Gary Janetti, the writer and producer for some of the most popular television comedies of all time, and creator of one of the most wickedly funny Instagram accounts there is, now turns his skills to the page in a hilarious, and poignant book chronicling the pains and indignities of everyday life.
Gary spends his twenties in New York, dreaming of starring on soap operas while in reality working at a hotel where he lusts after an unattainable colleague and battles a bellman who despises it when people actually use a bell to call him. He chronicles the torture of finding a job before the internet when you had to talk on the phone all the time, and fantasizes, as we all do, about who to tell off when he finally wins an Oscar. As Gary himself says, "These are essays from my childhood and young adulthood about things that still annoy me."
Original, brazen, and laugh out loud funny, Do You Mind if I Cancel? is something not to be missed.
I want to start this review by stating, I am obsessed with Gary Janetti’s Instagram. The Prince George memes are absolutely incredible and I love Family Guy, always have. But, I didn’t love this book. It felt disjointed all the way through. He jumped around telling stories about growing up but I feel like I learned more about his favorite soap opera plot lines than I did about him.
I did enjoy the last two pages of the book, but would have loved reading more stories about him getting into the writing business and life after he moved to LA as well as his life before all that.
Do you want to get drunk over the course of a 150-page essay collection?! If the answer is yes, do I have the drinking game for you! While reading Do You Mind If I Cancel?, simply drink every time Gary Janetti:
-reminiscences about how hot he was in his 20s (bonus shot if he mentions his thick, dark hair or how impressively in shape he was!) -mentions a soap opera and/or musical you have never heard of (bonus shot if he mentions an obscure actress by name!) -declines to take an opportunity for self-reflection
Yes, it's a pretty short drinking game, but no worries! You'll be wasted in no time. Tell your friends!
I knew this would be funny, but it's also personal and honest and moving. Janetti manages to be vicious AND likable, even while chastising you for not knowing what Norma Rae is (I knew that one!). These essays are equal parts insight and acid, and you will love every second of them.
You would think autobiographical sketches by a writer/producer of 'Will & Grace' and 'Vicious' would at the very least be uproariously funny - but these are just shallow, silly and a bit sad. I almost ditched it at the 1/3 mark, and really should have. It would have helped also if the stories had been presented in chronological order, to cut down on a lot of repetitious back-tracking - but that would have made a short book even shorter, I suppose. Disappointing, to say the least (and not to be TOO catty, but Janetti keeps on - and on and on - about what a looker he was when young - which is sort of belied by the author photo of what he looks like NOW! Meow!)
have been a fan of Gary Janetti for years. I follow him on twitter and I am told his Instagram is hilarious. He constantly amazes me with his outrageously odd tweets.
I have also followed his career. As a producer and writer on Family Guy, the original Will & Grace, to being the executive producer and creator of Vicious, a hysterical show about an English couple, Freddie and Stuart, who have been together for over 50 years and their love/hate relationship with each other and their small group of quirky friends, he has certainly left his mark.
So with all that said, I was excited to read his book of essays, Do You Mind If I Cancel. But what I soon discovered was that Janetti had an extremely lonely childhood, who had no friends at school, who would run home after school to eat lunch (as there was no one to each lunch with at school) and watch a soap opera One Life to Live, one which he continued to watch until its end over 30 years later. He relied on his incredible imagination to keep him occupied and to drive his mother crazy!
He made his first friend while attending college at Hofstra University, where he also had his first relationship. After college he became a "writer" in name only. He said he was one, but never seemed to get around to being one. He was just waiting for the right time. To supplement his "writing" career he took on odd jobs. He was a receptionist, he did bike tours for American teenagers through Europe, but he spent most of his twenties as an overnight bellhop at a hotel in New York.
Essays also include his undying love for Patti Lupone, visiting the One Life to Live set as a child, traveling as a young boy and falling in love for the first time.
Although the pieces are funny and unconventional, as I believe he really is, there is also a feeling of sadness, loss, a missing out during his childhood, something I think we can all identify with to a certain degree.
