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Based on a True Story

Not a Memoir

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Driving, wild and hilarious” (The Washington Post), here is the incredible “memoir” of the actor, gambler, raconteur, and Saturday Night Live veteran.

Don’t miss Norm’s new Netflix special, Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Treachery!

When Norm Macdonald, one of the greatest stand-up comics of all time, was approached to write a celebrity memoir, he flatly refused, calling the genre “one step below instruction manuals.” Norm then promptly took a two-year hiatus from stand-up comedy to live on a farm in northern Canada. When he emerged he had under his arm a manuscript, a genre-smashing book about comedy, tragedy, love, loss, war, and redemption. When asked if this was the celebrity memoir, Norm replied, “Call it anything you damn like.”

Praise for Based on a True Story

“Dostoyevsky by way of 30 Rockefeller Center . . . the best new book I’ve read this year or last.”The Wall Street Journal

“This book is absurd fiction. . . . Scathing and funny.”The New York Times

“Hilarious and filled with turns of phrase and hidden beauty like only a collection of Norm Macdonald stories could be.”Esquire

“Raucous . . . a hilarious, innovative work.”A.V. Club

“Part personal history and part meta riff on celebrity memoirs, the book, it quickly becomes clear, is also just partly true (and all hilarious).”Vulture

“Very, very, very funny! Thanks, Norm, for letting me be part of this Booker Prize–for–literature–quality effort.”—David Letterman

“Norm is brilliant and thoughtful and there is sensitivity and creative insight in his observations and stories. A lot of comics over the years have been compared to Mark Twain, but I think Norm is the only one who actually matches the guy in terms of his voice and ability. I seriously f**king love Norm Macdonald. Please buy his book. He probably needs the cash. He’s really bad with money.”—Louis C.K., from the foreword

“Norm is one of my all-time favorites, and this book was such a great read I forgot how lonely I was for a while.”—Amy Schumer

“I always thought Normie’s stand-up was the funniest thing there was. But this book gives it a run for its money.”—Adam Sandler

“Norm is one of the greatest stand-up comics who’s ever worked—a totally original voice. His sense of the ridiculous and his use of juxtaposition in his writing make him a comic’s comic. We all love Norm.”—Roseanne Barr

“Norm Macdonald makes me laugh my ass off. Who is funnier than Norm Macdonald? Nobody.”—Judd Apatow

“Norm Macdonald is more than a triple threat—he’s a septuple threat. He is smart, funny, wry, rakish, polite, rakish . . . no, wait. He is polite, insightful, and . . . aaaaah . . . warm. No. He’s exciting. Yeah. Exciting! You never know what he’ll do. Okay, then make that unpredictable. Add that up. He’s amazing.”—Alec Baldwin

“Norm is a double threat. His material and timing are both top-notch, which is unheard of. He is one of my favorites, both on- and off-stage.”—Dave Attell

“Letterman said it best: There is no one funnier than Norm Macdonald.”—Rob Schneider

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 15, 2016 – In the spare moments of a Las Vegas gambling adventure replete with murderous loan sharks, drug and alcohol binges, and sexual misadventures comedian and Saturday Night Live alum MacDonald recounts predominantly fictitious tales from his life and career to his companion (and podcast cohost), Adam Eget, who's portrayed as a dunce. Some MacDonald fans will enjoy the comedian's signature mix of dark absurdity and sophomoric antics (many of the gags in the book are recycled from the comedian's prior work), but general readers will find little to appreciate in this uninventive and meandering adventure narrative. Many of the details and sentiments that MacDonald shares about his childhood, his 1990s tenure at SNL as host of the Weekend Update segment, and his current experience as a working comic past his prime are surely true. For the most part, however, MacDonald steers clear of introspection and disclosure, choosing instead to make up stories and tell jokes. MacDonald does deliver some hilarious material for instance, recounting a supposed confidential conversation with Rodney Dangerfield in which the late comedian admitted that despite his wealth and fame, he secretly felt disrespected. On the whole, however, MacDonald's faux memoir is not nearly funny enough to justify the reader's time.

Customer Reviews

Wow! Norm can write.

Didnt realize Norm was such a good writer. This book is reminscent of an early Twaine.

Well I don't think it could have gone any other way

It is exactly what you'd expect from a book by Norm Macdonald. And so you either get it or you get why people think he's great, but find them incorrect. In a probably not at all ironic twist, my wife is cut of the second cloth, whereas I'm a first cloth sort of fellow, and he hangs a lantern on this oxymoronically common peculiarity right there in the book. If you ever saw Norm do a roast, or tell jokes at the White House, or steadfastly refuse to act like a normal human being in a show in which he absolutely is supposed to be playing a normal human being, then this book will make complete sense to you, because in its pages he will not be what you want, but what you need him to be. You should definitely get it.

Talentless hack who slept his way to the top

Norm is hilarious and this book is awesome. He is an original and should've been given David Letterman's spot, or Jay Leno's spot. He is one of the few comics that actually has an original thought every now and then. Bababooey to you all. Also this book helped me get women, money and fame. I highly recommend it. I had no idea that Norm rubbed one out at the Whitehouse with Bill Cosby back in the 90's. Very enlightening. A+ 5/5 stars.

Based on a True Story
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Humor
  • Published: Sep 20, 2016
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings