Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Maybe We'll Have You Back: The Life of a Personal TV Guest Star, by Fred Stoller (foreward by Ray Romano)

Maybe We'll Have You Back:
The Life of a Perennial TV Guest Star
Author: Fred Stoller (foreward by Ray Romano)
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication Date: April 1, 2013
Do you know who Fred Stoller is? Yes you do, you just might not know it. Check out his IMDb page. He has a hundred credits. Go ahead. I'll wait. Now do you know who he is? Oh right, he's THAT guy! You loved/hated him on [insert name of almost any sitcom here] that one time. He's been an annoying waiter, an annoying ticket taker, an annoying guy on the street, even an annoying biker. But I don't really find him annoying. In many ways he's my favourite guy whose name I never knew.

Maybe We'll Have You Back is the story of a perennial guest star, a working actor who is able to live by his craft but never quite "hit the big time" as they say. I have a number of friends who are working actors and it's not a bad thing to be. Sure, you have to hustle to make sure you get your next gig, but it's pretty great to be able to support yourself doing the thing you love best. So I think this book will have tremendous appeal to a working actors or those who aspire to be one. On the other hand, it's the story of someone who never got his own show and never became a household name, no matter how much people loved him or how many jobs he booked. So maybe young actors would find that a little depressing. Fred Stoller certainly does.

The book is, for the most part, sincere. He's really talking about what it's like to be a comedian who spends his life auditioning or booking one-week gigs. As such, it's not always "funny." Sure, Fred Stoller is funny, but this book is like having a conversation with him, not going to see his act. It's a memoir of a comedian rather than a comedy routine. Which is fine. It is what it is.

Hit the jump to see my favourite clip of Fred Stoller in action...

This is probably my favourite Fred Stoller bit ever. I know it's only one minute long, but it's the part I remember most from a movie that's nearly ten years old, so that just goes to show how important one minute can be. (Note: There's mild swearing in it and the video quality isn't great. Sorry.)

Fred Stoller as guy at the phone booth, Dumb and Dumber (1994):

Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from Edelweiss (Above the Tree Line). I was asked to write an honest review, though not necessarily a favourable one. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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