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The Book For Whatevs

mirman.jpg
(Very nice Eugene Mirman photo by Chaunté Vaughn.)

If you don't know, I'm a hardcore stand-up comedy geek / fan. This means a couple of things. One: I like to laugh, and two: I can't knit.

This also means that I sometimes obsessively study stand-up routines, watching someone do the same set night after night to see how it changes, and how the audience's response to a joke changes. For some reason word choice and language in relation to comedy fascinates me. It's why I was delighted that Patton Oswalt included two different versions of the "KFC Sadness Bowl" bit on his Werewolves & Lollipops album. It's why I liked watching the Comedians of Comedy tv show, but more so I liked watching that Dane Cook Tourgasm show at the same time. Not because I particularly find Dane Cook entertaining, but it was amazing watching Jay Davis try and fail and try and fail to make the phrase "killing with kindness" in to a joke.

This also means I buy lots and lots of books written by comedians. Most of the time, they're autobiographies, and in the case of Drew Carey's Dirty Jokes And Beer, they may include a chapter entirely comprised of one line dick jokes. Sometimes it's a concept book -- like anything The Daily Show writers put out, or John Hodgman's The Areas of My Expertise (and its sequel), which I may not have been cool enough to understand, but I appreciated the lycanthropic transformation tables. I even bought Bill Maher's fiction novel about a group of stand-up comedians working the circuit in the eighties: True Story: A Comedy Novel. (It was not so good.)

Finally, there is a book that caters to my sorta-almost-not-quite hipster status. It's called "The Will to Whatevs," and is a book that I bet more than one Borders employee mistakenly filed under "Self Help." It's an advice book that covers many topics in life: How To Get Through Grade School, How To Behave At Dinner Parties, How To Start Your Own Dictatorship. I don't know if any of you have read Ben Stiller and Janeane Garafalo's "Feel This Book," but it's a lot like that, except halfway through it doesn't devolve in to an uncomfortable retelling of why their relationship ended. (Maybe it was supposed to be uncomfortable. Anyway, I'm sure Christine Taylor loved reading it between takes on the set of Heat Vision and Jack.)

The Will to Whatevs: A Guide to Modern Life is written by Eugene Mirman, whom I find very funny. I even got to see him perform at Pitchfork's Music Festival last summer. If you watched The Flight of the Conchords, you may recognize him as the landlord. If you watch Bob's Burgers, he voices Gene, the totally awkward middle child who doesn't know when to use his indoor voice and is annoying in the most endearing ways. (And now you know why I identify with Gene, BECAUSE HE'S HILARIOUS AMIRITE?) (I can't find the episode of Bob's Burgers where Gene fights a bully with a toy guitar, but trust me, you should've watched it, if you didn't I hope you get eye herpes.)

Anyway, I've done a lot of talking about nothing that's an actual book review. There's a reason for that. The reason is, it's a funny book from a comedian I really like and to explain any further is really quite unnecessary. I'll just leave you with some random tidbits pulled from whichever page I happen to flip to right now. Let's pretend you're shouting pages numbers at me, but don't actually do that unless you have Tourette's and can play it off to your co-workers:

Page 79: As a first time parent, you have to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, and know one other thing, I think. That's right, raising a child is a lot like playing poker in the Old West.

Page 173: Do not hold a tiny protest, please. Hold only big ones.

Page 46: Sir Isaac Newton, or the first certified tranny, as he will be known once you add that to Wikipedia (please do it), noticed about the physical world around us, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Good job, Newts.

Page 104: Even though dieticians don't recommend eating right before bed, most Fucketicians do. (I am both sorry and not sorry that I wrote Fucketician.)

Or, perhaps this random selection of topics from the Index at the back will illustrate for you the nature of this tome: A-Team, farming - page 121; Celebrity Hair-Metal Cuddle Party Challenge - page 150; Fuck - pages 2, 7, 8, 25, 44, 47, 50, 57, 73, 107, 112, 135, 136, 142, 148, 150, 159,168, 175, 180, 182, 183, 206.

There is also the tidbit that I will carry with me always, that in heaven ("goodtimes"), the cheese is made of the damned.

It's a fact. It's rarely discussed because people aren't as motivated to live a moral life when you say, "Hey, don't rape or rob a bank -- or else in the next life you'll be made in to cheese and eaten."

That's some helpful information for you bank rapists out there.

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