Positioned as a smart volume on modern life in these here United States, these 17 essays from comedian Miller (whose career highlights include roles in Seinfeld and Waiting for Guffman) often read instead like a collection of random thoughts in need of an editor. Fortunately for Miller, he's got a fine-tuned comic sensibility and a winning personality, and his object-""to be funny""-is realized to fine effect. To find a subject, on the other hand, Miller has cast a wide net: the ""contrasts"" and ""opposites"" that make contemporary American culture like a ""pendulum that only swings to extremes."" As such, he takes on varied but familiar topics such as politics, movies, family and alcohol, with forays into the entertainment industry and multiculturalism, in a haphazard, digressive manner. In ""What It's Like to Be in Show Business,"" for example, Miller turns the spotlight on the Emmy Awards, only to deliver a roundabout discussion of foot massages, formal attire, the Titanic, product placement in movies and TV shows, fictional 555 telephone numbers, and swag bags. Though almost entirely unenlightening, Miller's thoughts are often entertaining, written in an arch, conversational tone that fans will recognize from his stand-up; those fans, along with patient and open-minded readers, will find Miller's authorial debut a diverting pleasure.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2006 Release date: 10/01/2006 Genre: Nonfiction