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Ham: Slices of a Life: True Life Tales

Ham: Slices of a Life: True Life Tales

by Sam Harris
Ham: Slices of a Life: True Life Tales

Ham: Slices of a Life: True Life Tales

by Sam Harris


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In a collection of personal essays that are “both rip-roaringly funny and sentimental, drawing natural (and justified) comparisons to David Sedaris and David Rakoff” (Esquire), longtime recording artist and actor Sam Harris recounts stories of friendship, love, celebrity, and growing up and getting sober.

In sixteen brilliantly observed true stories, Sam Harris emerges as a natural humorist in league with David Sedaris, Chelsea Handler, Carrie Fisher, and Steve Martin, but with a voice uniquely his own. Praised by the Chicago Sun-Times for his “manic, witty commentary,” and with a storytelling talent The New York Times calls “New Yorker– worthy,” he puts a comedic spin on full-disclosure episodes from his own colorful life. In “I Feel, You Feel” he opens for Aretha Franklin during a blizzard. “Promises” is a front-row account of Liza Minnelli’s infamous wedding to “the man whose name shall go unmentioned.” In “The Zoo Story” Harris desperately searches for a common bond with his rough-and-tumble four-year-old son.

What better place to find painfully funny material than in growing up gay, gifted, and ambitious in the heart of the Bible belt? And that’s just the first cut: From partying to parenting, from Sunday school to getting sober, these slices of Ham will have you laughing and wiping away salty tears in equal measure with their universal and down-to-earth appeal. After all, there’s a little ham in all of us.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476733449
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 10/07/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,032,455
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sam Harris’s diversified career has run the gamut from singer and songwriter to actor on Broadway, film, and television to writer, director, and producer. His now legendary performances on TV’s Star Search led to a multi-million selling recording career. Sam has several studio CDs to his credit and has toured the world in concert, played the White House, Carnegie Hall, with the Boston Pops, and with Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors tour. He is also a Tony nominated Broadway star (The Life, Grease, The Producers), and starred in numerous off-Broadway productions including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Hair, Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cabaret, The Jazz Singer, and The First Wives Club. Sam was a series regular on the CBS series, The Class, and has appeared on numerous television shows as an actor and also a popular talk show guest. Behind the scenes, he created and co-wrote the TBS television series, Down to Earth, the musical Hurry! Hurry! Hollywood!, and Liza’s Back at the Palace (which won the Tony Award), co-produced the television special Love Letter to New York, and wrote and directed the concert event New York's Finest. He now adds author to his long list of accomplishments with the release of his first book: Ham: Slices of a Life. Sam lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Danny, and their child, Cooper. For more information, please visit:

Read an Excerpt

Ham: Slices of a Life
When I was nineteen years old, while helping my aunt Betty reorganize her kitchen cabinets, I discovered a beaten and worn plastic Mary Poppins cup and saucer marooned in the back corner of an ignored shelf. They were issued in 1964, the year of the movie’s release. My aunt told me they’d been intended for me when I was little, but my father had returned them to her because I was “too obsessed with Mary Poppins and singing and dancing.”

In the next room, my dad, uncle, brother, and all four boy cousins could be heard yelling in that guttural, grunting Cro-Magnon caterwauling exclusively reserved for watching football games on television and killing wild pigs on a hunt. I marched into the living room and presented the cup and saucer with outstretched arms.

“Do you remember these?” I said, my confrontational passion unbefitting some battered old plastic children’s dishes.

They all stared at me, confused, as if I’d just asked for an honest opinion about the chances of a fashion comeback for the ascot.

“Uh, no, son,” said my father. “Ask your mother.”

The Cowboys scored another touchdown and the room erupted as they hug-slapped and adjusted their crotches. My father loved the Cowboys and could recount the great plays of the last twenty years. But he had no memory of banning the Mary Poppins treasures.

Cue home movie: Christmas 1964.

I am three years old. My mother is operating the camera. It is in grainy, Super 8 color, and there is no sound. A toy army tank and various toy guns are strewn about and a mini-rifle is propped against the wall. Plastic grenades litter the floor. GI Joe lies in a coffinlike cellophane-covered box. It is a battlefield of unwrapped but unattended boy toys around the base of our silver aluminum Christmas tree, which is bobbed with shiny red and green Woolworth balls, reflecting the muted shades of an electric color wheel. I open a new wool coat, charcoal with a spattering of white, knee length, with large lapels and giant black buttons. Now this is a present!

I eagerly put it on and model it full-tilt. I am overtaken with euphoria and begin to dance. The camera pans to capture the delight of each of my three grandparents, until it lands on my father, whose young, handsome face steams with displeasure and perhaps a touch of anger. His posture reflects a just released sigh of defeat. The camera pans back to me, still dancing. I look to my father and take in his reaction. For a split second I lose my timing.

Then I take a big breath, turn back at the camera, smile, and . . . just dance harder.

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