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  • The Best of "This American Life": Lies, Sissies & Fiascoes
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The Best of "This American Life": Lies, Sissies & Fiascoes

36 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 4, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Are you a sucker for a well-told story--one that'll make you hoot with pleasure, drop your mouth in disbelief, tear up with empathy? If that be the case, you're likely already a fan of the brilliant beyond-hip This American Life. If you're not yet familiar with the Public Radio show and its ingenious host, Ira Glass, Lies, Sissies & Fiascoes will tickle your ears and engage your sense of wonderment. Underscored by adroitly chosen musical bits from Jonathan Richman to Liz Phair to Yo La Tengo, The Best of TAL springs into action illustrating the criterion for true fiasco with Jack Hitt's lively narrative of an uproariously bad production of Peter Pan. David Sedaris recounts reeling off insults and complaints in iambic pentameter as a teen bitten by the Drama Bug (which bites "Jews, homosexuals and plump women who wear their hair in bangs" the hardest). Dishwasher Pete tells how he duped the Letterman show, Scott Carrier gives a moving account of how his life unraveled and came back together during the season he conducted interviews with schizophrenics, and Ira Glass sounds off on getting over heartbreak. --Paige La Grone

Disc: 1
1. Peter Pan - Mr. Jack Hitt (An Interview)
2. Drama Bug - Mr. David Sedaris
3. Letterman! Cookies! - Mr. Dishwasher Pete
4. Mr. Loh's Not Afraid To Be Naked - Ms. Sandra Tsing Loh
5. Teen Getaway - Ms. Cheryl Tryku
6. Shooting Dad - Ms. Sarah Vowell
Disc: 2
1. Get Over It! - Mr. Ira Glass
2. Hands on a Hardbody - Rob Bindler
3. The Test - Mr. Scott Carrier
4. Xmas Freud - Mr. David Rakoff
5. Apology Line - Ms. Marissa Bridge (An Interview)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 4, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B00000I725
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,175 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Bickford on April 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Even though I had heard most of these stories already on This American Life, I never questioned whether or not to buy this double CD set. These uniquely American tales are timeless and universal in appeal. Even the more esoteric selections -- Scott Carrier's The Test or Dishwasher Pete's Letterman! Cookies! -- are enthralling and entertaining. It's the kind of collection about which one might honestly be able to say that the David Sedaris story is not the best piece, and this is from a person who has laughed outloud in the work bathroom while reading Sedaris' stories. Like many other reviewers, I've found special joy in sharing this CD with my friends and family. I've given it to co-workers as goingaway presents, loaned it to family members who've set out on long drives, played it for in-laws huddled around the fire on Christmas Eve, and recommended it to friends who faced the prospect of hours sitting and waiting to be picked from jury pools. One of the best things to come from this CD is the reminder of just how special the radio show This American Life is, and how lucky we are to be able to listen to the stories that Ira Glass and his staff cull from everyday life and present to us so entertainingly every week. This set is but a taste of the kinds of stories one can listen to every week on NPR. By the way, my favorite stories are Ira's Get Over It! and Jack Hitt's Peter Pan. The first for personal reasons, which I suppose a lot of guys can relate to, and the second because it's just damn funny. Listening to this collection is a little like living small parts of real lives -- every story is so rich, so real. It is This American Life and worth reliving again and again.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Sara Miller on September 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Always a big fan of Public Radio, I stumbled across this radio show about 6 months ago. I have since listened to every episode ever since and was delighted to find that I could listen to any episode online.
This CD is filled with an assortment of the best TAL stories out there. The narrators present their own stories, among my favorites include Sarah Vowell's "Guns" and Cheryl Trykv's "Teen Getaway". Some of the stories will defintely cause you to laugh out loud. This is also a CD you will want to listen to over and over.
Ira Glass is truly a genius in my book, as with the rest of the TAL staff and contributors. Storytelling is really a lost art that has won a place in my heart and one that is not easily duplicated in other forms. TAL is truly a unique experience and concept.
If you crave something different and delightful, this CD is a must purchase!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By MOVIE MAVEN on March 11, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you have never heard THIS AMERICAN LIFE on N.P.R., this is your easy way to become addicted. The subtitle of this collection of eleven "self-relevatory radio monologues" is "an assortment of favorites, both grotesque & dainty."
What is THIS AMERICAN LIFE? In a nutshell, it is a weekly, hour-long radio show with a different overall theme each week. The hour is divided into acts---each act presenting one main speaker/writer whose subject is somehow connected to this week's theme. The themes? How about "Family Ties," or "Amateurs vs. Professionals," or "Holiday Treasures." You name can be sure THIS AMERICAN LIFE has aired it or will air it soon.
Host Ira Glass has one of the most singular voices ever to narrate a radio show. At the top of the second CD, Glass talks about getting over (NOT getting over?) a doomed love affair. Perfect. You'll find yourself yelling at the radio (or CD) "Stop it. Let her go. Don't be a patsy." It's happened to all of us. And that is the key to THIS AMERICAN LIFE. Every one of the 60 minutes, every week, has happened somehow, some way to ALL of us. And yet, because of the originality and talents of the various writers, it all seems new and incredibly entertaining. "Christmas Freud" where the narrator (David Rakoff) actually sat in a chic clothing story window pretending to be Sigmund Freud for extra holiday money and David Sedaris' "Drama Bug" are two of my favorites. But then, all eleven are worth a listen. Better yet, tune in weekly.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By E. B. Glass on October 17, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have long been a fan of This American Life, and when I went to review this CD at Amazon, I realized that I have owned it since 1999. I have listened to it in bits and pieces several times since then, but just recently did I get a chance to listen to the entire thing from start to finish. For those of you who are looking for some really good listening for a long car trip or perhaps an introspective vacation, you have found the right CD.
Lies, Sissies, and Fiascos is a wonderful blend of sarcasm and sentiment, of tenderness and hilarity. Host Ira Glass's voice is soothing and familiar, and you really can't lose when it comes to anything involving David Sedaris. Sandra Tsung Loh's entry is one that is particularly memorable to me. She tells about how her relationship with her father is enriched when she views him through the most unlikely viewpoint imaginable: that of a local punk rock band, which has idolized her father and thinks of him as some kind of spiritual icon.
I immensely enjoyed listening to this CD, and I will return to it and find the stories familiar, not repetative (as I would with some audio books). Highly recommended.
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