Based on a True Story: A Memoir

Norm MacDonald. Spiegel & Grau, $28 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8129-9362-2
In the spare moments of a Las Vegas gambling adventure—replete with murderous loan sharks, drug and alcohol binges, and sexual misadventures—comedian and Saturday Night Live alum MacDonald recounts predominantly fictitious tales from his life and career to his companion (and podcast cohost), Adam Eget, who's portrayed as a dunce. Some MacDonald fans will enjoy the comedian's signature mix of dark absurdity and sophomoric antics (many of the gags in the book are recycled from the comedian's prior work), but general readers will find little to appreciate in this uninventive and meandering adventure narrative. Many of the details and sentiments that MacDonald shares about his childhood, his 1990s tenure at SNL as host of the Weekend Update segment, and his current experience as a working comic past his prime are surely true. For the most part, however, MacDonald steers clear of introspection and disclosure, choosing instead to make up stories and tell jokes. MacDonald does deliver some hilarious material—for instance, recounting a supposed confidential conversation with Rodney Dangerfield in which the late comedian admitted that despite his wealth and fame, he secretly felt disrespected. On the whole, however, MacDonald's faux memoir is not nearly funny enough to justify the reader's time. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/15/2016
Release date: 09/20/2016
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-1-4434-1429-6
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-8129-8386-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-0318-9
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4434-1431-9
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