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  Library Journal Review

Odenkirk (Saturday Night Live; Mr. Show with Bob and David) has been a successful television comedy writer for many years, but ironically it's his work as an actor-specifically his recent success playing shady lawyer Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad-that has raised the author's profile enough to make this collection marketable. This is Odenkirk's first book and he relishes making as many bibliographic gags as he can, such as placing the title in the context of the phony "Odenkirk Memorial Library" imprint and including an ironic dust-jacket photo. For readers who know his work as a performer, it is impossible to read this grab bag of scripted skits, reflective monologs, poems, and comic loose ends without hearing his wry voice throughout. Odenkirk's subject is inevitably some aspect of American culture: our motivations, our objects of reverence, our news-cycle jargon, and our obsession with public image, especially politics and celebrity. Some of the pieces are wonderfully surreal while others are very straightforward; many are whimsical and silly; none is longer than a few pages and the entire book can be read in a sitting or two. Ultimately, the volume fails as often as it succeeds in being funny but its shortcomings are redeemed by Odenkirk's willingness to experiment with the form, subject, and tone of his pieces. VERDICT Those offended by dirty words and an irreverent treatment of Judeo-Christian religions should take a pass; those who read this and want more should seek out Steve Martin's Cruel Shoes, which is a likely antecedent.-Chris Wieman, Univ. of the Sciences Libs., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

The first humor collection from comedian Odenkirk is-to quote Forrest Gump- like a box of chocolates. That is to say, its 34 offerings are small, diverse, and consistently delicious. Whether skewering pretensions or making darker, sometimes political, points, the narrative has the deadpan earnestness of Comedy Central's fake news shows, and the details are blissfully on point. Some standouts include "Martin Luther King's Worst Speech Ever," "Baseball Players' Poems About Sportswriters and Sportswriting," and "So You Want To Get a Tattoo!" More mordant in their humor are "The Phil Spector I Know," which takes the American cult of celebrity to a disturbing extreme, and "I Misspoke," in which a political candidate with heinous views slickly "corrects" the public record. Sprinkled throughout the book, like palate cleansers, are 15 fabricated "Famous Quotations": for example,"Know thyself. Come on. Hurry up. We're waiting. Oh, forget it.-Socrates." Readers who know Odenkirk from his role as Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad may not remember his HBO sketch comedy series, The Mr. Show with Bob and David, which was similarly topical and mischievous. His work here is in the same vein-whip-smart and laugh-out-loud funny. Agent: Erin Malone, WME Entertainment. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
<p>Bob Odenkirk is a legend in the comedy-writing world, winning Emmys and acclaim for his work on Saturday Night Live , Mr. Show with Bob and David , and many other seminal television shows. This book, his first, is a spleen-bruisingly funny omnibus that ranges from absurdist monologues (Martin Luther King Jr.'s Worst Speech Ever) to intentionally bad theater (Hitler Dinner Party: A Play), from avant-garde fiction (Obit for the Creator of Madlibs) to free-verse poetry that's funnier and more powerful than the work of Calvin Trillin, Jewel, and Robert Louis Stevenson combined.</p><p>Odenkirk's debut resembles nothing so much as a hilarious new sketch comedy show that's exclusively available as a streaming video for your mind. As Odenkirk himself writes in The Second Meeting of Jesus and Lazarus, it is a book to be read aloud to yourself in the voice of Bob Newhart.</p>
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