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How NOT to Write a Memoir

The Glass Castle is a beautiful example of how to write the story of a life. Jay Mohr‘s Gasping for Airtime is not. In brief, the book is about his two years as a featured player on Saturday Night Live. Mohr breezes too quickly through anything that has the potential to be remotely interesting or meaty. He makes himself sound like a whiny, lazy, insecure, jealous kid impatient with his slow rise to fame. Hopefully he has matured since then — I am sure he has since he seems comfortable with exposing what a spoiled child he was while in NBC’s employ.

What really turned me off to him was his nonchalant re-telling of how, on the rare occasion he made it on stage, he broke character and laughed out loud. Please. Don’t. It’s not that funny. Ever.

He never really offers up any juicy dirt, preferring to be deferential and not burn any more bridges. Although I understand that reasoning (I do it here every day for free), it makes for a very dull read. The dude got paid to dish. Hell, even in my amateur and restricted essay I managed to disclose some very uncomfortable truths. The stories he does tell are rushed — some relegated to a mere paragraph or two — and not remotely funny or poignant or interesting. I would be curious to meet him and find out if he has more to share but was afraid of repercussions or if his booze- & pot-fueled, Klonopin-aided stupor clouded his memory.

So who should read this book? The 20 or so people SNL hires for this next season. But if you still want to, it will only take you about 6 to 8 hours to read. Very simple, brief writing.

There is my take on book five of my summer reading. Next up: Bonfire of the Vanities.