Reason and practicality are mean

As if his own comedy background wasn't impressive enough - former editor at The Onion and executive producer of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report - Ben Karlin has drafted in some comedic heavyweights to contribute to his book 'Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me'.

Like who, you ask? How's about Patton "The Wizard of" Oswalt, David Wain, Mr. Colbert himself, Bob Odenkirk, Nick Hornby, Larry Wilmore, SNL's Will Forte, and a few other comedians of whom I hadn't heard. Oh, and Karlin's mother provides a preface, charmingly entitled "I Think My Son Is A Catch". Apparently, the print version of the book has more stories than the audiobook, which is what I enjoyed, so hunt that down, completists!

The essayists are now in place, and the theme is made pretty clear by the title. So, is it any good? Like any collection - it is and it isn't. There are plenty of big laughs - Karlin's own essay is angry and funny, Patton's is about dating a stripper, Dan Savage's is the filthy (I know, right? Him?) story about how he progressively turned gay, Jason Nash talks about his own complete unlikeability and Colbert's wife heavily edits his contribution. Nick Hornby himself couldn't read his essay, so fellow Brit John Oliver provides the voice, which is just as appropriate, since the subject matter concerns Blitz-era London. And David Wain, who I've never much cared for - his effort is capital G great - if you've ever had an unreliable friend, you'll enjoy it.

At times the stories were sad, pathetic, desperate and once or twice, sort of pertinent. Everyone feels rejection, betrayal, disappointment - and apparently, some positive emotions too? - and these are usually softened by the laughs. (Larry Wilmore's piece, about his newborn daughter is very sweet, and sticks out a little in this collection). A couple of the writers didn't really have much to say and went for the "It's a guy's book, so let's be graphic with the body parts" approach, but that's ok. You need some balance. Even the story that is helpfully entitled "Don't Come On Your Cat" is, against all odds, sort of charming.

'Things I Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me' is an easy read/listen, and will give the guys (and the girls) plenty to chuckle over during this turbulent time.

Thank you, and good night.


lee said...

George Lucas got there first!

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