Sunday, July 06, 2008

Review: I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America's Top Comics

I happened across I Killed (Compiled by Ritch Shydner and Mark Schiff, foreword by Jerry Seinfeld) in the library. I've really enjoyed watching Last Comic Standing of late, so it was nice to find a book related with standup.

The book is simply a fun, at times bizarre collection of short true road stories from all types of comics. Some of the bigger names in here are Chris Rock, Leno, and Mike Myers. The real appeal of the book is that it makes no illusions about being 'successful' - most of the stories generally revolve around topics such as groupies, hecklers/bad gigs, and bizarre stories.

I appreciated that the book covered a wide range of comedians from big timers like the aforementioned Leno to the very obscure. Very few of the stories are longer than two pages, so you're never bored. Also, the authors were smart enough to not put the stories in any particular grouping so you don't know what type of story will follow.

The best stories are by far of the bizarre variety. D.L Hughley for example goes to show in Alaska. After the show, he gets a call to his hotel room. A woman says something unintelligible and he hangs up. A little while later, he sees a woman in front of his door who he describes as not that cute so he doesn't open up (plus he doesn't know anyone in Alaska). He calls security who tells them to call the next time she knocks. He does and security is able to catch her. In her bag it turns out is not a gun, or a knife, but a hatchet! He jokingly ends it by saying, if she was cuter I would've been dead.

Another funny one was from Ant. A booker called him for a gig in twelve hours in Arkansas paying $200 bucks - more than it would cost to get there, but he just wanted to rack up more stage time. The gig was in a small town and a welcome sign to the city read 'Proud Home of the KKK.' Ant sheepishly asked if the KKK hated gays in additional to Blacks and Jews. The driver replied 'I think it's just blacks and jews but there is talk of adding Koreans to the list.' The venue was packed. Ant asked who everyone was here to see. The driver replied 'they're here to see you. You're Antler!'
Ant: 'I'm just Ant. Antler is another comic out of New York who's this huge racist comic'
Driver: 'Oh well, have a good show.'
After he came out of the closet onstage the crowd started to get unruly. Thankfully a huge man named Bubba managed to get him out of there.

For anyone who enjoys seeing standup, or has an interest in it, this is a fun light read.

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