skinned a lot of the information that regards her children, and her pregnancy; it's just too much, and not interesting (to me). Still, this book is a rock-solid breeze in comparison with Lena Dunham's "Not That Kind of Girl".
Apart from the lack of needed editing, it's really interesting to see how Poehler comes at writing a book, having a relatively long career already in writing for TV and film:
Authors pretend their stories were always shiny and perfect and just waiting to be written. The truth is, writing is this: hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not. Even I have lied about writing. I have told people that writing this book has been like brushing away dirt from a fossil. What a load of shit. It has been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver.
She does touch on a lot of stuff that we all come across in our young years, which is heartfelt.
Is there a word for when you are young and pretending to have lived and loved a thousand lives? Is there a German word for that? Seems like there should be. Let’s say it is Schaufenfrieglasploit.
The girls were a tough bunch as well. I was pushed into a locker and punched by a cheerleader. One girl pulled my hair at lunch because she thought I was “stuck up.” It was bad to be “stuck up.” It was also bad to be a “slut” or a “prude” or a “dexter” or a “fag.” There were no openly gay kids in my high school. My school had a quiet hum of racism and homophobia that kept all of that disclosure far away. Every year the girls would have a football game called the Powder Puff. The girls would play tackle football on a cold high school field while the boys dressed as cheerleaders and shouted misogynist things at everybody. It was as wonderful as it sounds. I played safety and tried to talk my way out of getting beat up. I saw a girl hike the ball and then just go over and punch someone in the nose. There was so much hate and hair spray flying. Black eyes were common. I started to learn that as much as I chased adventure, I had little interest in the physical pain that came with it. I also realized I didn’t like to be scared or out of control.
Doing comedy for a living is, in a lot of ways, like a pony and a camel trying to escape from the zoo. It’s a ridiculous endeavor and has a low probability of success, but most importantly, it is way easier if you’re with a friend.
I like her straightforward way of telling us what she likes in comedy.
For me, as a person in comedy, I am constantly weighing what I feel comfortable saying. There are big differences between what you say on live television and what you say at dinner, but you realize you have to be responsible for all of it. Each performer has to figure out what feels right. I am a strong believer in free speech and have spent most of my adult life in writers’ rooms. I have a high tolerance for touchy subject matter. There isn’t a taboo topic I can think of that I haven’t joked about or laughed at. But I have an inner barometer that has helped me get better at pinpointing what works for me and what feels too mean or too lazy. I like picking fair targets. I don’t like calling babies on websites ugly or comedy that relies on humiliation. I love ensembles and hate when someone bails or sells their partner out. I love watching a good roast but don’t think I would be particularly good at roasting someone. Maybe it all comes down to what you feel you are good at. I have a dirty mouth but know that I don’t always score when I work really blue. I have a sense of what kind of jokes I can get away with and still feel like my side of the street is clean. I like to lean my shoulder against limits and not depend on stuff that is shocking.
Her tales of working on Saturday Night Live match those that I've read about in books like Tina Fey's, and the immaculate interview book named "Live From New York", which is to say you basically give up your life to be a performer on SNL and any sense of time as well. All is frantic, and a minute is ample time to get 20 things done.
One day before a Wednesday read-through, Rachel Dratch threw her back out and had to lie down on the floor. Host Johnny Knoxville offered to help and pulled ten loose pills out of his pocket before realizing none of them were painkillers.
When Ashlee Simpson’s song screwed up, Dratch, Maya, and I were dressed in Halloween costumes for Parnell’s “Merv the Perv” sketch. We screamed and ran into Tom Broecker’s wardrobe department and hid under a table. Maya was dressed as a pregnant woman in a catsuit. I was Uma Thurman from Kill Bill. Dratch was Raggedy Ann. I remember us huddling together buzzing about the excitement of that weird live moment and then someone saying, “At least 60 Minutes is here.” For those who don’t remember, 60 Minutes was doing a profile on Lorne and happened to be there. Jackpot, Lesley Stahl!
