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The Dangerous Animals Club

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,194 ratings  ·  170 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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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  1,194 ratings  ·  170 reviews

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Mar 31, 2012 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
Mary Blye Kramer
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book on SO many levels. Great humor. Great stories. Great writing. Great thoughts. A author with a lot of talents and wisdom and kindness. Love that he defied Hollywood and kept his name although he doesn’t explain how that happened. Maybe no one after the first agent challenged him? As a rabbi, I loved his reflections on the Bible and his reflections in general. What a nice person he must be.
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Short, humorous stories from the life of a character actor. You saw him in 'Groundhogs Day' and the TV show 'Heroes'. He also popped up in 'Deadwood'.

Nice, light, reading.
Sep 26, 2012 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
Oct 15, 2013 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
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is probably the best book I've listened to in 2017. Tobolowsky is an amazing storyteller. It was hilarious, poignant, and thought-provoking all at the same time. I'll be listening to/reading his other books! ...more
Karen Germain
Oct 08, 2013 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 22, 2013 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
Blake Dornfeld
Jan 17, 2013 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
Barbara Baer
Jan 24, 2014 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
Apr 14, 2012 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
May 07, 2013 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 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.
Apr 20, 2012 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
Aug 07, 2016 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. ...more
Patrick Devlin
Jul 29, 2013 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. ...more
David Alkek
Sep 10, 2013 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.
You'd definitely know Tobolowsky if you saw him - among a thousand other roles, he was the insurance salesman in "Groundhog Day" that Bill Murray ran into every morning: "Phil? Phil Connors? I thought that was you!" Who knew he was also a writer? And a good one at that.

This book is a collection of largely autobiographical stories - not really funny, but often amusing, sort of like listening to an interesting dinner guest. However, like most dinner guests, after a dozen or so such stories it was
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Books by stand-up comedians don't usually make me laugh, because so much of the humor depends on their physical delivery. Stephen Tobolowsky's book made me laugh, think, and laugh again. He mixes storytelling with religion, philosophy, physics and movie trivia in a way that's not only entertaining but unforgettable. I borrowed this from the public library, but I'm going to buy it for myself and for birthday gifts for everyone I care about. It's that kind of book. ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Stephen is not only a great actor, but a great author as well. I found this book very funny and I love his attitude on life. My favorite line was - " 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." What a profound statement. ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this and My Adventures with God by this author. He is a great writer. This book is his memoir about him becoming an actor and his adventures as an actor, on set. It is hysterically funny in places, and often moving. Highly recommended.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little of the impact was taken out by the fact that I'd heard most (all?) of the stories on the podcast, but still an enjoyable read. Even removing the weirdness of being an actor, Stephen Tobolowsky has had an unusual life, and has a gift for recounting the stories. ...more
laudanum at 33
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've been listening to The Tobolowsky Files for years and am glad I have finally been able to digest these stories in book form. He is a great storyteller and a gracious, kind man.

I had a great time reading this. That is all. My next book will be his follow-up, "My Adventures With God."
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this book is about Stephen Toblowsky and his adventures when he in an adult and a kid. Like one time when he was a kid he found a spider hole while with his friend so they flushed it out in order to get a spider but they got about 50 spiders so they just ran away.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This was the most satisfying book that I've read in a long time. Hilarious, deep, and hopeful - just what I needed. ...more
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A long time ago I was browsing books for my Kindle and randomly bought this due to good reviews on Amazon and because it was on sale. Fast forward to me finally getting around to reading it and I am really glad I did. I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It is a collection of short stories but many of them weave together. Some stories made me think, some made me laugh and some even made me cry. I really enjoyed his writing style and he has lived a very interesting lif ...more
Jodi Sh.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, essays
Very sweet and funny, as if you're sitting with Tobolowsky over coffee and listening to his stories. But at times, it rambles a little too much, becoming repetitive. ...more
May 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: judaism, gave-up
I like this other book, but i just couldn't get into it at this time. I have a real bias against Hollywood writers, but Tobolowsky is a good storyteller.
will probably try again later.
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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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