Monday, August 24, 2009


Been reading Bios like crazy lately. I'm a bit of an impulse shopper at the library (wonderful when it's free) and they've had this bio section by the front lately.

Tom Bergeron - the host of Hollywood Squares, America's Funniest Home Videos, and Dancing with the Stars (which I think of as "Dancing with the Scars") - has a rather amusing bio.

What's cool is that it as much about how to make it in the biz as it is about how he did it. Anyone who wants to be in broadcasting should read this book.

My favorite parts are when he gets food poisoning and when he announces on the air that the reason a popular puppet character was removed from his morning variety show was due to the Peter Principle, but it so happens some studio bigwigs were watching - one of them named Peter - who didn't know what the Peter Principle was and assumed it was a swipe at him - which of course is a deliciously ironic example of the Peter Principle.

Read the strokefest The Garth Factor: The Career Behind Country's Big Boom by Patsi Bale Cox out of morbid curiosity as to what eventually happened to Garth, as near the end of his career he was kind of getting that Scientology-melted-my-brain/eyes-too-wide glare (for the record he's not a Scientologist, but I've noted most of them eventually have this odd glare in common).

It had a lot of great stuff about executive battles in country music, which is why I ended up reading it to the end, but it sure handles Garth with kid gloves. Then at the end we find that he's gearing up to come out of retirement, so I realized I probably just read an infomercial.

Still, if you're a fan, there's enough stuff about the inspiration behind some of his songs that you might dig it.

Finally, I plowed through A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth with Joni Rodgers. I picked it up to get the story on why my beloved TV show Pushing Daisies was cancelled (it being the ONLY new scripted show I've started watching in the past few years, only to get it yoinked out of my life); however, I kept reading because it was funny as hell.

Here are some excerpts I enjoyed:

The setup for this line is when she went on the "700 club" to promote her new CD (which had some Christian-themed songs on it) which pissed off her gay fans given the show's stance on being gay, so when she apologized to them, the Christian music tour she was supposed to join fired her.
"So apparently, though it's famously impossible to please all of the people all of the time, it is quite possible to simultaneously piss everyone off." - pp. 210

Here, Aaron Sorkin is lamenting the demise of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and Chenoweth makes it a life lesson.
"Look, I screwed up Studio 60 nine ways from Sunday," he [Aaron Sorkin] told her. "I made storytelling mistakes. I wrote angry. And anger is good fuel for the tank when you're writing, but not over the course of twenty-two episodes."

It occurred to me that the same is true of life in general. At times you have to get your Harriet up, but it's corrosive to be constantly embattled. Life requires peace. Peace requires balance. And balance requires a certain amount of get-over-yourself. - pp. 212

This one really needs no setup.
Jerry [Zaks] stuck a cigar in the side of his mouth and said, "So, kid, tell me about the Rapture."

"Well, it's when Jesus comes and takes all his followers up into Heaven."

"You mean, we'll be sitting here and you'll just disappear?"

"That's what I believe."

"What's left after you disappear?"

"I don't know. A pile of clothes, I guess."

He opndered that a moment. "Will your panties still be here?"

"Yes, Jerry," I said with the loving spirit of Jesus in my heart. "My panties will still be here. And you may have them." - pp.213

What I realized is that most bio writers these days realize the words have got to pop, so the Bergeron and the Chenowetch bios were just plain fun to read.

If you're looking for a nice, easy beach or airplane read, try a bio next time.

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