Who is that hairy guy in the green Speedo? Rob Delaney is a father, a husband, a comedian, a writer. He is the author of an endless stream of beautiful, insane jokes on Twitter. He is sober. He is sometimes brave. He speaks French. He loves women with abundant pubic hair and saggy naturals. He has bungee jumped off of the Manhattan Bridge. He enjoys antagonizing political figures. He listens to metal while he works out. He likes to fart. He broke into an abandoned mental hospital with his mother. He played Sir Lancelot in Camelot. He has battled depression. He is funny as s***. He cleans up well. He is friends with Margaret Atwood. He is lucky to be alive.
Read these hilarious and heartbreaking true stories and learn how Rob came to be the man he is today.
I am sorry for giving my own book a 4 star review. Please do not trust me. Read it for yourself and form your own opinion. It could be worse; I could have given myself a 5 star review. Imagine that! I bet you can too, since you're a member of GoodReads and have nourished your imagination enough to where you could really flesh out a self-involved monster who would do such a thing and then even laugh about it as he fired a crossbow bolt into a pillow he'd dressed up as Jonathan Franzen or something. I gave myself a 4 star review because it was my first book and I can certainly think of things I'll do differently next time. That said, I'm proud of it and I poured arterial blood into it, thereby justifying, in my opinion, my biased, untrustworthy 4 star review. I'm reading a lot more since I finished it too. Thank goodness. Right now I'm a couple of hundred pages into Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries. I'm shocked that a 28 year old (I guess she was younger when she wrote it) can write historical fiction with such remarkable detail. But I guess if Patrick O'Brian wrote his books, and Toni Morrison wrote hers, anything can happen. Anything can happen! I'm also reading The Orphan Master's Son out loud to my wife before we go to bed. I love it, like everyone else who's read it, but once I'm done I will THOROUGHLY crawl up Adam Johnson's ass to figure out how he did the research to write it, or if he is in fact blowing (beautiful, creative) smoke up my ass. Fine if he is, but it is indeed DARING to spend hundreds of pages telling thousands of people "This is what is happening inside a North Korean's mind." How dare he? He dare well, that's how he dare. Good dare, sir. Audacity. I love it/him.
Books from comedians are always strange to me. There's never enough cohesion in them. This has been billed as a memoir but it's an essay collection. This is a charming book, though. At times, the writing is just so generous and beautiful, particularly as many of the essays come to a close. I wish there was a better structure to the collection as a whole. At times, certain themes were a tad repetitive but Delaney is a talented writer--very warm, self-deprecating without being nauseating about it, and wise. Recommended.
Like most memoirs by mid-career comics, Rob “Funniest person on Twitter” Delaney’s first book is uneven. It's funny and smart, but it's also – like that stupid title (really, publishers? you let him get away with that?) – occasionally lazy, self-indulgent and disorganized.
In his most memorable essays, Delaney is candid and honest about his struggle with alcoholism, his debilitating depression and the fact that he frequently wet his bed into his 20s. These stories are told with a clear-eyed openness that’s bracing and refreshing. His story about the deaths of three men who were in rehab with him is deeply moving.
There’s also a poignant story about, of all things, a Danzig (the rock group)-themed birthday cake made lovingly by his mother.
But there’s little arc to the memoir, and some chapters – titled en français, cuz he’s bilingual – feel like padding to make the material book-length. You can sense him holding back in Part IV (subtitled "La romance"). He mentions his wife at times, but we don't learn much about her, including how they met. Ditto most of his family apart from the perfunctory details. Perhaps he's being protective of their privacy. And there's next to nothing about doing comedy.
We do get silly tales about Hepatitis A and his love of cats, however.
Still, Delaney can write. Here's hoping his next book has as many laughs, but more heft, substance and consistency.
