I am an Alec Baldwin apologist. I know he is a bit of a dick in his personal life but 30 Rock is one of my favorite shows of all time and I’m loving his Trump impersonation on SNL. If you are not an Alec Baldwin apologist then you’ll probably dislike this memoir; he doesn’t come across well and he is a bit petty in the recounting of his life.
His childhood was rough; he grew up with five brothers & sisters and very little money to go around. He made his way in to college, with plans to be a lawyer, before eventually landing a role on the soap Doctors. In his early years, Alec has nothing but nice things to say about his new circle of friends and his costars on shows like Knotts Landing and the play Prelude to a Kiss.
However his nostalgic reminiscing begins to turn black when discussing things like the contract negotiations after Hunt for Red October- when he was dropped from the sequel for Harrison Ford- and when the studio replaced Mary-Louise Parker in the film adaptation of Prelude to a Kiss.
“I realized then that the movies really do enhance certain actors, making them seem like something they really aren’t at all. Ford, in person, is a little man, short, scrawny, and wiry, whose soft voice sounds as if it’s coming from behind a door.
Baldwin touches briefly on his relationship with Kim Basinger, her legal battle in the early years of their marriage and their slow, painful divorce. He manages to blame the infamous voicemail on his ex-wife, because her team leaked it to the media, and how, despite being on the same network at the time, he hasn’t been on the Today Show since they brought TMZ’s Harry Levin on to discuss the leaked voicemail.
If the goal of my ex and her lawyers was to damage or ruin my relationship with my daughter, then I certainly gave them the ammunition to do that. … In all honesty, my relationship with my daughter was permanently harmed by that episode. And in that sense, my ex-wife and her lawyers succeed.
It’s not all petty recounts of his time in Hollywood. He has wonderful things to say about his time on SNL, crediting the writers for the words that make people think he is funny, and his adoration of Tina Fey is apparent. He is equally complementary about his 30 Rock co-stars Tracey Morgan, Jack McBrayer and Jane Krakowski but I wish he had devoted more pages to behind the scenes inside scoop.
When I first met Tina Fey- beautiful and brunette, smart and funny, at turns smug and diffident and completely uninterested in me or anything I had to say- I had the same reaction that I’m sure many men and women have: I fell in love.
All in all this is a fairly well written memoir by a grumpy but talented actor. It’s not a bad book but, like most memoirs, if you don’t like the life choices the subject made you’re not going to like the book. I’m just going to go watch 30 Rock for the 10th time.