Maybe We'll Have You Back: The Life of a Perennial TV Guest Star

Maybe We'll Have You Back: The Life of a Perennial TV Guest Star - Fred Stoller

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Poor Fred Stoller. Or maybe not. 

I almost never pick up biographies, but my husband loves comedians’. I saw this one on edelweiss and read the summary to see if it was something I might want to recommend to him. The preview chapter was super readable and really funny. In a depressing, "50-years-old and never made it", kind of way. So I took down the name and moved on.

A week later, I kept coming back to the thought of Matt LeBlanc at the height of his fame telling a guest star, “Man, I’ve seen you everywhere,” or the fact that dressing like a loser has earned Stoller $33.00 in wardrobe fees as costumers just look at him off the street and go, “perfect”. That’s funny stuff. So I requested the ARC for myself, despite it being outside my usual genre. And you know what? Despite ruining my childhood with the knowledge that Harry Anderson is an asshole, I really loved it.

Stoller relives his early home life with an overbearing Jewish mother and a functionally-mute father, breaking into the stand-up business, (“You’re so depressed, how are you going to make people laugh?”,) moving to LA, acting, switching to writing, switching back to acting. voice-over work, and on to his webseries and own movie. Each time in his life is told fondly, (OK, maybe notSeinfeld,) with jokes and a lot of name dropping. He comes off as happy as he can about where his life is and how his career has gone, which makes me happy, though I hope he does get that permanent spot on a sitcom soon. I’m rooting for him. 

It does get a bit self-deprecating with the, “I never found a home!” theme, (dude, I hate to tell you this but 200 episodes of Handy Manny is so a home and more of one than some sitcom stars get, ) and towards the end it does start to devolve into a list of sitcoms with an anecdote or two for each. Still, Stoller is charming and those anecdotes are pretty funny, which kept the story from lapsing into a total pity-party. Though if anyone deserves to throw one, it may be the guy who didn’t get the part of a “Fred Stoller” type in an ad.