I have decided to stop being a closed-down old fuckhead who shuns any cultural artifact after 1962 and bores people to death by saying how much I "prefer" actual BOOKS and old-fashioned human connection and the strange luxury of not having access to information every waking second. So I hear about this Rob Delaney, voted the funniest guy on Twitter, and I go into my local book store and I see he's written a book, a collection of essays, poor Tweeting thing. So, what the fuck, I buy it. I read it. It is funny, moving, courageous, bold, and the best book I read in 2013, if you believe that years are real and not merely a "marketing ploy of Madison Avenue". If you don't, I'll just say: Read it. Trust me. Although I don't see why you should, given that I never returned your sweater.
strictly speaking, i'd say this is a four-star book-- which is still high praise, and this book is truly a pleasure-- but i'm giving it five stars anyway, because this book is of a piece with the whole public persona that is rob delaney, and that guy is, in my opinion, a five-star dude. what do i know-- i'm just some person who follows him on twitter and saw a show he did once-- but god damn it, i just think he's the tenderest nugget. he's all the awesome things about dudes-- e.g. gross, hairy, straightforward-- minus all the lame things, such as defensive and posturing. his work just fucking brims with this incandescent love for other humans, not as angels, but as these gross vulnerable things that fail and try and fail again, and piss and shit and vomit and fuck, and love hopelessly, and feel ashamed and embarrassed and sometimes proud. he stands as proof against the bullshit line that the opposite of misogyny and other forms of douche-baggery is, like, an uptight moral rectitude or something. it's just love. love as understanding. love as humor. love as against shame. as against disgust and contempt. i know i'm getting a little grandiose about what may look to be a very masterbation-joke-centered body of work, but the deeper heart of the thing, which is just sort of implicit background in the twitter feed (though i'm sure it's why so many people love him so much), comes out here more explictly, as he actually tells us about himself and his impressions of what has been a sometimes tough and sometimes very beautiful life. and he makes the tough things the most beautiful of all. there's just something so legit here-- something about the relationship between being honest with yourself and other about who you are and being a decent and winningly tender-hearted human. also, though, dude knows how to craft a wicked funny masterbation joke. five stars for rob delaney.
(ps this is a great one to listen to on audiobook. RD narrates.)
Whenever I hear someone sneering at Twitter by saying that nothing worthwhile can fit in a 140-character message, I know that person has never spent any time on Twitter. The pseudo-profound criticism is wrong on two levels: first of all, it turns out you can say a lot of worthwhile things in 140 characters. You can be poignant, funny, and incisive, stripping an idea or a feeling or a joke down to its essence. (Oscar Wilde would have loved Twitter. He also would have loved not being thrown in prison for being gay.). But on a broader level, people who think Twitter is limited to 140 characters are just misunderstanding the medium. Following someone's Twitter feed over a period of time lets you build up a pretty good idea of their worldview, their priorities, their strengths and weaknesses. When I first started following Rob Delaney on Twitter, it was because I found his one-liners and absurdist observations funny. But as I continued to follow him, and to read the longer pieces he would link to on his feed, I got a much more complete picture of his views on depression, substance abuse, health care, parenthood and other things that matter to me.
So I was extremely excited that Rob Delaney was writing a book, and I was not disappointed. The book is funny - laugh-out-loud funny - in the way that only real honesty can be funny. It's also heartbreaking, and hopeful, and still funny, all the way through. His account of his alcoholism manages an almost impossible feat: recounting horrific experiences without glamorizing them, while still finding the humor at the core of the most harrowing experiences. One of the things that struck me most was that of all the terrible experiences he relates - enough to fill a lifetime of AA meetings - the deepest regrets are failures of kindness. When he describes his surly teenage dismissal of a birthday cake his mother labored to make him, you can just feel him cringing to the center of his being. This highlights the compassion and empathy that the grownup Rob Delaney displays, on Twitter and throughout this book.
Little bit disappointed in this one, I have to admit. I follow Delaney on Twitter, and I adore his show "Catastrophe" on Amazon TV. Both are hilarious in a very quirky and thoughtful way.
This book didn't so much do it for me, though. I should caveat that by saying that although the humor was not up to Delaney's typical standards, his ability to write and to convey poignant details about his life impressed me. I had thought that this was the book's strength while reading it, but perhaps it made the humor harder to intersperse, because the humor that he employed to lighten the mood always came off a bit forced.
Rob Delaney is an insanely talented, funny, resilient writer. He’s lucky to be alive considering all the crazy experiences described in this book. I appreciated his honesty about getting sober, battling depression, and trying to live a healthier life. I hope for more books from him in the coming years (his latest book on his son’s death is devastating).
