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How I Slept My Way to the Middle: Secrets And Stories From Stage, Screen, And Interwebs Hardcover – November 6, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Pollak is one of those actors you instantly recognize, even if you don’t know his name. He’s been in A Few Good Men, Casino, Ricochet, The Usual Suspects, The Whole Nine Yards, and Grumpy Old Men (among many, many others). He got his start as a stand-up comedian, and his impressions—especially his Shatner—are legendary. Here he takes us back through his career: working with Robert DeNiro and Tom Cruise and Warren Beatty and Steve Martin and Rob Reiner and Martin Scorcese (not all at once); playing pranks on Paul Reiser and Alan Arkin; teaching Johnny Carson how to do a wicked Shatner impression; watching his mother hit on Jack Nicholson. The book is full of funny or surprising stories (sometimes they’re both) and plenty of self-deprecating humor. Pollak is a working actor, not a star, and his book is all the more likable for it. A genuinely entertaining movie memoir. --David Pitt

Review

"It’s great stuff. ... We love it. ... Pollak has packed his book with not only amazing stories from his life (and there are many) but with enough celebrity anecdotes that this could almost be shelved with the quotation books. This is a very funny, real insider look at the 'business.'"
—AmericasComedy.com

"The book is full of funny or surprising stories (sometimes they’re both) and plenty of self-deprecating humor. Pollak is a working actor, not a star, and his book is all the more likable for it. A genuinely entertaining movie memoir."
—Booklist

"Amusing ... Pollak is an engaging raconteur on the page. ... The most compelling passages concern the author's pre-fame days, including a legitimately riveting account of the teenage author, already in possession of a killer Peter Falk impersonation, hijacking a concert performance by Rich Little."
Kirkus Reviews

“If he writes as well as he imitates me, you’re in for a good time.”
—ALBERT BROOKS

“Kevin Pollak is a mastermind of smart and funny. He attacks my funny bone the way a pit bull attacks my anklebone.”
—STEVE MARTIN

“Kevin Pollak is one of those guys who shows up in every corner of the Business of Show—hit TV programs, award winning movies, radio shows of every kind, and benefit dinners for worthy charities. I once saw him in the parking lot at Cirque du Soleil and hollered, ‘Hey! Kevin!’ but he didn’t hear me. Like you, I wonder how he’s made it to the Big Time. This book brings that mystery to a close.”
—TOM HANKS

“Kevin Pollak does it all: He does impressions, he acts, he writes, he produces. He continues to impress with his unique and unabashed ability to use his friends’ names for his sole benefit. A true Renaissance man.”
—TOM CRUISE

“Unfortunately, as a personal favor, I allowed Leo Tolstoy a blurb calling War and Peace ‘my most fun read ever.’ That being the case, I am unable to say the same about How I Slept My Way to the Middle. Would that I had reserved that comment for Kevin Pollak, where the appraisal would be so much more deserved.”
—JAMES L. BROOKS

“Unfortunately, I did a little digging, and Kevin Pollak’s book was ghostwritten by a factory full of Chinese children hopped up on n-hexane. In spite of, or perhaps because of, that, I hear it’s a great read.”
—HARRY SHEARER

“Actor, writer, storyteller, stand up, chat-show host, man about town, the most wonderful company, and now memoirist. Is there no end to his deranged ambition? Clearly not. I did two pictures with him and count myself lucky I got off with just two. A book I just couldn’t wait to put down.”
—GABRIEL BYRNE

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; 1 edition (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076278055X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762780556
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #757,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rob Mattheu on November 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Kevin Pollak's Kevin Pollak's Chat Show podcast is a treat as Kevin Pollak interviews celebrities in a freewheeling 2 or 3 hour chat about show business and their career. What makes Pollak's show so appealing is his enthusiasm for the business, his love of both the comedy and acting craft, and his seemingly endless enthusiasm to know more about others. What shines through behind Pollak's smart ass exterior is a genuinely nice guy who seems to be in awe of the fact that he gets to do something he loves among people more famous than he.

