Monday, June 3, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me by Howie Mandel

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

A frank, funny, no-holds-barred memoir that reveals the Deal or No Deal host’s ongoing struggle with OCD and ADHD–and how it has shaped his life and career.

Howie Mandel is one of the most recognizable names in entertainment–respected by his peers and beloved by audiences as the host of the enormously popular prime-time game show Deal or No Deal. With a career that spans three decades and many different show-business platforms–he’s a renowned stand-up comedian who continues to perform more than 150 sold-out shows a year, he created the award-winning TV show Bobby’s World, he’s starred in feature films and the hit TV series St. Elsewhere, and he’s also hosted his own daytime talk show–he’s one of the most versatile performers anywhere. But there are aspects of his personal and professional life he’s never talked about publicly–until now.

Eleven years ago, Mandel first told the world about his “germophobia.” He’s recently started discussing his adult ADHD as well. Now, for the first time, he reveals the details of his struggle with these challenging disorders. He catalogs his numerous fears and neuroses and shares entertaining stories about how he has tried to integrate them into his act. “If I’m making myself laugh,” he writes, “then I’m distracted from all the other things going on in my head that are, at times, torturous.” And he speaks frankly and honestly about the ways his condition has affected his personal life–as a son, husband, and father of three.

Fans who’ve been dying to know “the deal” behind Mandel’s remarkable rise through the show-business ranks will be rewarded with many never-before-told anecdotes, each one generously leavened with Mandel’s trademark humor. There are tales from every phase of his colorful career–from his early days as a teenage carpet salesman and aspiring stand-up comic to his stint opening for Diana Ross, his six years on St. Elsewhere, and beyond.

As heartfelt as it is hilarious, Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me is the story of one man’s effort to draw comic inspiration out of his darkest, most vulnerable places. It’s sure to please Howie Mandel’s legion of fans–and provide hope to the millions who strive to succeed in spite of OCD and ADHD.

The first time I saw Howie Mandel on Deal or No Deal he seemed familiar, but I didn't know why.  I don't remember watching St. Elsewhere (which he was in for several years), but in his book, I also learned that Howie was the voice of Gizmo in Gremlins, Animal (and other characters) in Muppet Babies and Bobby in Bobby's World.

I liked Howie in Deal or No Deal.  I'm not sure if this book made me like him a little more or a lot less.  I think a combination of both. 

It was interesting to read (well "hear"...I listened to the audiobook) about his struggles with OCD and ADHD.  It sounds like he was fortunate enough to come from a loving home and somehow found the most patient woman in the world to put up with all of his antics over the years.  The honesty and openness is what made him likable, yet the stories themselves (the seemingly apologetic stories of cruel jokes he played on a friend and even his son) and the narcissistic theme throughout the book left me with an overall negative impression of him as a person.

That said, the book is funny and I didn't hate it; I'm just not sure I'd ever want to know Howie Mandel personally. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Bossypants by Tina Fey

ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):

Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)

If you like Tina Fey, this book will make you like her even more.  Besides being hilarious, Tina comes off as very down-to-earth and honest about her real life struggles (and the fact that her real life "struggles" are probably not really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things). 

I "read" this book in audiobook format and it was so fun to hear Tina tell her story in her own words - from growing up in Pennsylvania to doing amateur improv in Chicago to Saturday Night Live to 30 Rock (and simultaneously moonlighting on SNL as Sarah Palin while simultaneously planning her daughter's birthday party). 

Fey made me laugh as she talked about her father (Don Fey):

"How can I give her what Don Fey gave me? The gift of anxiety. The fear of getting in trouble. The knowledge that while you are loved, you are not above the law."

...and her honeymoon adventure, her interview with Lorne Michaels at SNL and even as she described her struggles with being a working mother.

I highly recommend this book for whenever you want something lighthearted and fun to read.  If you are offended by language, however, this book may not be for you.