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True Story

3.11  ·  Rating details ·  223 ratings  ·  27 reviews
True Story is Maher's debut novel about the wild and crazy life of the stand-up comedian -- a bawdy, rowdy tell-all report from the front line.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  223 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Set in 1979 and 1980, before the big comedy boom of the 1980s, “True Story” is about five comics trying to make a name for themselves during the birth of stand-up comedy. Before anyone could just walk on stage and call themselves a comic, the comedians in Maher’s book embody the starving artist; refusing to take normal jobs while they travel across the country to hone their craft. Each comedian struggles with their own identity, their ego, and conflicts with women and seedy club owners.

Maher fi
Raegan Butcher
Apr 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: women who want to understand men
A novel about a group of aspiring stand-up comics. Bill Maher should be commended for so accurately revealing the inner workings of the male mind. It isn't pretty (and is probably shocking to females) but this damned near perfectly captures how we think when it comes to sex, sex, sex!
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: listened
What the heck? Kind of funny, but what the heck?
Oct 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: borrowed, dnf
I like Bill Maher, and when it was mentioned in a recent interview that he'd written a novel - I sought it out. I was simply curious. It was dreadful. I read two chapters. Skimmed through the rest. There were five characters, all male, named Dick, Shit, Fat, Chink, and Buck. Names based on the themes of their acts. Except few of them actually had an "act." Mostly wishful thinking. Most of the early part of the book was a discussion by this 5 of the girls they'd fucked on the road. (their word, n ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This book is very difficult to review. It is smart, insightful, and very funny. But the very racist slurs it contains have not aged well to say the least.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Some good innuendos and chuckles. Lots of big words. Haha!! Absurdly funny! Listened to audiobook of Bill Maher delivering the lines.
Aug 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: tv
Bill Maher compiled this sausage-making story of the standup comedy boom in the late '70s/early '80s. His characters are stock enough not to even need proper names, while the story gives an overview of the challenges, personalities, and shortcomings common in that field.

The book was written pre-Politically Incorrect and Real Time, though this edition was not published until late into the PI era. I couldn't believe I'd never heard of it until recently, and Maher's voice is clear in the sardonic prose, but not dispre-Politically
Apr 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Managed to be readable, which in the world of fiction is nothing to shake a stick at. Not particularly likeable but still a great glimpse into the world of comedy that went extinct before my time. I have a soft spot for this book and bill maher that I understand most people don't have, but give this a shot if you can track down a copy.
Serge Boucher
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Maher said most authors kept writing their first novels over and over again, so he would write only one. It's a decent one : has Maher's comedic style all over it, shallow but relatable characters, and awkward situations. It is unlikely to transform American literature, but it is a funny little book nonetheless, especially if you like comedy and comedians.
The good? This was pretty funny-- occasionally brilliant-- and gave me an insight into the inner workings of professional comedians. The meh? The plot was so-so, which is totally to be expected, and the flow felt a bit forced. As if this was born of a few funny sketches then bonded together in a flimsy manner. Still, this was a decent "lazy Sunday" read.
Lee Istrail
Oct 09, 2007 rated it liked it
Funny novel about "professional comedians" with widely varied personalities. Some of the jokes that the characters find funny are not, but there's plenty of humor, romance, and surprise to keep you entertained.
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Mostly pretty funny. Good job (as far as I know) of describing what it's like to be a stand-up comic in the late 70's/early 80's. But jeez there's way too much of boys chasing girls in it. Some story lines not quite completed or explained.
Jun 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
I listened to the audiobook which was a mistake I guess. I either fell asleep or it didn't download properly because I didn't quite follow it and it wasn't as funny as I normally expect of anything by Bill Maher. And, I thought there was going to way more sex in it. Bummer.
Jul 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
I wish I could give this book less than one star. It's truly, truly, a horrible waste of paper. One of the worst books I have ever had the misfortune of opening.
Dec 12, 2016 rated it liked it
A decent novella about life in the comedy world. It gives an interesting look into the comedy world, but is overall pretty unmemorable.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Read on vacation in Mexico. Started off really really funny. Even laugh out loud funny. Fizzled near the end.

Great inside look into a comics life.
Jan 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
Excruciatingly bad. The characters are named (really, they are) Fat, Buck, Chink, Shit and I don't remember the rest. Dreadful.
treva mccroskey
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
i think i need to start reading books only written by comedians.
Daniel Lee
May 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Not overwhelming good but a somewhat honest and surprising stab at novelistic story telling from the man I usually only rely on yo call people out on their bullshit.
John Mitchell
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
A clever and hilarious take on life in the trenches of stand-up comedy.
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Sketches the specific (birth of the standup comedy scene) and the universal (dealing with arrested adolescence) with surprising economy and grace.
Adam Christian
Mar 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Don't get me wrong, I adore Bill Maher, but this book was humor mostly above my head. I may try it again in future.
May 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
Bill, I love ya, man, but stick to non-fiction. Goodnight everybody, be good to your waitress, try the veal!
Aug 03, 2011 added it
crude and nearly plotless...I thought someone as witty as he would put forth a much better effort! =[
Emily Andrews
Jun 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I was so disappointed with this book. I love bill maher and think he is brilliant, but the plot was lame, the characters disappointing and I think I got a paper cut from it.
Apr 17, 2008 rated it liked it
It's just funny, that's all. I'd give it 3 and half stars if I could...and I'd read it again in a few years when I can't remember it anymore, as is the case with almost everything I read. :)
Brian Mcdaniel
rated it really liked it
Dec 11, 2015
Kostas Lopsaitis
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Sep 15, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Mar 27, 2019
rated it it was ok
Sep 15, 2010
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William Maher, Jr., is an American comedian, actor, writer, and producer. He hosted the late-night television talk show Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central and ABC, and is currently the host of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. On June 1, 2006, he also began hosting an Internet-exclusive talk show on entitled Amazon Fishbowl.

Maher is known for his political satire and sociopolitical commentary. H
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“When opportunity knocks all some people can do is complain about the noise.” 12 likes
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