Thursday, November 17, 2016

Rickles' Book: A Memoir (Rickles, Ritz)

Rickles' Book: A Memoir, Don Rickles, David Ritz, 2007

I was taking lunch, walking down Pennsylvania Ave in Brooklyn when I passed a Thrift Shop with stacks of books outside. I saw Don Rickles' face on a cover with a sticker price of a dollar. For less than a cup of coffee, I had my subway reading. I picked up the book and then perused most of the rest of the shop (as long as I was there).

A quick flip through the book showed that it was written in 2-3 page chapters or vignettes. I assumed that they would be a collection of funny anecdotes and jokes, but it wasn't. Some were serious. Some were amusing but didn't exactly end in a punchline.

This book might be of interest to long-time Rickles fans, but I doubt the appeal would go much further. Little is mentioned about his life before comedy. He was a kid for a couple of chapters, then in the U.S. Navy, and then trying to establish himself in comedy. Along the way, he drops a lot of names. He talks Vegas, and mentions Hollywood. Oddly, I had only recently seen the clip from The Tonight Show when Rickles broke Johnny Carson's pencil box when Johnny wasn't there and the following night, Carson marched across the hall to the studio where CPO Sharkey was filming and confronted him. That story is included. Also mentioned is the longtime friendship with Bob Newhart, his connections to the Rat Pack and even Elvis.

And, of course, there's a story about his grandkids and Mr. Potato Head from Toy Story.

The one other amusing connection with this book is that while I was reading it, Rickles appeared on Jimmy Kimmel's show along with John Stamos, and then proceeded to talk a lot about Bob Saget.

Last amusing thought: the "other books by" page notes that David Ritz has written about a dozen "autobiographies" featuring the lives of a dozen different people. I think I need to look up that word because I'm not sure that that is the correct meaning of the word.

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