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Book Review: Norm Macdonald’s lie of a memoir is a rejoinder to oversharing comedians

“There is the way things are and then the way things appear, and it is the way things appear, even when false, that is often the truest. If I am remembered, it will always be by the four years I spent at Saturday Night Live and, maybe even more than that, by the events surrounding my departure from that show. As long as SNL exists, then so do I.”

This passage, a quasi-philosophical koan followed by starkly honest self-appraisal, arrives near the end of Norm Macdonald’s Based On A True Story—a book that both isn’t a celebrity memoir and is, arguably, the best celebrity memoir ever written. Describing the people who attend his stand-up shows these days, Macdonald muses that it’s likely because they remember him “dressed as a young Burt Reynolds, insisting Alex Trebek refer to me as Turd Ferguson.” It’s a brusque assessment …

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