How I Slept My Way to the Middle: Secrets and Stories from Stage, Screen, and Interwebs

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Overview

Kevin Pollak rose through the comedy club ranks at the feet of Don Rickles and Bill Cosby, Johnny Carson and George Carlin, becoming a killer impressionist—Falk, Shatner, Walken, Nicholson—a versatile actor with one of the most respected filmographies around, and an Internet pioneer. He’s done it all, and now he’s ready to spill the beans. Ballsy, hilarious, and revealing, How I Slept My Way to the Middle winningly combines never-before-heard stories featuring A-list entertainers with fan favorites and Kevin’s ...

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How I Slept My Way to the Middle: Secrets and Stories from Stage, Screen, and Interwebs

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Overview

Kevin Pollak rose through the comedy club ranks at the feet of Don Rickles and Bill Cosby, Johnny Carson and George Carlin, becoming a killer impressionist—Falk, Shatner, Walken, Nicholson—a versatile actor with one of the most respected filmographies around, and an Internet pioneer. He’s done it all, and now he’s ready to spill the beans. Ballsy, hilarious, and revealing, How I Slept My Way to the Middle winningly combines never-before-heard stories featuring A-list entertainers with fan favorites and Kevin’s own thoughts about how he made it. He turned down his first invitation to do stand-up on The Tonight Show because he knew he’d make a bigger impact if he sat on the couch next to Johnny. That huge risk, which paid off in spades, was just the beginning. Find out how he brought John Belushi to his knees, tortured Paul Reiser (twice), bamboozled Larry King, stole Alan Arkin’s soul, almost killed Warren Beatty, and sucked face with Robert DeNiro’s girlfriend. Now a new media entrepreneur, Pollak is laughing proof that if you follow your gut and believe in yourself, you can do anything you want—except have a rational conversation with Rip Torn, who’s an evil, paranoid $#!%.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Brilliant ... a book that should be given to all sourpusses because it is uproariously funny—laugh out loud until tears burn your eyes funny. ... The shrimpy kid who started out imitating Bill Cosby grew into a funny man with a yen for acting in movies, a journey his side-splitting memoir recounts in hilarious detail. ... There's so much dirt Pollak could have dished, but he keeps it positive with feel-good, riotous stories and fascinating Hollywood lore. Except for that one time Michael Clarke Duncan accused him of stealing his pocket cash....
—Shelf Awareness / Natalie Papailiou, author of blog MILF: Mother I'd Like to Friend

"It’s great stuff. ... We love it. ... Pollak has packed his book with not only amazing stories from his life (and there are many) but with enough celebrity anecdotes that this could almost be shelved with the quotation books. This is a very funny, real insider look at the 'business.'"
—AmericasComedy.com

"Entertaining ... He includes detailed jabs at actors like Rip Torn and the late Michael Clarke Duncan—amusingly uncensored recaps of bad behavior from eccentrics. ... Pollak’s juiciest tidbits are simply as-told-to tales: Walter Matthau recapping a profanity-laden tape Fred Astaire sent him, a detailed explanation of Johnny Carson’s stand-up booking process, long transcriptions of jokes he heard his collaborators tell. ... Packed with plenty of good trivia."
A.V. Club

"The book is full of funny or surprising stories (sometimes they’re both) and plenty of self-deprecating humor. Pollak is a working actor, not a star, and his book is all the more likable for it. A genuinely entertaining movie memoir."
Booklist

"Amusing ... Pollak is an engaging raconteur on the page. ... The most compelling passages concern the author's pre-fame days, including a legitimately riveting account of the teenage author, already in possession of a killer Peter Falk impersonation, hijacking a concert performance by Rich Little."
Kirkus Reviews

“If he writes as well as he imitates me, you’re in for a good time.”
—ALBERT BROOKS

“Kevin Pollak is a mastermind of smart and funny. He attacks my funny bone the way a pit bull attacks my anklebone.”
—STEVE MARTIN

“Kevin Pollak is one of those guys who shows up in every corner of the Business of Show—hit TV programs, award winning movies, radio shows of every kind, and benefit dinners for worthy charities. I once saw him in the parking lot at Cirque du Soleil and hollered, ‘Hey! Kevin!’ but he didn’t hear me. Like you, I wonder how he’s made it to the Big Time. This book brings that mystery to a close.”
—TOM HANKS

“Kevin Pollak does it all: He does impressions, he acts, he writes, he produces. He continues to impress with his unique and unabashed ability to use his friends’ names for his sole benefit. A true Renaissance man.”
—TOM CRUISE

“Unfortunately, as a personal favor, I allowed Leo Tolstoy a blurb calling War and Peace ‘my most fun read ever.’ That being the case, I am unable to say the same about How I Slept My Way to the Middle. Would that I had reserved that comment for Kevin Pollak, where the appraisal would be so much more deserved.”
—JAMES L. BROOKS

“Unfortunately, I did a little digging, and Kevin Pollak’s book was ghostwritten by a factory full of Chinese children hopped up on n-hexane. In spite of, or perhaps because of, that, I hear it’s a great read.”
—HARRY SHEARER

“Actor, writer, storyteller, stand up, chat-show host, man about town, the most wonderful company, and now memoirist. Is there no end to his deranged ambition? Clearly not. I did two pictures with him and count myself lucky I got off with just two. A book I just couldn’t wait to put down.”
—GABRIEL BYRNE

