Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyGrodin's (It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here) book is mostly a collection of brief observations and capsule reviews of showbiz-related subjects. He covers a lot of ground with anecdotes about appearing on talk shows, his acting and writing experiences in the theater and making personal appearances, along with snippets on some 19 personalities with whom he has worked, including Art Carney, Jackie Mason, Bill Murrary and John Belushi. The longest section devoted to a single topic is of Grodin's roles in the movies, particularly in his newest film, Heart and Souls. Covering as many topics as he does, the author provides readers with little substance, and in many respects this volume appears to be a collection of items he left out of his earlier books. Only Grodin fans, and readers who can't get enough of showbiz minutiae, will find this account entertaining. First serial to Premiere magazine. (Oct.)
Library JournalEven casual viewers of Carson and Letterman have watched Grodin's facetiously hostile appearances and laughed nervously along with the flustered interviewers. As Grodin reveals-here living up to the "behind the scenes" promise in his subtitle-the hosts were in on the joke all the time. Along with his annotated list of the "100 most powerful" Hollywoodians, Grodin's straight poop on talk shows is the funniest material presented in this book-and, unfortunately, it comes first. Grodin is a modest but proud man, and though charmingly self-effacing he's not shy about touting his previous books (How I Get Through Life, LJ 3/15/92; It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here, LJ 8/89). He is best known for his role as the converted dog-hater of the Beethoven films, but he's a do-everything professional in theater (director), film (screenwriter), and television (producer of a 1969 Simon and Garfunkel special). Indeed, while this is a worthy addition to the entertainment collections of public libraries, academic libraries with strong media and theater programs may value it more for its diversity of good-humored insights on his profession.-Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., Pa.
Mike TribbyActor Grodin again invites us on a jolly excursion into his world. "My personal interest in the theater, as regards my own work, is now only as a playwright," he writes in a line that illuminates both his self-image and his occasional lapses of literary style. Elsewhere he commits other lapses, into a certain triviality, yet he takes himself and his career seriously. He has a clear understanding of the circumstances of that career. For example, his discussion of how an actor's roles inevitably color public perception of his personality seems right on target, and it is typical of the valuable insights that, along with entertaining observations and showbiz schmoozing, make up the book. The section "Personalities" is particularly wonderful reading, both for sheer enjoyment and as delicious lowdown on the stars; it consists--as do most of the other sections, for that matter--of short takes, here on a variety of entertainment industry personalities. An entertaining and valuable addition for popular-culture and entertainment-industry collections.
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