And of course there was his moment of realization in which the soon to be thirty year old Janetti moves from being a "writer" to becoming an accomplished writer and producer and never looking back. Until now.
Do You Mind If I Cancel? (Things That Still Annoy Me) by Gary Janetti was somewhat of a disappointment. I was expecting something along the lines of David Sedaris and this was not it. I listened to the audiobook version in its entirety, thinking that the content would improve but alas, it was not meant to be. I did not find the book offensive, I simply found it extremely boring. Listening to numerous essays about someone’s sexuality is intensely uninteresting. I expected more humour and less ranting. This is only my opinion and I am sure that this book will appeal to many.
I laughed and even cried in parts at Gary Janetti's new book Do You Mind If I Cancel. Some of you may know Gary because he puts up hysterical memes on Instagram of Prince George. Some of you may know Gary because he is married to the amazing stylist Brad from the Rachel Zoe show and soon after his own TV show. Last but not least you may know Gary because he is an amazing television writer. No matter how you know Gary you should definitely pick up Do You Mind If I Cancel. You will laugh and you may cry (no? just me?).
I loved seeing pieces of Gary's life unfold in front of me. I felt like I was sitting down to dinner with an old friend.
Such a fun read.
Thank you Gary and Flatiron Books for my gifted copy of Do You Mind If I Cancel. All opinions are my own.
I won an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
I was not familiar with Gary Janetti when I entered the giveaway, but the praise in the description saying this would be laugh-out-loud funny and similar to Tina Fey or David Sedaris drew me in. Sadly, those descriptions were just completely untrue.
I thought this book started off fine, but the chapters seemed disordered. I have no idea how they chose which story to put when. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason.
It also seemed to end abruptly. It wasn't like it finally brought you to the point of Janetti finally becoming a Hollywood writer. It was just all of a sudden over. Once again,without rhyme or reason.
It bothered me how often Janetti seemed to pigeonhole gay men. Like, all gay men must be exactly like him. And yet most of the time he didn't even seem to like the parts of him he was describing. It made no sense to me. Also, if he brought up how supposedly attractive he is/was one more time, I might have thrown the book away. I get it, you think you're all that and a bag of chips.
The more I think about it, the more annoyed I get. It was just all so repetitive and mediocre. I don't know any more about who Gary Janetti is now than I did when I started. But now I have no desire to learn, either.
This is a deceptively short and simple collection of essays. I needed to read it because Gary Janetti's instagram is just...amazing. It's snarky and hilarious, and I love it so much. And, he's married to Brad Goreski. So obviously I needed to see what was up.
Janetti's trademark humor is certainly here. His humor is sarcastic and wry, which is often my favorite kind. The kind that's subtle enough that you could easily miss something hilarious if you're not paying attention.
I couldn't help, at one point, comparing him to David Sedaris. The comparison isn't exactly right, but I do think there are hints of Sedaris here. I do think Janetti tended to focus inward a bit more, perhaps? There are certainly outside observations, but the primary focus of these essays is on Janetti himself, and some of the landmark moments of his own life.
It's interesting because I went into this for the humor, and there's a ton of it, oozing from each essay. But, there are some some really raw moments and emotions behind that humor, which I think compounds the more you read. The themes begin to show, the way the stories connect. Janetti jumps around a bit in time period - shifting from him in grade school to him just after college, bach to high school, etc. But by the end, these are all pieces of a puzzle that seem to fit together just right. Earlier moments and stories become more clear or meaningful as you continue to read, and jump back to an earlier time period again.
The more you get to know Janetti - especially the Janetti in these pages, the one that was searching and growing and desperately looking for his place - the more meaningful stories about going to great lengths to play sick in grade school become. Life is hard, and Janetti doesn't exactly shy away from addressing how hard it can be, especially for a gay man coming of age in the 80s, but he does mask some of that hardship behind humor, and cuts the sharpness of the pain behind these stories in the way he tells them and very carefully orders them.
