Brought to you by OBS reviewer Alina
Beware of possible spoilers
For many years, television comedy was an exclusive all boys’ club—until a brilliant comedian named Carol Leifer came along, blazing a trail for funny women everywhere. From Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live to Seinfeld, The Ellen Show, and Modern Family, Carol has written for and/or performed on some of the best TV comedies of all time.
This hilarious collection of essays charts her extraordinary three-decade journey through show business, illuminating her many triumphs and some missteps along the way—and offering valuable lessons for women and men in any profession. Part memoir, part guide to life, and all incredibly funny, How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying offers tips and tricks for getting ahead, finding your way, and opening locked doors—even if you have to use a sledgehammer. (Goodreads)
Carol Leifer writes a very honest memoir about her life as a comedian. She takes the reader through her experiences as a newbie in stand-up comedy and how she developed her talent and went on to diversify her portfolio by performing and writing on TV comedy shows, while returning again and again to stand-up, which she loves and which she says, helps her unwind.
I think the title is also very honest, it establishes from the very beginning the mood and tells the reader what to expect. This is a book written by someone who has been through many ups and downs, but who is happy with her life, her work, and obviously, what life and work have offered to her over her very long career as a comedian. She has done a lot, worked a lot, cried a lot, laughed a lot, met with some incredible people and had the chance of being their friend and/or protege.
I loved most the inside stories. Paul Reiser’s name brought back ‘good old memories’, and Jerry Seinfeld, a ‘recurring guest’ through the whole book, is a name that only by hearing or reading it, you cannot stop but smile. It’s even better when you learn that they are also amazing friends, ready to be there for their friend in need, at a moment’s notice. These things are rare, and this is what basically makes the essence of the book for me: I loved the way Carol Leifer thinks about life, work, friends, family.
I must confess: I had trouble writing this review, because I experienced conflicting feelings about this book: on the one hand, I enjoyed reading about Carol Leifer’s adventures in the world of show biz. The book is short, it’s an easy read, so I finished it in no time, but it didn’t hook me. Of course, all the name dropping kept me going, ok, who’s next? But I did not feel involved. On the other hand,
“Don’t hesitate to try something new or different to get it [your dream job].”
“Always be wary of the easy way out.”
“This, too, shall pass.”
“Love what you do.”
“I like to treat people the way I’d like to be treated.”
These are just a few of the many age-old common sense pieces of advice you can find in this book. They don’t necessarily make it a great book, but it’s a book that the readers should at least read, because of this advice. It’s love, respect, hard work, and perseverance that bring about success, and not cheating, lies, greed and all the other fake ‘values’ that make so many people feel like VIPs just because they are on TV scandal shows.
Carol Leifer’s book is definitely a must-read for all, from young people just starting in life to old pros. In case there are people out there who still wonder why nobody respects them, they will definitely find some good answers here. I found this book extremely refreshing, full of sound, sensible advice: be nice and polite, be active, love what you do and never give up.