Saturday, February 03, 2007


I picked up this memoir by Phil Rosenthal, creator of TV's Everybody Loves Raymond, for research, as there's a character in my novel-in-progress who's a comedy writer and I thought it might have some good info for me. My intention was to skim it and move on.

But after one page I knew I wasn't putting down this book until I'd read every delicious word. It's not only hilarious, but so charming I feel like I've just spent a vacation with a favorite friend. A very smart, very funny favorite friend. Plus, it taught me more about the inside world of sitcoms than I'd even hoped. For instance, it helped me to understand why--despite talent, hard work and vision--it's nearly impossible to get a quality show like Everybody Loves Raymond on network television.

But honestly, even if you're just in it for the laughs, this book is worth the price. Hell, the fruit-of-the-month story alone is enough to make me recommend it. And that's not even the funniest part (for my money, it's his description of the "all-inclusive" vacation from hell). My only complaint about it is the ugly cover. This treasure of a book deserves better.

And oh ... I see that it's available in audio format, narrated by the author. I just played the clip and he's got this delightfully anachronistic Old New York accent. Sounds like a cross between Top Cat and Nicely Nicely from Guys and Dolls. To hear a clip, click here, and then on the button under the cover image.

My friend Robin Slick wrote a funny and insightful review of Neil Gaiman's new book, Fragile Things, on Susan Henderson's Litpark. Check it out!

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