I really loved his final essay in particular - because it really brought everything up to that point together. Him, in this gay club, realizing that his younger years are behind him. There is so much present in that essay, including this subtle but incredibly powerful acknowledgement of the AIDS crisis in the 80s, something he was on the periphery of without probably totally realizing it at the time. There is this sense of an immense sadness as well as a crisis averted.
I just really enjoyed this book. It gave me a newfound respect for Janetti, and further appreciation for his talent with storytelling, the subtlety and power of his skill.
I feel almost guilty for rating this one so low because I did genuinely enjoy it and relate to it quite a bit. Yet it’s such a short book and I was really hoping for greater depth. Or maybe more humor? I love and follow the author’s Instagram account where he has endless hilarious parody posts about Prince George, imagining him as a young gay boy. Gary Janetti is hilarious. At least in internet meme form. In the book? There’s some fun lines that made me crack a smile but that was basically it.
Yet as I said, I really did enjoy the stories. I wasn’t fully sure what I was getting going into this and I’m still unsure what exactly to call it. Not quite a memoir because it’s told out of order. More vignettes, a gay male version of say Sandra Cisneros The House on Mango Street though that’s giving the book too much credit. I was a weird gay kid too, a lesbian who must have been a gay male in another life. So I was most amused, perhaps, by the similarities. It also reminded me a great deal of my gay male best friend (Hi Chris!). One of my favorites was the piece on Patti Lupone and a young Gary’s profound excitement at attending Evita on Broadway for the first time. I liked his letter to a younger version of himself and the youth hostel biking trip he lead through Europe.
Yet... the essays or pieces were kind of shallow, never quite as deep as they could’ve been while never as funny as I expected and I think I would’ve been thrilled with one or the other. The very last chapter where he mentions his sister’s job in a gay bar when he was 16, how much he looked up to those men, and then finding out a few years later they had all died, early AIDS victims was perhaps the most poignant. Still we kind of gloss over the real feeling. Gary mentions how much he would go back and instead of being shy and awkward, Shake their hands and thank them. There’s also a heartbreaking line where he writes how seemingly no one cares or noticed much, that gay men were disposable. How much more could this piece have been if he’d explored both those thoughts a little more. How much better could this book have been if it had been twice as long, with real heart and soul?
I imagine other LGBT and especially gay men may enjoy this one. I’m not sure many other people would get much from it. Most of the book is on Gary’s late teens to mid and late 20s and I think this worked so well for me since I’m less than two weeks away from my own 30th birthday and reflecting a lot on my life, on growing up (since my G-d, I really must be an adult now, right?), wondering where the time went and how radically different my life is, in ways good and bad, from what I ever would’ve imagined at 16. So there’s something worthwhile here. I just wanted more.
Look, I feel a little bad giving this two stars because it implies that it was bad. But really, it wasn't bad, it just wasn't an enjoyable read for me, a young straight Gen Z (I think?) woman. If you are the opposite of my four traits, you may enjoy this.
Gary Janetti is a gay white man who grew up in Flushing in the 80s on the bread-and-butter of young gay youth in the 80s: soap operas, Patti LuPone, Sonny & Cher, etc. Most of his essays are about this, along with other things related to growing up New York City-adjacent in a pre-Internet era, e.g. him working at a Bennigan's, him working at a (potentially well-known, but not to me) grocery store called Waldman's, him working at a somewhat fancy hotel in Times Square called the Paramount. Also many stories of his travels and adventures in romance as a young gay man who didn't come out til later than you'd expect. So, if you like reading about New York City, commiseration on how much better and also worse life was in the 80s, and stories about being a gay man, then this book might be for you. I chuckled a few times - it was decently funny, as expected from a guy who wrote for Family Guy and Will & Grace - but not my favorite humor book of the year.
