True Story: A Novel

True Story: A Novel

4.0 5
by Bill Maher
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

True Story is Maher's debut novel about the wild and crazy life of the stand-up comedian — a bawdy, rowdy tell-all report from the front line.

Overview

True Story is Maher's debut novel about the wild and crazy life of the stand-up comedian — a bawdy, rowdy tell-all report from the front line.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Anyone considering a career in stand-up comedy should read this book, then consider something else, because all this great stuff is over."
— Jerry Seinfeld

"One of the funniest novels since John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces."
Library Journal

"Crisp, funny, bitter and wise....Bill Maher really knows stand-up comedy."
— Steve Allen

"This is the novel I would have written about stand-up comedy if I was a sick egghead like Bill Maher."
— Roseanne

Bernstein
Mr. Maher has written a novel with many funny passages of a kind of sandpaper humor . . . So one enjoys True Storyfor its bawdy energy, its flamethrower wit...
The New York Times
Ray Sawhill
...delivers an impressively maudlin yet bitter wallop; it should be used as a shillelagh with which to prod oversensitive creative writing students. The creepy competitiveness, the behind-the-scenes lore and the raunchiness all start to work, supplying a texture that's rank and seductive.
The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743291354
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
10/28/2005
Edition description:
ABR
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.44(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

... t, never afraid to admit ignorance, Buck prized the knowledge about women, and everything else, that Shit passed on to him.

But especially about women. Like the time, a Friday afternoon it was, when Buck phoned Shit to see about pursuing the avocation in which they had become expert, the assassination of a day. Shit said he was going to the Guggenheim with a girl, and invited Buck; Buck declined, not wanting to be a third wheel, and not being hungry for German food. Shit explained that the Guggenheim was a museum and that the girl — although a former flame — was now just a friend. He urged Buck to go, dangling the prospect that the girl might be someone Buck would like and then claim for his own.

Buck did like the girl. At the museum, he essayed to be his charmingest, funniest, and especially — since this was a museum — most knowledgeable self. He strained to recall every stray fact he'd once crammed into his head for the Modern Art final, and what he couldn't remember, he made up. He waged a tireless campaign to impress Shit's old flame with his vast knowledge of the subject at hand. And he actually thought it was working. Yeah, she really seems interested, he thought — and quite appreciative that so astute a guide had come along.

Of course, as a guide was exactly how she saw Buck: a sexless, verbose, eggheaded, might-as-well-be-wearing-a-silly-uniform factotum. Buck thought he was getting to her, until in a single moment it became crushingly, blindingly plain what a fool he was.

Near the end of the day, the woman of Buck's soon-to-be-dashed dreams turned to Shit and teasingly asked: "Why don't you tell us somethingabout one of the paintings?"

Shit paused and looked deeply into her eyes. "I don't know anything about them," he said. "I just know none of them are as beautiful as you."

To say that she melted would be to set an impossible standard for applications of extreme heat the world over. But to say that she wanted Shit so bad at that moment that she would have been happy to use Buck as a cot would be just another ridiculous exaggeration.

As for Buck, he just wanted to crawl inside the windmill of an old Dutch painting.

Days later, after Shit and his rekindled flame had spent some quality time remembering where they used to like to touch each other, Shit summed it all up for Buck: "Women want you to be interested, not interesting."

Yeah, that was Shit, all right — a Renaissance man, something out of a different age, out of a time when wit and class and sophistication were the qualities civilized people admired and to which they aspired.

Boy, was he in the wrong business now!

Unfortunately for Shit, it was no time to be a throwback to that gentler age when humorist wasn't a dirty word in comedy; in 1979, humorist was a dirty word, the way liberal was becoming a dirty word in politics. Shit worked in the tradition of the Noël Cowards, the Bob Hopes, the Jack Bennys — comedy giants perhaps, but giants who would never have gotten past audition night had they started in 1979. The revolutions that each American generation stages in its choice of popular music are more noticeable but no less real than those in comedy, and Shit's style was essentially the comedic version of the cabaret singers The Club put up from time to time, to break up the comedy — the thirtyish blondes in billowy gowns who sang medleys of songs lionizing New York or inspirational I-can-climb-the-mountain-find-my-lucky-star-reach-the-impossible-dream show tunes of the sort that homosexuals seemed to enjoy so much.