“Relax” is a real tough one for me. Another tough one is “smile.” “Smile” doesn’t really work either. Telling me to relax or smile when I’m angry is like bringing a birthday cake into an ape sanctuary. You’re just asking to get your nose and genitals bitten off.
All in all: it's entertaining and quite funny, but somewhat caves in a bit after 70-80%. The bits where she writes about sex - especially where she, I don't know why, tells women that yes, they have to bite the bullet some times and just have sex with their men. Also, thinking only men and women exist as genders is pretty CIS and boring and daft. Still, this is an interesting book and it made me laugh a few times, but I prefer Tina Fey's book....more
Or rather, it contains a lot of great information and thought-worthy elements, but given Brand's a) ADHD way of acting outThis book is fair. Not more.
Or rather, it contains a lot of great information and thought-worthy elements, but given Brand's a) ADHD way of acting out - which I think works well in condensed textual form, or while performing stand-up - and b) how the book should have been much better edited, it's a bit of a failure.
Brand obviously caters to Noam Chomsky - whom I love - and Bill Hicks - whom I also love - but can't pull off what they brought to the table. I mean, his thoughts are interesting but not much more. I hope this book will work as a kind of trampoline for people who will reach Chomsky and Hicks because of it....more
To me, graphic novels are, at best, almost like hip-hop: it's limitless, unbound and completely open.
Henrik Bromander is expert at constructing graphiTo me, graphic novels are, at best, almost like hip-hop: it's limitless, unbound and completely open.
Henrik Bromander is expert at constructing graphic novel stories that combine the unusual, profane, human and fantastic with inner thoughts - and putting them to paper. I'm amazed at his output, having read only two of his graphic novel collections. I can't wait to read more.
These stories shocked, alarmed and questioned me. The one thing I feel that I can nail down before reading a story by Bromander is the fact that I won't be able to work the plot out, neither the story nor the dialogue, but I know that it's likely to be a trip through a slew of unpleasant emotions, before landing at the end of the story, which is also likely to be unusual.
Order this from Bromander (firstname.lastname@example.org) now, as the book's out of print with the publisher....more
This books is mostly like a count-down of things that Dunham's done or not done, things she cries about and decries; her style of writing is very westThis books is mostly like a count-down of things that Dunham's done or not done, things she cries about and decries; her style of writing is very western, in the sense that she's a privileged person who has her neuroses, much like a modern-day Woody Allen in her way.
Basically, any paragraph from this book works as a reference to how Dunham writes. For example:
You wouldn’t know it to see me at a party. In a crowd I am recklessly cheerful, dressed to the nines in thrift-shop gowns and press-on fingernails, fighting the sleepiness that comes from the 350 milligrams of medication I take every night. I dance the hardest, laugh the hardest at my own jokes, and make casual reference to my vagina, like it’s a car or a chest of drawers. I got mono last year, but it never really went away.
A line like the following is interesting:
He had the severe face and impossibly great hair of Alain Delon but said “wicked” more than most French New Wave actors.
I mean, it's like a stream-of-consciousness way of looking into Dunham's head but I'm slightly irritated by the anecdote itself. I can't really explain it. It's just me.
Other times, I think her style works very well (for me):
There was a particularly raucous party in the loft above the video store. I wore Audrey’s fancy wrap dress, and we drank two beers each before we left and split a Xanax she still had from a flight to Boca with her grandma. It hit me hard and fast, and by the time we showed up I was possessed by a party spirit quite alien to me. Audrey, on the other hand, became dizzy and after much deliberation went home, making me promise to treat her wrap dress with the proper respect. I missed her keenly for a moment, then snorted a small amount of cocaine off a key, before kissing a freshman and dancing into the bathroom line, where I showed people how easily Audrey’s wrap dress opened and explained how “bogus” the creative writing department was.
I love her TV series "Girls", and this book kind of hammers in the sensitivites of the series in a good way, while being prolix and slightly too nagging for my taste. Apart from that, I must say that Duhham throws a lot of insight into her daily thoughts, her sexuality and everyday ways, fears and emotions, which I seldom see. I can get really bothered with her nagging, but her insight makes this book almost a complement to Tina Fey's "Bossypants", as written by somebody who's along the same walk of life as Dunham, but older and perhaps wiser.
