I thought the beginning of Billy Crystal’s memoir was so funny I called Michael and started reading parts of it out loud to him. Crystal’s musings about turning 65 are straight out of his standup comedy routine and were exactly the kind of break I was looking for after finishing the second draft of my novel and spending my down time reading a lot of fiction.
After his opening screed about aging, he settles down and takes us on his journey – his childhood in a loving family, his marriage to Janice, the birth of their two daughters, his breakthroughs on the “Tonight” show and “SNL” and, of course, his hosting gigs at the Oscars, plus his big movie role in “When Harry Met Sally…”
Then there are the relationships with the Yankees, Muhammed Ali, Rob Reiner, Howard Cosell, and just about everybody who’s anybody in show business. He’s an amiable storyteller with kind words for those who’ve been in his corner along the way; this isn’t a score-settling type of book at all. It gets pretty schmaltzy when he talks about being a grandfather, but he’s still with the same wife all these years and lives in the same house and seems to be a genuinely good, unpretentious, well-meaning guy – a rarity in Hollywood. I can see why the book is appealing to a wide readership. It doesn’t offend. It plays it safe. And it makes us laugh.