Volume 93, Issue 4
Wednesday, May 28, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Comedians pen self-help book, without the help
By Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo
Although claiming to be an essential guide to life, Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo's new book oddly begins with a confession that neither author is a professional in psychology or psychiatry.
However, between the experiences accumulated by the two actors/comedians, both Stiller and Garofalo have crafted a handbook following their comic and often bizarre insight on the human psyche.
In Feel This Book: An Essential Guide to Self-Empowerment, Spiritual Supremacy, and Sexual Satisfaction, Stiller and Garofalo shepherd others through the pitfalls of everyday life and answer some of the more difficult questions befuddling human relationships.
Taking turns in the first person narrative, Stiller tackles the male issues while Garofalo shoulders the female ones. The brief relationship the two attempted six years ago colours much of the book. They agree their relationship was doomed from the start and they would only meet for professional purposes or "when drunk and feel like having emotionally destructive sex."
Both authors undertake some seriously funny self-help topics. Stiller's patented "faster-mations" give the reader something spiritually fulfilling to think about during the wasted moments people spend urinating, smoking, masturbating or even using the ATM machine. Garofalo allows her co-author to cook up most of the spiritual chicken soup while she proposes a number of suggestions to improve more physical relationships.
Stiller manages to please the enthusiasts of blunt satire in his chapters. For instance, "The Cave," a thinly veiled Platonist/Tim Taylor proposal, calls for men to reunite with their inner "maleness" by constructing an actual cave in their homes.
Garofalo's portions take on a much more eccentric, ranting quality. Borrowing from such intellectually diverse sources as Anton Chekhov and former Wham! singer Andrew Ridgely, Garofalo slashes apart the shrouding curtains of subtlety with razor sharp wit. "Eat, Drink, and Be Scary" focuses on the subject of body noises arising from women's bodies.
Feel This Book is definitely not for all audiences. If the cerebral comic genius of Dennis Miller leaves you confused and asking who the hell is Ahab and why does he need to tie new lures, don't rush out to pick up a copy.
If, however, you can appreciate The Simpsons on more than one level and you aren't afraid of reading books with a copy of Webster's Dictionary in your lap, you can truly Feel This Book.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999