The book is sort of a rambling series of funny events or thoughts strung together very loosely in a narrative. That isn’t a knock on his writing in any way. Think of it as the literary equivalent of a stand up set, and that is essentially what this book is. Delaney is a funny guy and it shows.
While the book is very funny, and worth reading on that merit alone, there is also some fairly interesting information passed here as well. Delaney is one of a new type of celebrity that made their name in social media before becoming widely known for anything else. I myself have followed his twitter feed for several years and find pretty much all the jokes worth it.
There is a down side to having followed his twitter feed is not all the material in the book is new to me. I have read some of it in the past as he has recycled some of the material. However, everything he brought back for the book was greatly expanded so it isn’t an actual problem.
Delaney is a funny guy and this is a book that will make you laugh. Read it and follow him on twitter, you won’t regret either.
My friend's toddler slammed Delaney's toddler inside a locker at the children's discovery center in Stratford (east london) so my friend finally had an excuse to make her way through the simpering moms positioned around him in order to apologize! Apparently he's very handsome in real life - hence the gaggle of adoring moms... This book was awesome. I got it on audio and only allowed myself to listen to it when I went to the gym which was some serious motivation. Unfortunately, now it's over i'm flabbing up again... Catastrophe (his sit-com) is so fricking funny and it's the best show on TV I swear. I binge watched all of it and am waiting for the next season. I didn't realize RD had had such a rough go of it with addiction. But it's kind of amazing to see how he overcame it. And I love how matter of fact he was about it. Reinforces that addiction is 'just' a disease and not a character flaw or something to be ashamed of.
Quite a bit of Rob Delaney's bio examines his alcohol addiction and finally his recovery. I watched Rob Delaney's "Catastrophe" on Amazon Prime and was impressed with its sharp humor and honesty. I had never heard of Delaney before watching Catastrophe, but his biography is also smart and honest. Recommended for those who enjoy celebrity bios with plenty of laugh-out-loud funny & raunchy humor.
Five stars. Yes. Rob Delaney has always had my love and devotion and admiration, and he has it even more after I finally read this book in full. I have so much respect for the openness with which he shares his addiction and depression - he pulls no punches, hides behind nothing, and somehow still makes you cry with laughter.
Full belly laugh through the entire last chapter. Deadpan delivery of audiobook by the writer went down easy considering it's essentially an addiction memoir. Especially good if you're familiar with the North Shore of Boston.
Whilst reading I imagined my friend who was also called Rob and who left this plane too early would have written the same autobiography. All the more pleasure to read it. Autobiographies by the Funny People are rarely as funny as I want them to be.
Like most things I do in my life, I read Rob Delaney's books out of order. This one's not as sad as "A Heart That Works," but there were still moments where I felt emotion, mostly out of my eyes. But I didn't just cry, I also laughed. Often. Rob Delaney is huh-LARious. He is both relatable and reasonable, and I suspect I will vote for him as a write-in during the next presidential election. His struggles with sobriety, everyman cleverness, and his genuine desire to be a good person have rocketed him to the top of my list of celebrities with whom I would like to be best friends.
As I'm neither into Twitter nor into American stand-up comedy, I'd never heard of Rob Delaney until Michael of Books on the Nightstand recommended this book on the podcast. Well, I've learnt to trust his recommendations and finally managed to get hold of the audio book read by the author. (Side note: I was pleased to be able to increase the narration speed to 1.5 as the normal speed was a bit dull, the author has quite a monotonous voice, I'm surprised he's a stand up comedian. With 1.5 x speed, however, it was fun to listen to.)
On the one hand Rob Delaney seems to be a very average person on my horizon; white, middle class, educated, sheltered upbringing, a bit spoilt, a bit bored. On many levels I recognised my own obnoxious teenage self in his anecdotes. On the other hand, he is fascinating because he is like a human grenade, causing havoc (mostly of his own life) by making many extraordinarily bad choices. It's not for lack of a moral compass, it's more a compulsion or addictive personality, clearly the foundation for his becoming a raging alcoholic at the tender age of 16 (?). As I was listening to him narrate a plethora of tragic, scary, dangerous or sometimes just very funny incidents, I kept wondering where his parents were in all this? Turning a blind eye? Busy being self-destructive elsewhere?
