Dynomite!: Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times--A Memoir by Jimmie Walker | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Dynomite!: Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times--A Memoir

Dynomite!: Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times--A Memoir

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by Jimmie Walker
     
 

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Jimmie Walker was raised in a violent and abusive home in the Bronx. Starting in small clubs and eventually opening for Black Panther rallies, he ultimately became an icon playing J. J. Evans on Good Times. Walker was the first successful young black sitcom star, and his catchphrase--“Dyn-o-mite!”--remains an indicator of the era. He saw sudden and

Overview

Jimmie Walker was raised in a violent and abusive home in the Bronx. Starting in small clubs and eventually opening for Black Panther rallies, he ultimately became an icon playing J. J. Evans on Good Times. Walker was the first successful young black sitcom star, and his catchphrase--“Dyn-o-mite!”--remains an indicator of the era. He saw sudden and enormous fame in everything from comic books and a talking doll to pajamas, trading cards, a bestselling album, and TV Guide covers. In Dyn-o-mite!, Walker candidly talks about his rise and the considerable tensions on the set of Good Times that contradicted the show’s image of a close-knit, blue-collar family struggling to survive in the projects.

Walker made “Dyn-o-mite!” a catchword for the Baby Boomer generation. Today, Dyn-o-mite! will inspire that same generation to rediscover what once made America great--the freedom of thought, the freedom of speech, and the belief in the individual.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Comedian and actor Walker delivers a solid, thoughtful, and provocative memoir about his nearly four decade–long career—which should surprise almost anyone who first discovered Walker as J.J. on the hit 1970s television show Good Times. As the “always-getting-into-trouble” 17-year-old son in a “lower-class, urban black family dealing with the world,” Walker improvised an exclamation—“Dyn-o-mite!”—that became his character’s trademark catchphrase as well as entering the American lexicon. “Little did I realize at the time how one word could change your life,” Walker wryly notes, since he had been working in New York City during the late 1960s honing his standup craft on a range of stages (Walker once opened for jazz legend Miles Davis) alongside stars such as Robert Klein and David Brenner as well as future superstars including Richard Lewis and Jerry Seinfeld. While Walker does an excellent job showing how much of what has been written negatively about Good Times has been “revisionist history”—(“For nine of the last ten episodes, J.J. never said ‘dyn-o-mite’”)—the best parts of his memoir deal with his early days, his post Good Times career (“I was as surprised as anyone that my character became the breakout star”), his insider involvement in the Jay Leno–David Letterman feud, and his many perceptive observations about comedy and current influential comedians such as Chris Rock: “He works hard, is aware of all aspects of life, and knows not only comedy but also the history of comedy.” (July)
Kirkus Reviews
A fast, funny and informative stand-up routine/memoir from one of the major comic stars of the 1970s. Walker--who made his name as J.J. Evans on the sitcom Good Times--recounts his life in the ghetto, on TV and on the road. He gives a good inside look at the TV show, where he was cast as the teenage J.J., surprising producers and angering the cast by becoming the breakout star. At the peak of his fame, he would also play a supporting role in the careers of both David Letterman and Jay Leno, two of the many struggling unknown comics who wrote jokes for him. He also had a front-row seat to the decades-long friendship-turned-bitter rivalry that would lead to the late-show wars of the early 1990s; long after the dust has settled, he remains strongly Team Letterman, holding Leno in contempt. As for the rest of the competition, he admired Richard Pryor, had limited patience for Andy Kaufman and thinks Cosby is king. (He also admits he isn't always the best judge, having once advised Steve Martin to find another career.) Walker also acknowledges certain limits that come with his choice of career: "The problem is that white comics don't have to be white, but black comics have to be black." Other limits are self-imposed; although uninhibited in his lifestyle, this self-proclaimed "Johnny Mathis of Black Comedians" has long adhered to his friend David Brenner's advice that you can't be successful if you can't work clean. He is similarly conservative in his politics. Walker, once the comic relief for Black Panther rallies, takes a little too much delight in being a "black sheep among black people." Rants aside, a unique perspective on the perils of modern comedy from a survivor with a long memory.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306821103
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
06/26/2012
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
296
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Jimmie Walker was born in 1947 in the Bronx. At 22, he began performing as a standup comedian and was eventually discovered by the casting director for Good Times. He continues to tour the country doing stand-up and lives in Las Vegas. Sal Manna is a journalist who has written for magazines such as Time, Playboy, Los Angeles, and People, and newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Herald, the San Jose Mercury-News, and Newsday.

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