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You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman
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You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  685 ratings  ·  126 reviews
Beloved TV comedic actor Phil Hartman is best known for his eight brilliant seasons on Saturday Night Live, where his versatility and comedic timing resulted in some of the funniest and most famous sketches in the television show's history. Besides his hilarious impersonations of Phil Donahue, Frank Sinatra and Bill Clinton, Hartman's other indelible characters included Ci ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by St. Martin's Press
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Andrew Hicks Current? Kate McKinnon
All-time? 3-way tie between Dana Carvey, Will Ferrell and Phil Hartman.

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3.48  · 
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 ·  685 ratings  ·  126 reviews


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Lee Anne
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
2 1/2 stars, really.

A perfect example of "good research doesn't make a good book." It's clear author Mike Thomas read some books and magazine articles and conducted some interviews. But he is completely unable to take that information and use it to breathe life into his subjects. Admittedly, Phil Hartman had a bit of that cliched comedian personality, where he was only himself when he was being someone else, a bit of a cipher and hard to reach offstage, but Thomas' writing abilities render him u
...more
Andrew Hicks
Nov 29, 2014 rated it liked it


For a perfect example of Phil Hartman's genius on "Saturday Night Live," look no further than the 105-second 1989 commercial parody Colon Blow . As the off-screen announcer tells him about the insanely high-fiber cereal, Hartman reacts with several dozen facial expressions, all of them effective, none of them overwrought.

Hartman, for my money, was one of the three best cast members in SNL history, a man of a thousand voices and characters. He made mediocre material look good, and he made grea
...more
Lisa
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it
I wanted to give this biography 5 stars, just because of the subject, but this book was in better need of an editor or proofreader. Obviously extensive research was done, but it still didn't flesh out the essence of Phil Hartman. If I hadn't had previous knowledge of him and his work, I don't think I would have been moved by his story and how he died, just by reading this bio.

I believe the author didn't want to attack Brynn Hartman too much, but in doing so, left us with a skeleton of a characte
...more
Scott
Oct 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Phil Hartman has always been a big part of my pop culture consumption; I watched SNL faithfully while he was on the show, and NewsRadio is one of the best sitcoms of the last two decades. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (which he helped write) is one of my all-time favorite movies. In my opinion, SNL has never recovered since he left it.

I also vividly remember where I was when I heard that he died. I was 16 and I was in my high school library. I was in shock and didn't recover for some time. It seemed u
...more
Michelle
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"You Might Remember Me.." (Troy McClure: "The Simpsons") this very long awaited biography authored by Mike Thomas, that the fans of the late comic genius Phil Hartman (1948-1998) will appreciate! Thomas portrays this brilliant funny man from a journalistic angle, through research, interview, and quotes of family, friends, colleagues. Thomas noticeably avoids judgment or personal opinion of Hartman's life so overshadowed by his tragic death.

From Brantford, Ontario, Canada his faithful Catholic pa
...more
SouthWestZippy
Ok book with little of his background in youth,beginnings into the celebrity life, work life and a little of home life. I found myself ok with the book. I did not found out anything new nor did I just want to keep reading. It was a good go back to and read a little here and there book. He was such a funny man and the way his life ended was so unfair.
Matt Lohr
Feb 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Mike Thomas's "You Might Remember Me" is a book I wanted to enjoy a lot more than I actually did. Phil Hartman is one of my all-time favorite "Saturday Night Live" cast members; I might put his "The Sinatra Group" in my top ten favorite sketches ever from that show. I am also an enormous fan of "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," which I believe many people probably forget he co-wrote. Thomas's book, which is admittedly snappily written and extremely fast-paced, does touch on all of these works, but it n ...more
Ben
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
For anyone who watched Saturday Night Live or The Simpsons in the early to mid 1990's, it's impossible to hear the name Phil Hartman and not feel a sharp pang of heartbreak for the loss of such a great talent - and a sharp pang of anger for the person who caused that loss.