Author Gary Janetti has been many things: Executive producer of hit tv shows (Will and Grace), writer for the tv show Family Guy and an actor. Add a hilarious author to his list. This book "Do You Mind If I Cancel?: (Things That Still Annoy Me) is filled with short chapters/essays about his life that will crack up even the oldest curmudgeon (is there a female word for curmeudgeon?) Anyway, this book is a irreverent, hilarious coming of age book...also a coming out book.
*I read an advance copy and was not compensated for it.
I love Gary Janetti's Instagram page and looked forward to more of his humor in this memoir/collection of essays. The humor carries through and I really enjoyed it. I started out listening to the audio book and do not recommend that. Gary is the narrator and I just couldn't stand his monotone cadence. Halfway through, I switched to the Kindle version and realized I much preferred reading his words myself.
This is one of the most ill-written memoirs I have ever read. Throughout the book, Janetti proved that he is completely out of touch and is largely inappropriate.
In several parts of the book, he perpetuates the idea that a gay man only has value if he has a muscular body. This is a dangerous idea to put out there and is harmful to the LGBTQ community.
Additionally, each essay lacks introspection. Instead, he just explains the events that happened to him and never reflects on what they mean or how they fit into the larger themes of the book. Janetti had the opportunity to write a powerful memoir that could have touched upon the AIDS crisis (as most of the essays took place in the 70s, 80s, and 90s,) but instead, he only talks about the crisis for a couple of paragraphs on the very last page of the book without any deep analysis on how it affected him.
I would recommend this book to no one, and I would especially steer people of the LGBTQ community away from ever even picking up the book.
I really wanted to like this book. The title was funny, the cover looked great, the author was a writer and producer of shows like “Will & Grace” and “The Family Guy”, and the reviews on the back cover were beyond promising (“rolling-on-the-floor funny”).
Unfortunately, I never rolled on the floor once, or laughed out loud for that matter. The stories in the book felt all very discombobulated, and it was hard to find a rhythm. The only reason I finished the book in the first place was because it was super-short (159 pages).
Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I had known who Gary Janetti was, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. The only reason I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 was because it did have a few funny sentences sprinkled throughout (“‘Dynasty’ was a sensation that took over the fucking country for a few years in the ’80s. It was our ‘Game of Thrones’, but with shoulder pads.”). I also really enjoyed reading the last chapter (“Café Sha Sha”), but that’s about it.
This is a quick read, and a really funny one. Several times I was laughing out loud at Gary Janetti's memoir told through stories. There were several that resonated with me, and the one that sticks out the most is the letter he wrote to his younger self. If only we knew that half of the stuff we worried about would turn out to be no big deal, how freeing would that be? The line that gets me tearing up every time I think about it? "Hug your dogs while you still have them." Gahhh.
To leave it on a funny note, the One Life to Live story is epic, mostly because that was my favorite soap opera, next to General Hospital, so I knew everything he was referring to. Also to have a whole story dedicated to Patti LuPone? Amazing. Go get this book, it was just what I needed, and hopefully you will enjoy it too.
Light memoir from a TV industry guy about growing up gay in Long Island and NYC in the 80s and young adulthood in the early 90s. Not bad, and could be great for anyone really into an 80s preppy gay aesthetic. Janetti pens chapter-long paens to Patti Lupone, One Life to Live, long lost jobs and old boyfriends. There's a bit too much of the 'in my day there WAS no Google, children', but otherwise an interesting glimpse into a vanished time and place.
One of my favorites! I haven't laughed or enjoyed personal essays since reading Jen Lancaster's first book! I can't wait to go back and read this a second time (only because I read most it of after putting my newborn to sleep ... and I would often fall asleep myself). If you appreciate honest writing that will make you "literally" laugh out loud, read this (oh! and follow Gary on Instagram too!!!).
Let me just say, Vicious is one of my favourite tv shows. I absolutely love it and his Prince George memes were funny at the start. So I wanted to love this. I really did.
