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Is This Anything?

by Jerry Seinfeld

Kirkus All comedians are slightly amazed when anything works. So writes Seinfeld in this pleasing collection of sketches from across his four-decade career.Known for his wry, observational humor, Seinfeld has largely avoided profanity and dirty jokes and has kept politics out of the equation. Like other schooled jokesters, perhaps most famously Bob Hope, he keeps a huge library of gags stockpiled, ever fearful of that day when the jokes will run out or the emcee will call you back for another set. For the most part, it was the people who killed themselves to keep coming up with great new material who were able to keep rising through the many levels, he recounts of his initiation into the New York stand-up scene. Not all his early material played well. The first piece in this collection, laid out sentence by sentence as if for a teleprompter, is a bit about being left-handed, which comes with negative baggage: Two left feet. / Left-handed compliment. / Bad ideas are always out of left field. / What are we having for dinner? / Leftovers. He gets better, and quickly, as when he muses on the tininess of airplane bathrooms: And a little slot for used razor blades. Who is shaving on the plane? And shaving so much, theyre using up razor blades. Is the Wolfman flying in there? For the most part, the authors style is built on absurdities: Why does water ruin leather? / Arent cows outside a lot of the time? Its also affable, with rare exceptions, as when, taking on a mob boss persona, he threatens a child with breaking the youngsters Play-Doh creations: Nothing wrong with sending your child a little Sicilian message once in a while. One wishes there were more craft notes among the gags, but the ones that are there are both inspiring and gnomic: Stand-up is about a brief, fleeting moment of human connection.Fans of Seinfeld will eat this up, and aspiring comics will want to study how he shapes his seemingly effortless humor. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Comedian Seinfeld (Seinlanguage) reflects on the absurdities of life in a laugh-out-loud volume that gathers jokes he’s written over the course of his 45-year career along with reminiscences on the lifestyle and craft of stand-up. “I was able to spend endless amounts of time on some of the silliest ideas you can imagine,” he writes. “And they’re all here.” Highlights include takes on such topics as air travel (“The closest thing we have to royalty in America are the people that ride in those little carts through the airport.”) and growing up (“How many times did your parents have to say to you, ‘Would you get up off the floor?’ Adulthood is the ability to be totally bored and remain standing.”). Throughout the sections of monologue-style jokes, which appear almost like a script on the page in stacked lines, Seinfeld inserts anecdotes from his career, such as remembering venturing to an N.Y.C. comedy club for the first time at age 20 (“every neuron in my little brain just lit up”); working on Seinfeld with producer Larry David and feeling like an “over-drained marathoner”; and doing “nothing” for two years after the series wrapped in 1998, before seeing Chris Rock perform and getting inspired to return to the stage. This sharply observed, life-in-gags treasure trove offers essential reading for comedy fans, from a master of the form. Agent: Christian Carino, Creative Arts Agency. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Assaying 50 years of making people burst into fits of giggles, Seinfeld's new work is his first book in 25 years (one million-copy first printing).

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus “All comedians are slightly amazed when anything works.” So writes Seinfeld in this pleasing collection of sketches from across his four-decade career. Known for his wry, observational humor, Seinfeld has largely avoided profanity and dirty jokes and has kept politics out of the equation. Like other schooled jokesters, perhaps most famously Bob Hope, he keeps a huge library of gags stockpiled, ever fearful of that day when the jokes will run out or the emcee will call you back for another set. “For the most part, it was the people who killed themselves to keep coming up with great new material who were able to keep rising through the many levels,” he recounts of his initiation into the New York stand-up scene. Not all his early material played well. The first piece in this collection, laid out sentence by sentence as if for a teleprompter, is a bit about being left-handed, which comes with negative baggage: “Two left feet. / Left-handed compliment. / Bad ideas are always ‘out of left field.’ / What are we having for dinner? / Leftovers.” He gets better, and quickly, as when he muses on the tininess of airplane bathrooms: “And a little slot for used razor blades. Who is shaving on the plane? And shaving so much, they’re using up razor blades. Is the Wolfman flying in there?” For the most part, the author’s style is built on absurdities: “Why does water ruin leather? / Aren’t cows outside a lot of the time?” It’s also affable, with rare exceptions, as when, taking on a mob boss persona, he threatens a child with breaking the youngster’s Play-Doh creations: “Nothing wrong with sending your child a little Sicilian message once in a while.” One wishes there were more craft notes among the gags, but the ones that are there are both inspiring and gnomic: “Stand-up is about a brief, fleeting moment of human connection.” Fans of Seinfeld will eat this up, and aspiring comics will want to study how he shapes his seemingly effortless humor. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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