Even though a sense of dread permeates this book, it's a terrific portrait of a creative, proud, ambitious man with a couple fatal flaws - a habit for picking the wrong women, and a selfish streak that unnecessarily antagonized
...more
David
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I only knew Phil Hartman from the Colon Blow sketch on SNL. I saw this book at the library and thought, what else did this guy do that was funny? A lot! Phil Hartman was an SNL legend, and went on to deliver the fabulous Troy McClure character on the Simpsons. Sadly, he was taken too soon. Most biographies dig into a persons life and explore events that led to that person becoming who they were, whether that be a childhood trauma, etc. This biography does not do that, but rather acts like a time ...more
Brian Butts
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I feel like this book was written specifically for me. Hartman's death in 1998 was the first time I can remember being really saddened by the death of someone I'd never met. This book tries to paint a full picture of Harmtman, flaws and all, as told through his careers and three marriages and overall succeeds in doing so. A little disappointed at the surface level overviews of his time at SNL, Simpsons, and News Radio (it focuses much more on his personal life). I could have read 5,000 pages of ...more
Julie
Oct 05, 2014 rated it liked it
I was interested to read about the life of Phil Hartman. His murder at the hands of his wife was so painful and shocking, that it was somehow comforting to read about all the triumphs and failings that preceded that moment. Hartman deserves to be remembered for all of his talents, not just for his time at SNL or the violent way he died. The author did a good job of examining Hartman's virtues and foibles, putting his life in context. He was not a perfect man, but was an extremely talented actor, ...more
Mary
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Other readers have mentioned that they felt like Thomas didn't really capture the essence of Phil Hartman despite great research. I think Thomas got every nuance Hartman was willing to share. So often great comedians are unknowable ciphers when you get past the laughter. Hartman was a genius, not an open book.
Brent
Sep 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Hartman, SNL, and comedic acting
Recommended to Brent by: Atlanta-Fulton Public Library
I enjoyed remembering the focus that I enjoyed in Hartman's performances. This fine book gives more detail than we might need or want to enjoy his comedy. But I loved being reminded of his work, partly because I could not watch the SNL 40th special on TV.
Hartman's flaws are well documented here. For his genius, we found the SNL skits all on Yahoo.
Recommended.
Linda
In all of Saturday Night Live, Phil Hartman was my favorite. I went on to watch News Radio partially because he was on it. I was subsequently deeply saddened when he died so young and unexpectedly.
This book is a well researched explanation of his life but no adequate explanation of his death. Hartman comes across as mostly a decent, contented man.
Cathy Godfrey
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting bio about Phil Hartman about his life and how he came to be on SNL and beyond. Anyone who is a fan would enjoy reading this book. I found out somethings that I didn't know so I felt it was worthwhile for me to read.
Benjamin Wallace
I'm going to cry at the end. I know I will.
Katie
Sep 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
This book desperately needed an editor!
Kev Willoughby
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since Phil Hartman's tragic death. He was one of my all-time favorites on SNL and one of my favorite actors in general. In "You Might Remember Me," however, author Mike Thomas presents Hartman's life as devoid of the humor he portrayed on screen. Instead, Hartman is depicted as a troubled soul who struggled to truly connect with others and whose marital choices proved not only a detriment to his career, but ultimately the reason for his untimely death ...more
Teena in Toronto
Phil Hartman (1948 - 1998) was an actor. He was born and lived in Brantford, Ontario, until his family moved to the States when he was about ten. He graduated from university with a graphic arts degree and designed album covers for bands like Poco and America.

Hartman joined the comedy group The Groundlings in 1975, where he met Paul Reubens and helped him develop his Pee-wee Herman character (he co-wrote the film Pee-wee's Big Adventure and was Captain Carl on Pee-wee's Playhouse). In 1986, he
...more
Ghym
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
[FYI: TONS OF SPOILERS.]

I started watching Saturday Night Live back in 1987. It was a big deal, I was only 11, and I had to ask my mother if I could stay up for it. Glad I did, because it pretty much changed my life and rocked my world. From that night, I fell in love with the show, particularly the comedy trifecta of Phil Hartman, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. They created some of the best characters on that show, and I think they're SO underrated every time SNL history is mentioned. (Just this y
...more
Angie
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vince Osorio
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
My original review didn't save, I'm not rewriting it.

This is an incredibly thorough- sometimes too thorough, frustratingly not thorough enough- biography about a talent the likes of which we haven't encountered since his passing.

This is also a harrowing, ultimately gut-wrenching tale about two people who brought out the worst in each other. Phil, an introspective, closed-off, unaffectionate man who loved the idea of love but never wanted to put the work into a relationship. Brynn, a highly funct
...more
Jim
Nov 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Disappointing read. The writing was not compelling, it felt thrown together, there were typos and in the end, you felt no closer to knowing who he was than before reading it.

Also, what happened to their kids? The deaths were 20 years ago. They must be in their late 20s and early 30s by now. It's interesting that the little boy guessed his mom had done it. I wonder if he has ever spoken to anyone about what happened?

I wonder why Julia Sweeney liked Brynn so much?

Someone else has to write this boo
...more
Arthur
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Phil Hartman, so this was a really great way to get reacquainted with the life of one of my favourite comedians. This books gives a detailed account of his early years, his shot to fame on Saturday Night Live, the highs of his career and his tragic murder at the hands of his wife. It is both a wonderful tribute to a man whose comedy was loved by many, and a sad reminder of the great talent that was taken far too soon.
Robin
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Phil Hartman was always one of my favorites on NL and the Simpsons. While I found his story compelling, I just didn’t like the writing in this book. It was interesting to learn about Phil’s career designing record albums and the development of his comedic career, and I was very saddened by the details of his tragic end. The book was well researched and very thorough, but it reads like a mediocre college paper.

I received an advanced reading copy of this book.
Koren
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I didn't know a lot about Phil Hartman before I read this book. Mostly I remember him from Saturday Night Live and his impersonations of Bill Clinton and I remember he was killed by his wife. I was mostly curious about what happened with his wife. Interesting book and I would recommend it to his fans.
Moose
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Writing is at turns poetic and suddenly very clunky-- akin to the intros on Dateline murder mysteries. But it's a solid book about an interesting man, one of my heroes growing up and the performer of a generation.
Bill Koester
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting book if you were a fan of Hartman's. The sections about his work on SNL and The Simpsons were a lot of fun. But it gets pretty depressing when it gets closer to the end, and you know that tragedy is coming. Still, a good read.
James
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Very nice biography of Phil Hartman and tribute to Phil Hartman. Never knew the comedy troupe he came up through however, I did know him from Saturday Night Live and post SNL. His roles as caveman lawyer and many others were very memorable and funny.

Tony Christ
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A sad story. The author does a good job of telling Phil's life and struggles. It seems like Phil was always trying to find himself and he wasn't satisfied with what he had.
The author's tracking of the last hours of Phil's and Brynn's life was the best part.
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