But this just wasn't it. He comes across catty, deluded, attention seeking, dramatic, juvenile, self involved, arrogant, shallow and has the opinion that he knows best out of everyone in the world. He also seems to often over step too. (Like that woman who got him on the set of his fav tv show. The present was a nice gesture. But telling them what to write, giving them plots and ideas. Begging for a part. Leaving his number like he actually thinks that doing this will work out for him is just too much. He's completely overstepped the boundaries. That woman probably thought he was a bit odd.)
This just wasn't for me and was often a frustrating read. I don't know why they structured the essays the way they did. The constant jumping was annoying with no rhyme or reason for doing so.
You know when you're a young teenager going to see your favourite band in concert. Your mind wonders and you think about your eyes meeting that one member who is love of you life...well love of your life for now. You imagine them spotting you in the crowd and they falls in love with you. Blah blah blah. I did this and I'm sure a lot of young people do too. We imagine it happening but we don't actually think it's going to happen. We're not that stupid, for one the lights are too bright on the stage to make out most faces. And we tend to grow out of those fantasies in our later teens. Gary was doing this in his 20s and he actually seemed like he was pissed that it didn't happen like he wanted it do. It read like he thought it was going to actually happen. And when it didn't, he was puzzled and offended. Like the story of the old bloke who was gay. Just because Gary was young and a bloke, he expected to have the old guy salivating over him, as he worshipped the specialness of Gary. Because Gary is special. He's sooooo not like everyone else. Also, did you know he was a looker? He only mentions the fact about a billion times. It seems he generally expected people to worship him and fawn all over him. He acted like he was so shocked that the old guy actually wanted him to clean because he's gay and I'm a bloke. And I'm young. So how can he not want me? I dunno Gary, maybe he wasn't interested on someone who was a legit child 5 years ago. I mean, we're trying to move on from the sterotype that just because you like the same sex doesn't mean you're going to like every single person of your gender. You don't fancy everyone. It just didn't sit well with me. I just didn't like the way he seemed to shove all gay men into a single box. It's 2020 dude, can we not? It's all 'all gay men do this', 'all gay men like this'. Just because you share a sexuality doesn't mean you're carbon copies of each other. Did you know that gay men can't handle power? Did you know that every man behind a hotel front desk is gay? All male flight attendants are gay too! It's just tiring to read this crap over and over again. I get it might be a joke but it's just exhausting to read again and again.
I do think that Gary was probably emotionally stunted from not having any friendships in his crucial younger years. I think that's why Gary in his 20's reads as a child at 12. Gary loves attention and doesn't like to share it, even to this day. If someone on his insta writes a better caption to the picture he has posted, they receive a snarky reply that tells them that making up their own caption isn't welcome or wanted. You can't be funnier than Gary! That isn't allowed!
Tbh, I would rather have heard less about his childhood and the fact his fantasies never came true to when he actually started writing for shows. I wanted to learn more about what inspired Vicious. How did he manage to get Ian to act in it? I wanted writer stories from the writer. I wanted stories from the writers room on a tv show. Not what soap opera you watched and how much you loved it. I couldn't relate to these long paragraphs about soaps because I'm not American and therefore, will never watch a tiny bit of a single one so that particular essay was almost mind numbing. I did know who Susan Lucci is though! Thanks to watching each episode of friends about 20 times. I know she's the first lady of daytime television according to Joey.
Like the whole reason I read this was because I wanted to read what it is like to write for a tv show. I learned nothing because as soon as we got there, the book stopped. I was robbed.
Also, it wasn't funny, at least to me. But I do think one of the funniest things in the world is people falling over. So maybe I'm not the greatest judge of what makes a great humour book. I usually go by if i laugh...good. if i don't...bad (or not to my taste).
