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The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, A Rancorous Reportage, A Concise Curriculum of Cool Hardcover – May 5, 2015
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"Snarky history and piquant criticism as delivered by the smartass in the back of the classroom." (Kirkus)
"It turns out Whose Line Is It Anyway? only hinted at its former in-house player Greg Proops' gift of gab, which is constantly on display in the weekly soliloquy he calls a "Proopscast." Armed with a lifetime of accumulated trivia, reckless tales of youthful adventure, exquisite diction, and an unflappable comic pomposity, Proops dissects both consequential and ridiculous news items while unburdening whatever is bothering him. From crowd interactions to any given newspaper headline, each bit of stimulus serves as a way to take a mad flume ride through the sluices of Proops' brain." (Rolling Stone "The 20 Best Comedy Podcasts Right Now" on "The Smartest Man in the World")
"Some of the boldest comedy on the podcasting frontier right now. Proops proved himself a keen improviser on Whose Line Is It Anyway?… but his performance there only hinted at how nimble he is." (Rolling Stone on "The Smartest Man in the World" podcast)
“Greg Proops’s bold, never-boring voice takes center stage in this live recording of his renowned podcast.” (New York Times on "The Smartest Man in the World" podcast)
"A terrifically random appreciation of cultural touchstones." (Publishers Weekly)
"This book is plenty glib, plenty sly, and pretty damn wise. It is also quick, funny, and, often, pointedly true." (Vinton Rafe McCabe, New York Journal of Books)
About the Author
Greg Proops is a stand-up comic from San Francisco, best known for his unpredictable appearances on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which is back on TV on the CW network. Mr. Proopdog has a chart-topping podcast called “The Smartest Man in the World,” which he has recorded live from around the world including Paris, London, Amsterdam, Oslo, New Zealand, Finland, Montreal, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Melbourne, Dublin, Edinburgh, Hollywood, a ship off St. Marten, and somehow, Cleveland. The podcast is available at Proopcast.com and on iTunes. Proops has been a voice actor in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and played Bob in Bob the Builder. He has been a guest on @Midnight on Comedy Central, Red Eye, The Late, Late Show, and Chelsea Lately. He lives in Hollywood. It’s not that bad, really.
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I am Australian and some of the baseball references in this book were lost on me but I still loved it . He is angry with injustice and delighted by the triumph of the downtrodden. His support of women is not just lip service and may be a love letter to his wife who is clearly his muse.
For people who don't know Proops, but who are liberal and/or feminist and/or fans of baseball, history, music, or vodka, this would make a great gift. It scoots right along, doesn't have to be read in any particular order, and is good for a handful of chuckles and a few legitimate real life, out loud laughs.
The Kindle edition is well put-together, but I couldn't help but feel that his wife, Jennifer Canaga's art wasn't done justice on my tiny electronic screen.
If you're on the fence about this book, I suggest giving Proops' podcast, "The Smartest Man in the World" a listen - the book has a more concrete layout of topics than his free-form improvisational comedy, but the essence of the author permeates the book. It's a lot of fun to read, and you will likely learn a lot from it too, both insightful looks into everyday discussion topics and delving into obscura.
PS: I wish I'd gotten to see Satchel Paige play.