13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sloppiness has never been so funny
Gilbert Gottfried spends most of the 272 pages of "Rubber Balls and Liquor" making veiled apologies about the quality of his writing. In his introduction, he makes it clear that the one and only reason he's writing this book is because, well, he has a book deal, and, against his better judgment, he must fill blank pages with words. A good portion of the book is...
Published on May 1, 2011 by M. Fulkerson
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, but a few gem chapters
I'm a big fan of Gilbert Gottfried's comedy but I was somewhat disappointed with the book. The first part of the book is filled with stories of his early childhood and career that are meant to be funny but may just bring a slight chuckle here and there. Unfortunately, you can't even tell if the stories are true - he states early in the book that some of the stories are...
Published on December 21, 2011 by Marvin C.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sloppiness has never been so funny,
Gilbert Gottfried spends most of the 272 pages of "Rubber Balls and Liquor" making veiled apologies about the quality of his writing. In his introduction, he makes it clear that the one and only reason he's writing this book is because, well, he has a book deal, and, against his better judgment, he must fill blank pages with words. A good portion of the book is dedicated to just that: filling up space. Somehow, though, Gilbert gets away with it by distracting you with a killer wit and sense of humor. Sure, you're going to notice the fact that he refuses to divulge anything of any depth or emotion, but you're so busy laughing it won't make any difference.
"Rubber Balls and Liquor" proves a difficult book to review. While being absolutely hilarious it simultaneously reveals a mind-numbingly frustrating habit of veering off into fits of rambling and unnecessary parenthetical asides. Of course, Gilbert knows and recognizes this fact, and makes a point of reminding the reader that he's incapable, and unwilling, of changing his habits.
As I read through the brief introduction to the book I belly-laughed at least five times. A great start to any book, I say. The following 260 pages show Gilbert not really trying to stay on point, bringing up interesting anecdotes, theories, and stories, only to derail himself with some randomness that will make your head spin. But again, you're laughing, so can this be a bad thing?
He brings up most of the career changing events in his professional life, such as his early stand-up, SNL, his movies and voice over work, and his Aristocrats joke at the Hefner roast. He only lightly brushes over these topics, though, before he gets sidetracked and begins babbling about his sex life (or lack thereof), and endless self-deprecating comments that are distracting, but ultimately funny. It's a constant push/pull relationship you'll have with this book that's hard to describe until you read it. Gilbert has no form or structure in mind for this book, but he's always behind the wheel and in control. Of course, he's the worst driver of all time, but he'll eventually get you to your destination.
After reading this book, I know absolutely nothing more than I ever did about Gilbert Gottfried. Just as he appears in real life, he chooses to keep people at arms length by distracting them with killer laughs and jokes. Somehow, this suffices. There were several times in this book where it seemed Gilbert was just about to delve into a deeper part of his psyche or outlook on life, but he swiftly steered into more familiar territory which is, obviously, his comedy. He clearly is content in alienating everyone in life, even his fans. But when you like Gilbert and agree to dive into his book, you already know that and have accepted the ride as given. So as annoying as Gilbert's shallowness can be, you respect the little twerp for the unique creature he is. There has never been anyone in show business who can be directly compared to Gilbert's career, and that fact alone makes this book an interesting read.
Gilbert Gottfried simply doesn't care what anyone thinks, but from that dissent comes a rare comic mind. He gets to display this with occasional appearances on the Howard Stern show. Whenever Gilbert goes on the Howard Stern show my entire day gets re-arranged so I can listen with undivided attention. It's an event. His Stern appearances are special because it's an opportunity to hear him unedited and free, much like this book. This book is a lot like his appearances on the Stern show in that he just spews out whatever is on his mind, provoked or not.
Gilbert is definitely a weird guy. He's riddled with A.D.D., can't hold a thought for more than two seconds, refuses to conform, and we love him for it. If anything, "Rubber Balls and Liquor" is the most refreshingly frustrating book I've ever read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars God Gave Me a Tongue So I Could Say, "LOVE IT!",
Many people who only knew Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of the bird in ALADDIN were probably surprised to hear that he was fired from his Alfac gig, for making about two dozen of the most insensitive, poorly-timed jokes in recorded history, about the tsunami in Japan. Those of us in the know realize that Gilbert has been engaging in this type of humor quite gleefully for 20+ years...but word carries further in the age of Twitter. I'll admit quite willingly that when those jokes hit Twitter (one after another, in the span of just a few minutes) I laughed out loud at about half of them--in equal parts at their brilliance and their stupidity. I'll also say that Gilbert's Hefner Roast version of the ARISTOCRATS joke was quite possibly the hardest I have ever laughed in my life.