Also, as a chronically ill, chronic pain, disabled woman, the whole faking sick chapter was uncomfortable to read. You truly don't want to be sick every day. Eventually people get bored when you respond to 'How are you?' With 'I feel like crap' every time. People start to think 'Oh, you feel like crap? What else is new?!?'. Believe me, people eventually stop giving a crap when you're chronically ill. My 1st surgery was a big fanfare , my 30th was a text saying good luck from about 2 people, ignored by the rest. Health is the ultimate riches and you don't know how good you've got it until you don't anymore. People who love being sick do not sit well with me. But if people wanna swap bodies, I'll gladly give you mine, enjoy the constant pain, ps (prescribed) fentanyl helps xo Also, I hate asking for help, I will struggle with something for hours before it crosses my mind to ask for help. Crutches, frames, casts, it made no difference. Him desperate for a fake diagnosis? Just f*cking disgusting tbh. I have had to fight to get the correct meds for my chronic pain. It wasn't easy getting the right pain management for me and it still needs work. I know he was a child but that chapter should've been left in a bin, it paints him in such an unfavourable light. Like American health care is so expensive. How many thousands did his parents waste on all those tests and doctor visits?
And because he legit wouldn't stop going on about how much he was so attractive in his youth, I now want to see a picture of him in his twenties. You only stated you was attractive about 50 times, it is time to give us a picture and put your money where your mouth is. He was so attractive that he was suprised mcdonalds didn't hire him on the spot. He thinks it was insane that they didn't hire him because he was so attractive that people would've came into mcdonalds just to gaze at his face. He was also out of Tim's league aswell. He even gave out free stuff that wasn't his to give away if you complimented him.
It is weird when you read an autobiography of an actual person you like, then the book shows them in the worst light possible and you come out of it wondering why you ever liked them in the first place. Plus he wrote it himself so he can't even blame a dodgy writer spinning the narrative.
I was in the mood for a lighthearted, funny read and this one hit the spot. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Gary Janetti, he has been a long-time writer for Family Guy as well as one of the executive producers of Will & Grace. The book does not cover his time on either one of these shows, but rather his arduous and unlikely path to success.
Janetti provides a humorous and brutally honest insight into his journey to become a successful writer in Hollywood. You learn about his obsession with day-time soap operas, and his odd jobs at grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels in order to stay afloat. I literally found myself laughing out loud at times, especially during his stint at Bennigan's.
The writing is simple and easy to follow, which made for a very quick read. I would've preferred for his stories to be in chronological order because at times I wasn't sure when something occurred. At the same time, I feel like if I were to get into the inner workings of Janetti's mind, it would flow the exact same way his stories did (in the best possible way)!
Thanks to Flatiron books and Goodreads for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
If you like David Sedaris you will probably like this book. It’s quick and mostly light and funny. Gary talks about growing up in the 70s and 90s and groans a lot about how much life would have been easier had google existed back then 😂
My only critique would be that some of the stories would reference elements of other stories in a way as if he hadn’t just talked about it. The individual chapters weren’t as cohesive as it could’ve been. Still an enjoyable read!
⭐️⭐️⭐️💫/5, rounded up.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Loved it. After just reading an autobiographical essay book that I didn't love, I started thinking maybe the genre just wasn't for me. I am a die hard Gary Janetti fan. I am obsessed with Will&Grace as equally as I am obsessed with his Instagram account.
This book was funny but also had so much heart! I know a lot of people said they were sad he didn't really touch on his fame or days working on W&G, but I have a feeling he's saving it for another book, at least I hope.
This man imagines his fictional situations in his head in excruciating detail and I love him for it. He lived in his delusion and I say that as the highest compliment. The funny gay uncle I’ve never had - honestly such a serve.
I loved this book. It reminded me of David Sedaris without the earnestness and more of the snark. So really right up my ally. But a word of warning - he is generous with the f-bomb. It didn't bother me and in fact it made many of his stories more humorous but if you will be bothered - you've been warned. But come on - when he says "Dynasty was my generation's Game of Thrones but with shoulder pads" how could you not love this person?
I love the author, and I love the book, a collection of personal essays that are at once hilarious and poignant. I laughed out loud reading this on the subway, and will probably turn to it again and again to remind myself of how much worse life was without smart phones and Google, and how much better it is when you find your voice, and the right people with whom you can share it.