My three favorite books:
1. The Bible, by Moses and other guys
2. The Art of the Deal, by President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump (a.k.a. President Trumpy)
3. Based on a True Story, by Norm Macdonald
I have not read the first two. I have read Based on a True Story, and I believe it to be largely bullshit, but it is very, very, very funny! Thanks, Norm, for letting me be part of this Booker Prize for Literature–quality effort.
Norm is brilliant and thoughtful and there is sensitivity and creative insight in his observations and stories. A lot of comics over the years have been compared to Mark Twain, but I think Norm is the only one who actually matches the guy in terms of his voice and ability. I seriously f**king love Norm Macdonald. Please buy his book. He probably needs the cash. He’s really bad with money.
Louis C.K., from the foreword
Norm is one of my all-time favorites, and this book was such a great read I forgot how lonely I was for a while.
I always thought Normie’s stand-up was the funniest thing there was. But this book gives it a run for its money.
Norm is one of the greatest stand-up comics who’s ever worked—a totally original voice. His sense of the ridiculous and his use of juxtaposition in his writing make him a comic’s comic. We all love Norm.
Norm Macdonald makes me laugh my ass off. Who is funnier than Norm Macdonald? Nobody.
Norm Macdonald is more than a triple threat—he’s a septuple threat. He is smart, funny, wry, rakish, polite, rakish . . . no, wait. He is polite, insightful, and . . . aaaaah . . . warm. No. He’s exciting. Yeah. Exciting! You never know what he’ll do. Okay, then make that unpredictable. Add that up. He’s amazing.
Norm only has to grunt to make me laugh. And this book is three hundred pages? Sign me up.
Sophia Amoruso, author of #GIRLBOSS
Norm is a double threat. His material and timing are both top-notch, which is unheard of. He is one of my favorites, both on- and off-stage.
David Letterman said it best: There is no one funnier than Norm Macdonald.
A glut of books by comedians has hit bookshelves in recent years. . . . Norm Macdonald has a leg up on all of them. Based on a True Story isn’t really a memoir, as the cover claims. It’s closer to a novel, a Russian tragicomedy, perhaps. Dostoyevsky by way of 30 Rockefeller Center . . . This is a gutsy gambit—many readers will likely pick up the book for stories about hosting “Weekend Update
but Mr. Macdonald’s willingness to take risks pays off mightily. A straightforward story about a comedian losing his money over and over again might be juicy, but it wouldn’t necessarily be any different than any other tale of addiction. It certainly wouldn’t be art. And that’s what Based on a True Story is. It’s a sui generis work of pseudo-memoir that will have you simultaneously laughing at Mr. Macdonald’s wit, scratching your head at the veracity of his stories and pondering mortality, as embodied by a dying child who wants to club a seal before he goes. It’s the best new book I’ve read this year or last.
Hilarious and filled with turns of phrase and hidden beauty like only a collection of Norm Macdonald stories could be.
There are two things you should know about the book: First, it is easily the most ambitious thing Macdonald has ever done; Second, it is pretending hard to be nothing of the kind. . . . Based on a True Story turns out to be Macdonald’s experiment in hyperliterary comedy. It’s disorienting, funny, sometimes stupid, and often wildly beautiful. That’s the weird part. After a couple of amusingly implausible anecdotes about gambling, drugs, and Hollywood, a chapter on his childhood erupts into waves of unbelievable lyricism—with reflections on aesthetics and memory and trauma so poetic I kept sending passages to a pal who’s a Nabokov scholar to see if they reminded her of him too (even as I pictured Macdonald rolling his eyes at the comparison). . . . There has never been a less straightforward book. It’s playful and spry and just unbelievably cagey. But it broke me, and I’ll tell you why: Macdonald is a pretty extraordinary wordsmith, capable of working in an impressive range of styles and genres.
A driving, wild and hilarious ramble of a book, what might have happened had Hunter S. Thompson embedded himself in a network studio. It’s told by a Canadian-born comedian named Norm Macdonald who gets hired by [Lorne] Michaels to star on SNL with Adam Sandler and Chris Farley, makes movies, a couple sitcoms and then flames out. That’s all true. The rest—you’ll have to decide.
Part personal history and part meta riff on celebrity memoirs, the book, it quickly becomes clear, is also just partly true (and all hilarious).