What Delaney does well is apply his 20/20 hindsight vision, trying to be a better person yet being under no illusion that a relapse can be round the corner. He also spares plenty of thoughts to some equally afflicted addicts who didn't make it to the other side and has ample empathy for people dealing with mental health issues. His battle with depression, though relatively short-lived thanks to a competent psychiatrist, was gut-wrenching. Following his brutally honest description, I wouldn't want to wish it on anyone. He clearly has turned more than one corner, and I'm happy to hear that he is in a good place career wise, a loving relationship and enjoying fatherhood.
3.5 stars (if the author rates his own book with 4 stars, I'd say that 3.5 stars is very good!)
Whomp, this is excellent. Brief clever quick dark bare and precise, Delaney's essays manage a clear and matter-of-fact appraisal of what it is to struggle for and maintain sobriety. There is a little furious core of me, possessive and unreasonable, that throws its hackles up at the prospect of disingenuousness or self-aggrandizing in this context. I despise a pretender in a way that is not at all in keeping with the spirit of recovery. There's a point in here where he kind of gently laughs off as bananas a woman who plainly falls in this camp--someone coopting the language of recovery for the sake of aggrandizing her just shitty self-obsessed dumb petty narcissism--and that is totally the right way to go, to gently laugh it off. Maybe if i get to where he is I'll have managed some more loose-garmentism but for the time being i just hiss and spit like two snakes and a badger stuck in the dryer when I hear a false note rung, like get-the-fuck-off-my-holy-ground with that shit, this ground is HOLY we come here to DIE. And then to not die. You know. And then also i get shifty because my baby brother is thus far unable to get anywhere near even the littlest tiniest bittiest sliver of freedom that I've got, and I just want to rip a triflin bitches hair out and strangle her with it behind a Kmart when I think of someone sliding lazily ass backward into something that asks so much blood and sweat and horror from others. It's completely shitty and small and unreasonable and everything else bad about me to feel this but it is still unfortunately my position at least for the time being.
Anyway which is just to say as a seasoned and masterful bastard as per re this material, I found this book to be a total buoy. It is hell of heartening to read something true. You belong here. You are safe here. Blinder your eyes to whatever shit the world will kick up and stay. It will kick up a lot of shit. Just stay.
Also it's just wicked fucking funny, too, obviously. Man's a freak, stone cold.
This was shockingly great (sorry, comedians -- your books mostly suck).
It's not a spew of scattershot jokey-jokes; there's depth and sincerity. Jokey-jokes ARE here, as interstitial material: Pages of dense type, consisting of strings of Delaney's tweets, set off each chapter -- they look almost like endpapers. But this is a real book. Delaney thanks Sarah Silverman in the acknowledgments for showing him how a comic can write a serious memoir, and you can see the influence. (Also, they're bedwetting twinsies!)
Delaney is an alcoholic -- sober since the early aughts -- who nearly died crashing his car into a building while driving during a blackout. He writes beautifully about addiction and about depression. The book's very short -- on one hand, I admire the tightness. On the other, I wish he'd tell us more about his wife (I get wanting to keep stuff private...but he says way more about his bowel movements than about his life partner), his relationship with his dad (I got the vibe there was a lot he wasn't saying) and about his pre-comedy career in musical theater (he played Lancelot in a national tour of Camelot? buh?).
The book's very smart -- I had to google two (2) paintings Delaney refers to. (He describes them well!) But it feels choppy and unedited, too, as if built from a cache of personal essays. He says in two or three places that his dad spent time in an orphanage as a boy; each time, it's presented as new information. Come on, publishers. (Also, time to retire "retarded.")
But whatevs, it's really good and really funny and moving, and dude just seems like a mensch. Read it.
