Wednesday, June 28, 2017

BOOK: Based on a True Story by Norm Macdonald

Based on a True Story by Norm Macdonald, 240 pages 

Norm Macdonald, Canadian comic, famous for his stand-up, his dry humour, his controversial time as host of SNL Weekend Update, a few unfamous movies like Dirty Jobs, and recently, playing Uncle Rusty on The Middle and a weird stint as Colonel Sanders of KFC fame, has written a 'memoir'. 

Before I started reading the book, I happened to notice on the copyright page: "The stories in this memory begin with the author’s recollection of events, which is – by his own admission – spotty.” Next I noticed the dedication - To Charles Manson (not that one). 

These were my first clues to the total foolishness that Norm Macdonald was up to.  Knowing that Norm is just telling a story with a long punchline let me in on the joke that is this book. I found it funny, but don't expect to read this and think you will gain insight into Norm Macdonald's life.  I will say I though the Manson joke paid off very well and I found the whole ghostwriter stuff pretty funny. 

I've followed Norm by times on Twitter, but he tweets too much to follow continuously. However, a few times I've read this stories on Twitter, such as the background to the Celebrity Jeopardy skit from the anniversary SNL show, which was pretty funny. He writes long stories on Twitter, which shouldn't be possible.

There may be germs of truth in the book, but most gets super exaggerated and flat-out made up. The whole gambling gambit, deal with the devil, falling out of windows are clearly made up. Some of the people are real (Adam Sandler, Lorne Michaels, etc) but I doubt the conversations are real. But once you get the humour, it just continues and you can enjoy the foolishness. I haven't seen all of Norm's stuff, so the famous answering machine joke was something I wasn't familiar with (and neither will you - he never tells that joke in the book) but in some reviews I've read, some of his jokes, like the moth joke, have been told before.

If you are half a fan of Norm, you might enjoy this, but it is not for someone unfamiliar with Norm's humour. I enjoyed the foolishness.