I also like Dunham's way of responding to people thinking she's "brave" for revealing her body on screen:
And my mother always knew that, hence her Nikon raised high and pointed right into the mirror. She sensed that by documenting her own body, she was preserving her history. Beautifully. Nakedly. Imperfectly. Her private experiment made way for my public one. Another frequently asked question is how I am “brave” enough to reveal my body on-screen. The subtext there is definitely how am I brave enough to reveal my imperfect body, since I doubt Blake Lively would be subject to the same line of inquiry. I am forced to engage in regular conversation about my body with strangers, such as the drunken frat boy on MacDougal Street who shouted, “Your tits look like my sister’s!” My answer is: It’s not brave to do something that doesn’t scare you. I’d be brave to skydive. To visit a leper colony. To argue a case in the United States Supreme Court or to go to a CrossFit gym. Performing in sex scenes that I direct, exposing a flash of my weird puffy nipple, those things don’t fall into my zone of terror. A few years ago, after I screened Tiny Furniture for the first time, I was standing outside the theater in Austin when a teenage boy approached me. He was tiny. Really tiny. The kind of tiny that, as a teenage boy, must be painful. He looked like a Persian cat’s toy mouse. “Excuse me,” he said shyly. “I just wanted you to know how much it meant to me to see you show your body in that way. It made me feel so much better about myself.” The first result of this was that I pictured him naked, which was stressful. The second was extreme gratitude: for his generosity in sharing, for my ability to have any impact on the body image of this obviously cool and open young gentleman (after all, he was seeing a fringe women’s-interest film on a school night). “Thank you so much.” I beamed. “You’re really hot.”
And I do love the complain-with-your-friends bits at times:
We often spent Isabel’s lunch break in Pecan, a local coffee bar where we disturbed yuppies on laptops with our incessant—and filthy—chatter. “I can’t find a goddamn fucking job and I’m too fat to be a stripper,” I said as I polished off a stale croissant.
This is a lot better than volume 5, which to me was more of a fevered sprawl of a collection rather than this, a focused epic tell that leaves behindThis is a lot better than volume 5, which to me was more of a fevered sprawl of a collection rather than this, a focused epic tell that leaves behind a trail of the unknown and a waft of promise of what might turn into a more complicated turn of plot.
Tommy goes further into the maze that is the cabal, while trusting his companions; the enemy gains ground also, and a Mesopotamian fable is unfurled.
All in a day of the life of, you might say. The seasoned reader knows what to make of this....more
As Tom Taylor continues surveying the Universe as he once knew it to be, it continues crashing around him. As he is wanted forThis was quite a treat.
As Tom Taylor continues surveying the Universe as he once knew it to be, it continues crashing around him. As he is wanted for multiple murder, he is also being desired by different creatures alive and dead, from his ordinary world as well as from fables and his vanished father.
And Mingus, the winged cat, is cute as a button.
All in all: exciting, making me long for the third collection of stories regarding...all of this....more
Human and funny, dirty and real. This is the second volume of what happens to the main character, Buddy Bradley, after he during the mid 1990s leavesHuman and funny, dirty and real. This is the second volume of what happens to the main character, Buddy Bradley, after he during the mid 1990s leaves American Seattle for New Jersey together with his girlfriend, Lisa, to go live in his parents' house. His decrepit old dad is mean and his younger brother, dishonourably discharged from the navy, stays at home and gets up to no good, which drives Buddy to try and start a new business with a friend. Things get more complicated as his relationship with Lisa moves in different directions and his "friends" edge him towards all kind of edges.
Of course, Buddy's master of his own destiny, and as such perhaps isn't the best captain of his own ship...
This is a very human, heart-felt second omnibus of comics from the depths of low society-life where Buddy confesses to living as a snarling, optimistic yet dirty scoundrel. Funny, original and I really liked the characters; I will most definitely get the third volume....more