Those who are offended by Gottfried's tsunami jokes should read his book. They won't like it--they will CERTAINLY be offended--but they'll see that Gilbert makes himself the butt of his own jokes just as often as he makes fun of, say, holocaust victims. He portrays himself as a D-list celebrity and chronic masturbator. Does that make his insensitive style of humor less horrendous? Well...yes. Gilbert is part of the 1% of celebrities who writes an autobiography with no agenda, no illusion of making the world fall in love with him. His only desire is to make us laugh: any way, any how. ...oh, and to make some money.
Just the fact that Gilbert Gottfried talks in that squawky voice all the time makes him a national treasure: he is the only living celebrity who subscribes to the Groucho Marx school of comedy. That's not his real voice; he doesn't HAVE to talk like that. But he does--even when doing interviews, even in voiceover work, even when signing autographs after shows. Anytime he's in public, he is "on." Say what you will about the "obnoxiousness" factor...it takes tremendous skill and dedication to build up a persona and commit to it completely. That persona carries over into the printed word: every chapter and every page of this book reads like an extended Gottfried standup routine. He rambles, he exaggerates, and he makes incredibly outdated references to long-dead celebrities. Perhaps appropriately, even several of his "current" references were already outdated within a week of the book's release: his firing as the Aflac duck and the death of Osama bin Laden give several jokes an instant nostalgic flavor.
I hesitate to say anything directly about the book, because I don't want to spoil any of the great jokes. I will say that many of the most bizarre and most hilarious bits involve Gilbert's long, involved pontifications about his masturbatory habits. In particular, a diatribe about newsprint and a story about a killer whale really have to be read to be believed. This book was probably the most I have laughed aloud at the printed word since discovering Douglas Adams' HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE trilogy at age 12, fifteen years ago.
To Gottfried, comedy is an art. In the final chapter of the book, he recounts his infamous Hefner Roast appearance. After he told a totally inappropriate WTC joke just weeks after 9/11, someone screamed out, "Too soon!" Gilbert claims that his first reaction was to assume that he hadn't paused long enough before the punchline--he had said it "too soon." Out of all the wild facts presented in the book, I think I believe that one the most. In Gilbert Gottfried's mind, it's not offensive to joke about tragedy. The only thing he could find objectionable is a poorly-timed punchline. For all his claims about being in it for the money, the facts say otherwise: Gilbert Gottfried has worked his entire career to isolate 80% of his audience, and make the other 20% of us laugh harder than we ever realized we could. For that 20%, this book is like scripture, handed down by a comedy god.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Damn you, Gilbert!!,
I'm a busy man...places to go, people to see, rejection to get...so the only time I really have to relax with a book is at the end of the day in bed. But that doesn't work with Gilbert's book because the laughter is keeping my wife awake. Of course I could get the audio book & listen in the car, but that would probably cause a wreck. Thanks a lot, Gil! You're nothing but trouble.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gilbert's funny. The book is too.,
Lots of funny stories (the one with Harrison Ford backstage at a talkshow killed me) and tons of good jokes you can use on your friends. Plus you get to see a new side of Gilbert - but not in a boring, mushy way. Good book.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Comic Genius,
I love Gilbert, so does my wife for whom I bought the book. Very entertaining, definitely raunchy--that's who he is.
1.0 out of 5 stars Forced humor,
I bought this book because Gilbert Gottfried is fairly funny in person, but this book reads like one first grade joke after another.
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Laughs,
Gilbert is the master of offensive humor, which he dishes out aplenty in this page-turner. Too much parenthetical filler though, and a little short on a personal level. Still, he is the best.
4.0 out of 5 stars very funny,
a very funny book, by a wacky crazy guy. If you want to laugh I would highly recommend this book by the funny gilbert.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great purchase,
it was purchased as a gift for someone who is a big fan of Gilbert Gottfried. He was really pleased with the book.
1.0 out of 5 stars I like his comedy but hated his book,
As a comic, I like Gilbert and find him funny - really like him on the "Roasts" too - but I did not like the book at all - told you very little about him; and I could not find the "story" - looks like he wrote it as the thing to do - did not like the book at all, but I did finish it.
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Rubber Balls and Liquor by Gilbert Gottfried (Paperback - May 22, 2012)