Kevin's goofiness and ease with a story transfers well to How I Slept My Way to the Middle, a mostly good natured celebrity tell-some about his Zelig-like (his comparison) journey through Hollywood. Pollak has worked with some of the best in the business and tells loving stories of working with the likes of Nicholson, DeNiro, Cruise, and Samm Levine. Like the best of these types of books, it's light, breezy, funny, and a little bitchy at times. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jimmy Lin on April 7, 2015
Format: Hardcover
This is pretty much the book that any one of us average Joes would want write (if we had the talent) should we have magically found ourselves working with some of Hollywood's biggest names.

Pollak's somewhat rambling memoir is incredibly entertaining. It alternates between "I'm just a schmuck - how did I get here?" and "This is the ballsy thing I did that advanced my career" and "I got to hang out with these famous people people." Sure, there's a lot of name-dropping - but it's always done in an entertaining way and with a sense of slight disbelief and awe. It's a damned funny book and rich with tales from the unseen Hollywood.

I personally found the DeNiro, Brooks, and Nicholson stories to be priceless. Although one of these days, I'd like to see "Club Willis."

If you're a follower of movie biz, then you'll find this to be an entertaining way to spend several hours. I recommend the audiobook, so you can benefit from KP's myriad impressions (btw, his Paul Reiser is EERIE).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bvus on May 10, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am a little puzzled by a few of the negative reviews saying he is self involved or annoying. Don't you just expect that from celebrities? He even admits he is thoroughly self involved, so what is the problem? He is a good story teller and he has a lot of exciting or interesting stories about people you know. Kind of like the stories that celebrities tell when they go on a talk show. It is like a series of these talk show panel appearance stories, thoughtfully and creatively organized. Just what you might expect from a celebrity book. There is lots of name dropping, but he is writing about his experiences in comedy clubs, movies and tv so you would expect a name or two or a hundred to pop up. The pace is fast and light and the tone is generally very deferential.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Kevin Pollack for years, mostly accidental, since he's always been a supporting player in the movies I've seen him in and never the sole reason I buy a ticket to see the films he's been in. Some of those films are some of my all time favorites - The Usual Suspects, That Thing You Do, etc. - and I've always enjoyed his banter on shows he hosted or co-hosted (such as a Celebrity Poker). To top it off, he and I are both from the same town and went to the same middle and high schools in San Jose, CA.

What's my point? My point is that ALL of that useless information above is irrelevant to why I love his book. I downloaded the sample, read the first story of his about meeting Robert DeNiro just before shooting Casino and I was laughing out loud, then bought the whole book immediately.

Each chapter is a great read and I laughed many more times, out loud. Some, I handed over to my wife and said, "Read this!", to which she laughed out loud as well. His stories of him messing with Paul Reiser and Alan Arkin is worth the purchase, alone. My favorite thing about this book is how Pollak pulls you into his world in which he's a fish out of water and living the good life for the first time. I will say, I was slightly disappointed that he didn't mention anything about his experience on Tom Hanks' film That Thing You Do, but again, that's one of my favorite movies, so I'm sure not many others would mind that omission.

If you love reading behind-the-scenes anecdotes of what goes on during a movie shoot, at a lavish hotel suite (aka Penthouse) occupied by the likes of Bruce Willis and friends, or just want to laugh at a great comedian's very humble tale of climbing the fame ladder, you must buy this book. Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kevin Pollak takes the reader through a life on stage and screen with his own signature sense of humor. From his days of lip-synching to Bill Cosby routines to working alongside screen legends, Kevin gives a real behind-the-scenes look at the worlds of stand-up comedy, television and film. To get the full experience, I strongly recommend you also pick up the audiobook because there's nothing like hearing Kevin do his impressions.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Narratrix on March 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked this up after seeing Mr. Pollak on G4 promoting his book. I enjoy Kevin's comedy, so I figured I'd enjoy his foray into writing. And all I can say is... meh. I mean, there are some funny parts to it, and it is definitely chock full of anecdotes about how he made it into the Hollywood lens.

But I walked away with the feeling that this was less about him and more about who he's rubbed elbows with. Which, don't get me wrong, isn't necessarily bad, but I was really hoping for more of Mr. Pollak's own humor to shine through. He clearly has quite an affection for Tom Cruise, and I have to admit, it was hilarious reading about his interactions with Jack Nicholson, but overall, I felt like I wanted more. It was just okay.
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