Almost Interesting by David Spade
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm a sucker for a comedian's autobiography. I figure, even if their life turns out to be uninteresting, at least there's a good chance I'll get a laugh or two out of the book. David Spade hasn't lived the most exciting life and he may not be the funniest dude in the world, but that didn't stop him from making this a fairly enjoyable book.
I read this on the tails of Tobias Wolff's excellent This Boy's Life and they're both similar in that each memoir contains estranged fathers and strange stepfather's. But that's pretty much where the similarities end. David Spade is funny, imo, but he's no writer. He lacks Wolff's eloquence, but hey, so do most people!
With that being said, I listened to him read his own book and can tell you, the man can perform. He outshined Amy Schumer's disappointing autobio, which I listened to a few months back. It wasn't so much that the content was necessarily better, rather it was the delivery. He's able to sell his stories and enliven his bits with a punch of inflection and energy in just the right place. That's important, because otherwise his snarky attitude and slacker's voice could've sunk this book.
Almost Interesting breaks no new ground in the memoir genre. It starts at the beginning. however, Spade is smart to quickly rush through his early years, picking out only the most poignant episodes of his childhood. Then he dwells on his formative adolescence for a bit longer. But this is the thing that kills me...Almost immediately he starts in about "chicks" and "getting laid". While he is quite self-aware and not a total creeper, this becomes a recurring topic from the pages regarding childhood right up to the end of the book.
I'm not surprised by the above. I happen to have first-hand knowledge of Spade's attempts with "the ladies". Late one night at a Taco Bell in Beverly Hills round about '97 or '98, my buddy and I were getting our taco fix on when in walked David Spade. He had a baseball cap pulled way down over his eyes in an attempt not to be noticed...as celebrities do, and thus get noticed. The huge bodyguard shadowing him didn't help his covert operation. I noticed him right off, but didn't bother him. In fact, nobody did even though a few were pointing and nodding, so he probably would've got in and out with no fuss like he seemed to wish to, except that decided to make a play on this gorgeous, 6 foot, all dolled up woman over at the hot sauce island. She barely looked at him before taking off. The bodyguard's demeanor never changed through out, so either he was a true professional or he'd seen this scene played out a few times already. Ah, poor David...you sinner. (Yes, that's a light Tommy Boy reference.)
Speaking of Tommy Boy. It's one of my guilty-pleasure favorites. Joe Dirt, too! Yes, they're "stupid" brain candy, but man, there some genuinely funny moments in both. So, part of my desire to read this bio was to hear a little backstory on both movies, not to mention his time on SNL. Spade delivers with some solid anecdotes here. I thought he might dwell on Chris Farley's tragic death and its affect on him, but Spade proves to be above playing for sympathy on that account. The book makes clear the deep impact Farley's friendship had on him, but he draws the line at revealing too much emotionally personal info.
If you're not a fan of Spade's personae, this won't change your opinion and you might as well steer clear. For all other's, I can recommend Almost Interesting and suggest listening to this surprisingly fun audiobook.
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