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Dying to Do Letterman Paperback – October 17, 2011

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About the Author

Steve Mazan. Man? Myth? Legend? Some people say he's none of these. Steve is, however, one of the hottest comedians and speakers in the country and a veteran of the US Navy. Critics have described his act as 'brilliant,' 'goofy,' and 'exceptionally clever.' That reputation has landed him on the most coveted stages and numerous television shows, including The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Steve's journey to try and get on the Letterman show has been made into an award-winning documentary that's been called 'inspiring' and 'side-splittingly funny.' A former writer for Ellen Degeneres, Steve has also appeared on Last Comic Standing, Byron Allen, and The Bob & Tom Show. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Denise, and his dogs, Wrigley and Kuma, and currently travels the country to film festivals where his documentary is racking up critic awards and audience acclaim. For more information on the movie Dying to Do Letterman and about Steve and his latest book, visit and

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Hello, I'm Steve Mazan. I'm a comedian. Nice to meet you. I hope that introduction wasn't too awkward.
Obviously, what you are holding is a book. But my hope is that what it will really become is a wake-up call. Maybe you can even put it on your bedside stand next to your alarm clock. One will wake you up to your day, and the other to your dreams.
This book tells the story of my own wake-up call. The story of a dream I had since I was a kid, and how I kept hitting the snooze button on that dream because I thought I had plenty of time to reach it.
I never shared my dream with anyone or chased it with all my heart until my wake-up call arrived, blaring at me. But once I started going after it and started telling others about it, an amazing thing happened: people began to tell me that I had inspired them. People I knew my whole life. And people I had never met.
It was obvious I had tapped into something. Most―if not all―of us have some dream we've put on hold or suppressed altogether because the routine of life has taken over. That's just how it goes. But I believe life would be better if we all picked up those dreams, if we all started inspiring one other. Is there any doubt the world would be a better place if it was full of inspired people rather than the uninspired?
The more people I encountered, the more stories I heard about shelved dreams. I wanted to encourage people to reignite their passion and then tell others about it. My own journey taught me that an important part of a dream is sharing it. No dream is reached alone. You either need emotional support or direct help along the way. In most cases, both.
To urge people to share their own dreams, I came up with an idea for a button. A button people could wear that reads, 'I'm dying to . . .' and has a blank spot where they could write their goal. A version of the button is on the cover of this very book!
Made ya look! The button on the cover just asks the question, 'what are YOU dying to do?' But the ones I hand out to people at shows or screenings of our documentary have a blank where I personally write in what that person is dying to do. To get a button, people have to tell me their dream. I won't hand out blank buttons. I have personalized thousands and thousands of these 'I'm dying to . . .' buttons.
Filling them out and hearing people's dreams inspires me. I love it. But the sad thing is, most people don't have an answer for what they want me to write. They have to think about it. Even after waiting in a long line to get the button, they haven't figured it out.
After a minute or two of talking to them and trying to help them figure it out, I let most of them off the hook. I coax a short-term dream out of them like, 'I'm dying to drink,' 'I'm dying to eat pizza,' 'I'm dying to party,' or 'I'm dying to see a good movie.' And then I give them some homework. I tell each of them they have to go home and think about what they are really Dying to Do.
Maybe you picked up this book because you already have a dream in mind. You already know what you are dying to do. Great! Then read on about the incredible things that unfolded once I admitted to myself and everyone around me what I was dying to do, and I chased it with a passion.
If you picked up this book not knowing what it is you are dying to do, I hope you will think about it as you read about my journey. Give it even more focus when you are not reading. Make it your number one priority to answer that question. Not for me, but for you. Fill in that blank.
Knowing what you're dying to do tells you what you are living for.
One note on this. I've met many people along the way who think they've achieved everything they could ever want to accomplish. They tell me they aren't 'dying to do' anything. They've got a great life, a great family, a great job. It's as if admitting they have some dream they have ignored is a condemnation of the life they've lived. It's not. You might have reached several dreams in your life―congrats! But old and completed dreams need to be replaced with new ones, otherwise the inspiration goes missing. And we all know what kind of life that leads to: an uninspired life.
I believe this book can really help a lot of people. But it's not set up like a self-help book. There are no lists of what you need to do. No secrets to success. No strategies to implement to change your life. Instead, it's just a story. A bunch of stories that make up my story to date. But I've seen this story inspire people. In fact, the editor of this book, Michele Matrisciani, called me after reading the first draft and told me she was quitting her job. I asked, 'Was it that bad?' (I thought I had driven her out of the business!) She told me no, the story was that good. It woke her up. My story had inspired her to finally chase a dream she had: to open her own editing/writing/publishing consulting business. And after helping me edit this book, that is exactly what she did. I was touched, astonished, and inspired right back. Michele admitted what she was dying to do and started chasing it. She filled in that blank.
Now it's your turn.
Fill in that blank. And read on. Enjoy your wake-up call. And don't even think about reaching for the snooze button.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: HCI (October 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757316271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757316272
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,158,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Erde on January 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm not a fan of Steve Mazan's stand up, so I didn't have high expectations of his writing abilities. I'm so glad he totally nailed it in this book. Any true comedy fan will love it. Lots of great comedians are throughout the book, and the story itself is wonderful without being sappy. I finished it in one sitting. Absolutely loved it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michelle on November 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Steve Mazan pens his quest to be a guest on Letterman with humor (of course), an attention to detail and interesting insight to the world of stand-up comedy. Who knew there was so much competition?

Along the journey, Mazan gets a diagnosis devastating enough to cause many to hang up their dreams and goals. He doesn't let this defeat him...slow him down a bit...maybe...but not defeat.

I read the end of the book twice. Savoring victory isn't a one time deal, in my opinion. Now, I'm ready for a second book. I need the follow-up story of his health, marriage and infertility journey.

An encouraging, motivating read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bmfc1 on February 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember watching Steve's set on Letterman and thought it was fantastic. What I didn't know is what lead up to that night. It was an incredible journey for Steve, his wife and friends and I'm so glad that he shared it with us in this wonderful book. When he describes his feelings after his set was over, I teared up. Steve didn't perform his bit about standing ovations on Letterman but he deserves one for this book.
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How can one man be so generous, caring, humble, AND funny?! It may sound strange but Steve Mazan's diagnosis of cancer may be one of the best things that ever happened to him. After learning he has cancer, he begins to ask himself, "What have I always been dying to do?" Since he was a kid, he thought appearing on Late Night with David Letterman would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to him. He grew up and became a professional comic but try as he might, a booking on the Letterman show eluded him. In his book, Mazan details with incredible humor how his childhood dream of "dying to do Letterman" suddenly became an urgent goal. He gives himself a year to do anything he can to get on the show and perform a set for Dave and millions of others.

Mazan talks openly about the effects a cancer diagnosis has on marriage, living out his dreams, and hopes for the future. The thing I like best about the book is that I felt like I was sitting comfortably in his living room while he told me his story. The book is free from pretense. Anyone needing some laughs, or inspiration to finally live their dreams and turn "someday" into "today" will benefit by reading this book.

I was lucky to see the premiere of Steve's movie "Dying to do Letterman" at the Cinequest Film Festival and receive on of his "Dying to..." buttons. I didn't hesitate. "I'm dying to go to Africa!" A few months later, I went to Africa for four months. The button still hangs on a chalkboard in my kitchen reminding me that life is short and that we all should live our dreams everyday.
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