Kirkus Reviews
Pollak, the busy character actor and comedian, recounts his career in show business in this fitfully amusing but innocuous, mostly forgettable memoir. Despite the salacious title, Pollak is unfailingly inoffensive and upbeat in this collection of anecdotes detailing his film career and friendly working relationships with such luminaries as Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis and Jack Nicholson, all of whom are lauded as wonderfully kind, supportive, consummately professional peers. Readers hoping for dirt will be disappointed, though the author does have some mildly unkind things to say about Michael Clarke Duncan and Adam Shankman. The bulk of the book consists of fond reminiscences of hanging around on set with fabulous celebrities, harmless practical jokes and lucky breaks. While Pollak is an engaging raconteur on the page, the material here is too thin to really sustain interest--a story about Nicholson indulging Pollak's star-struck mother is typical of the fare on offer--and a creeping sense of smug self-regard casts a bit of a pall over the course of the narrative. The most compelling passages concern the author's pre-fame days, including a legitimately riveting account of the teenage author, already in possession of a killer Peter Falk impersonation, hijacking a concert performance by Rich Little. For the most part, though, Pollak waxes rhapsodically about the wonderful qualities of his more famous peers and dishes about backstage shenanigans on the sets of his most prominent films, including A Few Good Men, The Usual Suspects and The Whole Nine Yards. The effect is that of a pleasant talk show chat stretched over the course of a book. Pleasant but inessential.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762782338
  • Publisher: Lyons Press, The
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 656,778
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Pollak has appeared in over seventy films, including A Few Good Men, The Usual Suspects, Casino, and the Grumpy Old Men franchise, in addition to numerous TV shows. Named one of Comedy Central’s Top 100 Stand-Up Comedians of All Time, he lives a short bike ride from Venice Beach in Southern California.

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Read an Excerpt

Johnny did his monologue, kibitzed with Ed, then spoke with his first guest. After a commercial break, it was time. Doc Severinsen cut off his orchestra at the perfect moment, and Johnny said, in that unmistakable Iowa/Nebraska accent, “Ladies and gentlemen, making his first appearance on the show, a young comedian who’s in a new movie directed by Ron Howard called Willow. Please welcome, Kevin Pollak.”

            The audience let out a collective cry of, Who the hell is Kevin Pollak?—or at least that’s what I imagined—then applauded. I walked out from behind the curtain (which I’d rehearsed 5,000 times in my bedroom mirror, no exaggeration), waved to the audience (also rehearsed), and unbuttoned my jacket (rehearsed).

Oddly, I wasn’t nervous, but rather excited, as excited as a kid making his first trip to Disneyworld, or a kid trying to fall sleep on Christmas Eve, or just about any guy who’s about to lose his virginity.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Penn Jillette ix

More Foreword Belly Bob Thornton xii

Introduction: Howard Hughes and Logorrhea xiv

1 Cos and the Zuckers 3

2 The Plane to Showbiz 13

3 Tripping Past Dad 25

4 Learning to Stand Up 28

5 John Belushi Takes a Knee 33

6 Larry, It's Albert/It's Kevin/It's Albert 37

7 Torturing Reiser, Part One 43

8 The King and I 46

9 Barry's Baltimore 58

10 Nothing Like Your First 63

11 Eat Smart 69

12 Killing Warren Beatty 71

13 L.A. Story Story 75

14 The Path Less Traveled 78

15 Called Up to the Majors 85

16 Reading between the Lines 90

17 Trophies on the Mantel 96

18 Hanging with the Big Boys … and Girls 101

19 Is the Car Here Yet?! 107

20 Jack and Mom 114

21 It's Chinatown, Kev 118

22 Jack in the Voice 121

23 Bang Bang, Shoot Shoot 124

24 Stealing Arkin's Soul or Torturing Reiser, Part Two 130

25 Midget Fuckers, Pussy Punchers, Cock Smokers, and Rectum Rockets 135

26 The Odd Couple Goes to Minneapolis 139

27 The Return of Italian Royalty 142

28 I, Suspect 145

29 The Usual Fucking Cocksuckers 154

30 The Suspects Go to Cannes 162

31 Sucking Face with Supermodels 166

32 Nixon's List 173

33 The Don 178

34 Have You Seen the Muffin, Man 183

35 Club Willis 188

36 Carpe Per Diem 193

37 No Good Deed Goes Unpunished 200

38 Walken of Fame 203

39 Boldly I Go 205

40 Jerry and Me 210

41 My Introduction to the Interwebs 216

42 If You're Not Creating, You're Waiting 223

Epilogue: President Clintons Superpowers 228

Acknowledgments 242

Index 243

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 7, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This is the first Enhances e-book I have read and It will not be

    This is the first Enhances e-book I have read and It will not be the last. They made great use of the added audio and video content throughout. The text spans from Pollak's childhood to his rise through the stand up comedy ranks and into his acting career. The chapter about The Usual Suspects was my favorite.<br />
    <br />
    Review by Curt Wiser, an author of suspense novels.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 28, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A very witty book full of great industry stories. The author sho

    A very witty book full of great industry stories. The author shows off his comic standup genius in his writting. Very highly recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Great read, very interesting and funny!

    When I started reading this book I had a hard time putting it down. It got my attention from the beginning and wouldn't let go. Kevin has a great ability to tell stories, and that along with his gift of comedy and guts, made him the success he is today. This is a brief look into how he made it happen in such a funny way! If only I thought of this first...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    A Must Read!!!

    Loved the behind the scenes stories that gave a whole new meaning to many of our favorite movies. Couldn't put it down. Normally takes me weeks to get through books and this one was done in two days. Next book will be a must get.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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