It maybe is rude to call this book "shockingly good," but I will admit that I expected something light and kind of dumb. I don't even like Delaney's tweets that much (he reprints a bunch on the book and maybe one in ten make me laugh out loud, but they're mostly like "ha ha ok" or *eyeroll*), but I loved Catastrophe, which made me think he had a lot more to offer, maybe, and I'm happy to say he did. This book still suffers from the mini-essays format that for some reason all comedian memoirs seem required to use, but it made me laugh out loud a lot and it was so surprisingly gentle, generous, kind and even deep at times. In the dedication he thanks Sarah Silverman for showing him in her memoir that "it's okay to go deep, acclimate, and then go deeper," and that's really what he does here. You hear about the substance abuse early on, but he touches on it briefly and then comes back up multiple times before the solid block of about 50 pages when he really does a deep-dive, taking on his drinking, the car accident that landed him in the hospital and jail, rehab and a half-way house, the friends he met in the half-way house who died, and his post-recovery depression. It's intense and well-done and still often funny even in the darkest moments. It's amazing that he manages such a good balance of non-annoying self-deprecation, so that even (and maybe especially?) when he's talking about the terrible things he did when drinking, you just get such an overwhelming and satisfying sense that he's a good dude who you'd want to be friends with.
I only recently started following Rob Delaney on Twitter after learning about his tweet-banter with Margaret Atwood. I find his odd sense of humor and relentless celebrity/politician needling entertaining, and he often has something of substance to say behind the jokes, which I like. So when his book was released, I decided I'd give it a try.
I'm not sure what, exactly, I was expecting. I think I believed it would be an extended comedy monologue with a bit of autobiography thrown in, but what I got was a pretty insightful memoir - with jokes. Rob Delaney is funny, but what's more impressive is that he seems to be really self-aware and really willing to highlight his own mistakes and shortcomings. He spends most of the book discussing his alcoholism and recovery. He's unflinchingly honest about mistakes he's made, and he never tries to point the finger at anyone, or anything, else. As the daughter of an alcoholic, I found that refreshing. He owns his addiction, and has taken full responsibility for his own recovery by seeking help as he needs it. He's also frank about depression and how difficult (and essential) it can be to ask for help.
I'm making it sound like one big serious-fest, which is only partly true. The book is filled with serious and important issues, tackled head-on. But don't worry. You'll also get more than your fair share of jokes about poop and masturbation.
If you are a fan of Rob Delaney's rants and raves on Twitter, you will probably be sorely disappointed in his first book. No offense to the author, but if you're known for your sarcastic and often foul observations, write something akin to "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell." Fans of your Twitter postings will be shocked and disappointed that your book doesn't even somewhat resemble what they're used to from you. It's like going to a Miley Cyrus concert and seeing her dressed like Laura Ingalls, reading poetry. Instead, the book comes off as something Erma Bombeck would have written in her heyday. They're whimsical observations or life-learning lessons without any laugh-out-loud humor.
That aside, if I was reading this book without the context of Delaney's tweets, this would come off as an average memoir of stories about Rich Boys Behaving Badly. Delaney grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts, which even sounds expensive. And it is. It's right on the coast near Boston, home to multiple yacht clubs. He went to school in New York City. He traveled all over Europe. And this was all before he was famous, so obviously he was living off family money. So hearing about Delaney's exploits that were dangerous and not even funny makes me want to punch the frat boy in the neck.
I will continue to read and laugh at Delaney's tweets (because they make me laugh...or gag), but as for writing lengthy humor, he misses the mark.
Riotous and brave. Rob Delaney weathered severe and dangerous alcoholism, rehab, depression and a bout of hepatitis A that was a walk in the park compared to his previous travails. His accounts are brutally honest, big-hearted and so so funny.
"I am vocal about my depression now because it was so fucking Satanically awful that I view it as one of my life's primary missions to help other people understand and overcome."
I was going to put here some of Delaney's laugh-out-loud funny tweets that he is best know for, but on re-reading found most of them too profane to repeat and even funnier than I remembered. So here's some clean ones:
@robdelaney Just found a delicious crouton in my therapist's purse! @robdelaney Imagine a shark. Terrified yet? Well you will be when I tell you that THE SHARK IS MADE OF GLUTEN!! @robdelaney The story of the Titanic speaks to me because I once tripped over a bag of ice at a party & then killed 1,500 people.
