Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book of the Month, May 2011

I love books. They're fun, educational, and they can be used in the making of delicious meals!

As a sports fan and a lover of sports books, I'm busting to read Tom Shales' and James Andrew Miller's oral history of ESPN, "Those Guys Have All the Fun." It promises to be ripe with anecdotes, scandal, and behind-the-scenes intrigue. The fact that Little, Brown has embargoed the book--no advance copies to the press--only makes me more excited.

Part of the reason for my anticipation stems from Shales and Miller's prior effort, "Live from New York," an oral history of "Saturday Night Live." The authors interviewed countless stars, guest hosts, writers, producers, and other talent to craft an addictive read into the inner workings of a comedy institution.

And some of the revelations on folks like Chevy Chase, Nora Dunn (hated by her female costars, Victoria Jackson and Jan Hooks), and Milton Berle are eye-popping. Especially Berle's classic line about his infamous appendage: "What do you think of the boy?"

However, Shales and Miller's work isn't the only must-read about SNL. I also recommend Jay Mohr's backstage memoir of SNL, "Gasping for Air," and the wonderfully reported "Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live" by Doug Hill and Jeff Weingard. And let's not forget another wonedrful oral history that I profiled previously in these parts: "The Chris Farley Show."

The last two titles actually might be the best books about "SNL" that I've read. Anyone have any other suggestions?

Until next month, read in peace.

P.S.--Vastly underrated skit: John Belushi (pictured) as Joe Cocker.

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