Saturday, March 22, 2014

I Think There's Another Terrorist in My Soup

David Brenner died last week of cancer, having appeared more than anyone on The Tonight Show. His last audiobook I Think There's Another Terrorist in My Soup is topical comedy with the message that laughter can ease the pains of life. Using his own experiences as examples, he weighs in on such subjects as smoking, flying, sex, babies, marriage, weather, dentists, pets, and sports. In the smoking section he describes becoming a smoker as a child, scrounging or stealing cigarettes in the street, then later moving up to two or three packs a day into adulthood, quitting with the help of a friend, and then seeing that friend take up the habit again and dying from it. Unlike Bill Maher, Brenner didn't blame or talk about the advertising machinations of the tobacco companies, but rather concentrates on personal choices and attitudes. As such, he was old school, mostly free of the criticism associated with satire, his tone light and simplistic, with some Rodney Dangerfield type jokes thrown in. He believed that his opinion on pets was controversial, but actually the only thing truly controversial about this audiobook is his discussions of sports. While claiming to be a fan, mostly of boxing and billiards, he lashed into diehard sports "nuts" for becoming personally identified with the games they follow, or getting enraged or apoplectic when their team loses or gets slighted by others. Truly ridiculous sports to him were golf, tennis, and basketball, and he suggests that they raise the basket to make the game "less boring." Yet he didn't understand why people are attracted to watching the endless back and forth of taller and taller men (who dunk the balls easily,) although the reason was evident as he talks about not being able to identify with ball teams because he sees that it's a matter of "where you were born" as to which team you root for (and the teams themselves trade players from everywhere.) (Anyone who gets in the way is like an atheist deserving of hell! That's why they turn over cars, and trample each other. Brenner, being a stand up comedian, made a good narrator due to his experience in front of a microphone. All humor books read by their authors should be heard on audio, and don't work as well in print, since you miss the inflections and timing of the comic, which was his special gift. (Writers work better in print.) Brenner's audiobook concludes with the hopefully comedic sentence, "This has been a Highbridge audio production, whatever the hell that means." Brenner mentioned doing another audiobook one day, and now we'll never know what he might have said next. 

No comments:

Post a Comment