This brief audiobook gave me a bit of an existential crisis. It’s billed as a funny memoir-type-thing written by a comedian. It says so right on the cover. Which is why I spent the first half of the book asking myself, “Is this humor? What is humor? Is anything humor? What is life? Why am I here?” It wasn’t that it was a bad book, exactly, although it wasn’t great. It just wasn’t funny at all. Delaney covers his early life and youthful misadventures and…maybe they’re funnier in his head. It’s read by Rob Delaney, so you wouldn’t think all that much would get lost in the translation. But the first half reads like the bland memoir of some dude’s misspent youth, but not like write-a-book-about-it misspent by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just some stories. They’re fine. They aren’t funny. He does sometimes have an eloquent, lovely way with words. They don’t seem like stories that are trying to be funny but not landing, they’re just freaking stories with no discernible humor whatsoever.
So why don’t I want to review this book? Because I can’t review it without talking about the surreal experience of expecting to hear a humorous book written by a comedian and getting a super mediocre memoir from someone I’ve never even heard of before. However, by the time his stories reached adulthood, the humor aspect was still hit and miss but he started to come across as a genuinely decent person (not that he came across as a bad person initially). There’s something about the way he talks about his experiences with depression and addiction that I can’t quite put my finger on but really appreciated. I have little to no interest in addiction memoirs, but this one is different. He talks about it not with a lack of accountability for his actions – not at all – but sort of like he felt really shitty and hated it and was glad to find a way out of the hole. He doesn’t blame others and he doesn’t play the victim, but he discusses it like it’s an illness (and it is) that he didn’t enjoy any more than anyone else.
By the end, I genuinely don’t know if he’d gotten funnier or I’d gotten used to his brand of humor (??). I’ll say this, though: he seems like a nice guy to know, and I really, truly wish him well. Is that weird?