Book Title: Nothing’s Sacred
Author: Lewis Black
Style: Chapter Book
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: Non-Fiction, Autobiography, Humor
Page Count: 231
Format: Audiobook (Library)
Reading time: 6 hours
Date Finished: 2/15/17
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My impressions: I love Lewis Black, the angry, ranting topical comedian who’s perhaps best-known for his long-running stint on The Daily Show, but also for his part as Anger in Inside Out. I’ve been to see him live once (and hope to see him again when he’s in town in April) and have watched or listened to any performance I come across, because his intelligence, outrage and ability to cut through the nonsense of the world with clear insight really appeal to me.
Case in point: I remember a Daily Show bit in 2011 where Black was extremely excited about the prospect of Donald Trump running for president. At the time, it seemed like a joke, and so we could all laugh at how preposterous the whole idea was. And yet Black, in predicting what sort of president Trump might be, called things so accurately (and so hysterically!) that I still laugh at the clip today.
That’s why it’s still fun to listen to a book like Nothing’s Sacred, which was written a decade ago, but which still has a lot to say about the culture today. I chose the audiobook edition because it’s read by Black, and while it doesn’t quite rise to his level of performance when he’s on stage (he stays calm much of the time), he’s actually a great writer and his humor is just that much more enjoyable when he’s present to place the right inflection on the words.
Much of this book provides a retrospective on his life, which his other books do as well. It’s interesting to hear about how he grew up around government workers in the DC area, how he fought authority figures in high school and college with his wit and outrage, and how his mother and brother and the alternative comedy sources he sought out in the 1960s shaped his sense of humor with their own acidic wit.
But all of those trips down memory lane are also never boring or self-indulgent. The humor is infused into every chapter, and I laughed out loud many times at stray lines that hit me just right. This is exactly what comedy audiobooks should be – humorous and introspective, providing depth and detail on the comic’s persona that can’t be so easily shared on stage, but which doesn’t lose sight of the fact that the primary function of a comic is to be entertaining.