|Michael Showalter's Mr. Funny |
Pants Tour in town tonight.
Mr. Funny Pants has been described in the press as a mix of humor pieces and memoir, which is apt, except the pieces aren't side by side, they're integrated. Before you even get to actual chapters, you have five "About" sections, "Acknowledgments," a "Table of Contents" that is just an illustration of a table, a "Preface," "Post-Preface," "Post-Post-Preface," a "Pre-Post-Post-Preface" (which comes after the "Post-Post-Preface"), an "End of Pre- and Post-Prefaces Preface," and an "Introduction." Then a short bit about Showalter taking ecstasy and peeing on himself (in a chapter titled "Taking Ecstasy and Peeing on Myself," before a couple of different versions of the book proposal for Mr. Funny Pants itself.
The first thing you learn about Showalter from the book is something you already know -- that he is a very, very silly person. There is some personal information in there, some of it fairly frank, but you don't go too long before you hit a chart or a list to illustrate and make light of the topic. As Showalter put it in his chapter, "Book Proposal, Part 3," "I can't write the memoir I want to write if I stick to the facts. My life simply isn't eventful enough for an accurate portrait." Instead, he says, he will write whatever comes to mind, whether it's an imaginary interview with Charlie Rose or writing about a college girlfriend.
Mike Birbiglia summed it up nicely in a quote on the back of the book, "Mr. Funny Pants is unlike any book I've ever read. It's this weird, hilarious, choose-your-own-adventure inside Michael Showalter's brain."
If the more personal stuff becomes a bigger part of the stand-up, it will make for an interesting show.
Scheduling didn't work out for the interview I had planned with Showalter, but I may print that later this week. In the meantime, a thing called Flavorwire has an interesting interactive interview with Mr. Showalter for you to peruse. Take a look here.
And for good measure, here is Kevin Kline reading from the book.