But this was the eighties, man. Who was looking for the next Lainie Kazan? For that matter, who was looking for Lainie Kazan? The current vogue in music was punk-rockers, very few of whom included in their evening's menu a charming, pre-scripted minute of chat under a tinkling piano, unless you count "Eat my shit, assholes" as patter.

At The Club, Shit had seniority going for him, and he had the city of New York to play to, where there was still some residual sophisticated bonhomie. But even New York was becoming a town more concerned with subway fare than savoir faire, and in such an age, Noël Coward was just an old English douche bag with no props and no dick jokes. When Shit told the audience that so-and-so was "such a conservative, his idea of a great musical is Across the World in Eighty Days..."

Well, there just weren't enough of the kind of people around anymore who knew how funny it was.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, as your delightful master of ceremonies just told you, it's true, I was on a soap opera — I used to play Dr. Matthew Michaels on Lives of Our World. And I'll tell you how I got the job. I was only supposed to work one day — one line. I was supposed to go into the hospital room of the star of the show and say, "That eye looks fine. You can go home tomorrow." But this was live TV. Live. I leaned over the bed and said, "My God, that eye looks awful — I'll be in to see you tomorrow." I kept that shit up for two years.

I recently got my big break when I was cast in the all-WHITE version of Porgy and Bess — ah, a couple of fans of the musical theater here tonight — with songs like "Bess, You ARE My Woman Now" and "It ISN'T Necessarily So."

I snagged the part of Porgy. Next week they cut my legs off at the knees — which is great, 'cause I always wished my dick would touch the ground.

Rex Harrison is doing a car commercial — have you seen that one? Professor Henry Higgins, the greatest linguistic mind in English history, waxing poetic about a Chrysler. But since Rex Harrison is the only celebrity I can imitate — because I can't sing, either — here is Mr. Harrison, as Professor Henry Higgins, performing the song that the commercial really wanted him to do:

Why can't a woman be more like a car?
One car in a million may stall a bit
Now and then one may test your mettle
Occasionally you'll see one that you'd call a piece of shit
But mostly they're a wonderful hunk of metal!

If I forgot to change your oil, would you bellow?
If I didn't tune you up, would you fuss?
Would you despise me if your anti-freeze turned yellow?
Why can't a woman — be more like a bus!


You folks have been...well, an audience. If you want to see me again, on the tenth of September, on the Johnny Carson show — write him.

Copyright © 1999 by BIll Maher

What People are saying about this

Jerry Seinfeld
Anyone considering a career in stand up comedy should read this book, then consider something else, because all this great stuff is over.
Roseanne Barr
This is the novel I would have written about stand up comedy if I was a sick egg-head like Bill Maher.
From the Publisher
"Anyone considering a career in stand-up comedy should read this book, then consider something else, because all this great stuff is over."

— Jerry Seinfeld

"One of the funniest novels since John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces."

Library Journal

"Crisp, funny, bitter and wise....Bill Maher really knows stand-up comedy."

— Steve Allen

"This is the novel I would have written about stand-up comedy if I was a sick egghead like Bill Maher."

— Roseanne

Meet the Author

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
January 20, 1956
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
B.A. in English, Cornell University, 1978

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

True Story 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
0 stars but it made me put one. You should put why Bane wanted to destroy Shatterstar.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
True Story, takes you inside the life of a struggling stand up comedian. It's not all glamour and glory, just like everything else in life you have to work hard to get where you are. This is a great book for anyone with a dream; you quickly come to realize it's not what you expect, but you persevere and maybe some day you get a shot at the big time. Just as the heroes in this book though, sometimes opportunity does not come knocking at your door, and thats life.