Rob Delaney shares life stories in a foul mouthed, sometimes hilarious memoir. I laughed quite a lot, but I won't say at which parts because I'm sort of embarrassed that I found them funny in the first place.
My favorite bits were his lists of real tweets between each book section. They're raw, ragged, and very, very amusing but, warning, you have to have a thick skin to properly enjoy them.
Some read a-likes for this book are: Life of the Party: Stories of a Perpetual Man-Child by Bret Kreischer, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt, and In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks...And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy by Adam Corolla.
My first exposure to Rob Delaney was through his hit comedy television show Catastrophe. Not only is he very funny but the show is serious in its topical assault on today’s society. And because of this serious social commentary I believed Rob Delaney quite possibly had something to say important enough to read his troubled memoir. Delaney’s fairly recent heart wrenching essay published in 2018, which detailed the losing of his young son Henry to brain cancer, also made me consider reading this previously published book.
...This was a dark that knew things...
Often too crude in his remarks Delaney nonetheless kept me centered on the page. Whether he was grossing me out with his talk of masturbation, wetting the bed until the age of twenty-five, or fulfilling other bodily functions that might honestly occur on a sometimes daily basis, Delaney also found a way to win me over. His battle with the bottle was one of those victories.
...There is massive, pulsing truth in the statement “Ignorance is bliss.” Willful ignorance or resistance to alleged facts has been a big ingredient in any success I’ve had…
Nearing the end of this book it became clear to me that Delaney was bringing a reader up to speed with his life from childhood to the time of his marriage and success on the stage. By exposing his difficult past, and the enormous work and discipline it took to get himself to where he now sits aloft in the entertainment industry, Delaney must believe he can be of some help to a fellow sufferer. He is certainly a gifted comedian, but unfortunately his literary prowess falls short. Forthcoming and honest as can be, Delaney tells way too much and at times becomes ridiculous in his naked exposure. His personal confidence notwithstanding, there is still much work to do in order for Delaney to be considered a serious literary artist. But perhaps literary achievement does not matter to him and instead this endeavor is simply a cathartic emptying out of any remaining garbage still haunting him. Rob Delaney is an extremely funny guy. His writing voice is certainly his own. He sounds exactly like Rob Delaney on Catastrophe. But sometimes being a funny person does not work with such a variety of penetratingly serious topics. The following example of one of his later paragraphs in the book unfortunately demonstrates why I think Delaney, the comedian, should have stayed home.
...or, worse yet, I’ll be just smooshing my face into a cat’s belly and tickling it and trying to wear it like a hat. Why? I don’t know. They’re just such little fucking cutie pies I want to pet them and play with them and make them happy. Funny, I feel like much more of a weirdo writing about this than I do about showing my naked butthole to a person...
Very easy, light reading - if not always topically, then at least in terms of style. Finished in 2 or 3 days. In many parts I thought "Wow, this guy totally wrote how I feel", maybe that helped with the readability. Very funny in parts, a couple hilarious stories, but particularly just funny quips inserted apparently randomly, although I'm sure it's anything but random.
A few chapters were completely unnecessary, particularly the family hospital trip, I was waiting for the end to the chapter that would make sense of the meandering, unfunny pages, but then it just ended. Some repetition as well, which could have been fixed with better editing.
I really needed a break from the rather dry social history that I've been trying to plow through, and smart, vulnerable memiors have become my new candy. Rob Delaney provided just the distraction I wanted. I didn't love this book. It was smart. It was funy. It tried to be vulnerable in a stoic cis male sort of way. But, somehow each of his stories and essays just missed their mark for me. It didn't fill me up or leave me satisfied, but that's okay. I wasn't looking for a literary meal, just a little snack.
Reading this memoir of stylized essays, mostly encompassing medical maladies of body or behavior, is oh so bittersweet.
Within a few years after this book published, he lost one of his sons to brain cancer at age three, and as a father, I was crushed as he waxed emphatic about being a dad and the dire need to outlive his children. I can’t imagine.
Yeah, there’s much butthole talk. But Rob’s long form is as real and poignant as his wry tweets. He’s a guy who lived a life and doesn’t try to dress it up, and it was a pleasure to read about it.