Audie Award Finalist, Humor, 2014
Kevin Pollak rose through the comedy club ranks at the feet of Don Rickles and Bill Cosby, Johnny Carson, and George Carlin. Named one of Comedy Central’s Top 100 Stand-Up Comedians of All Time, he’s a killer impressionist - Falk, Shatner, Walken, Nicholson - a versatile actor with one of the most respected filmographies around, and an Internet pioneer. He’s done it all, and now he’s ready to spill the beans.
Ballsy, hilarious, and revealing, How I Slept My Way to the Middle winningly combines never-before-heard stories featuring A-list entertainers with fan favorites and Kevin’s own thoughts about how he made it. He turned down his first invitation to do stand-up on The Tonight Show because he knew that he’d make a bigger splash if he sat on the couch next to Johnny. That huge risk - which paid off in spades - was just the beginning. Find out how he brought John Belushi to his knees, tortured Paul Reiser (twice), bamboozled Larry King, stole Alan Arkin’s soul, almost killed Warren Beatty, and sucked face with Robert De Niro’s girlfriend. Now a new media entrepreneur, Kevin is laughing proof that if you follow your gut and believe in yourself, you can do anything you want - except have a rational conversation with Rip Torn, who’s an evil, paranoid $#!%.
©2012 Kevin Pollak (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
To begin this review I’ll admit to being on the frivolous side when it comes to entertainment. Even in a serious book/movie I prefer large portions of humor without too much dark violence. Pollak’s initial movie career consisted of serious films that while amazing, aren’t generally my thing (A Few Good Men, for example).
To make matters worse, I really don’t care for impressionists. I appreciate the skill and talent that goes into that genre of humor, but impressionists just don’t make me laugh. Later in his career Pollak did some lighter movies with more of the “clever banter” type humor I enjoy, such as “The Whole Nine Yards”. Bottom line is that though I have nothing against him, I’ve never considered myself a Pollak fan….until this book.
I honestly don’t even remember why I bought this audiobook, but when I ran out of other books and found this on my iPod I figured I might as well give it a try. I am SO glad I did! Not only did I love this book, but after listening to Pollak telling the story of his life, I have become a huge fan. The stories about Bruce Willis, De Niro, Nicholson, Jerry Lewis, Tom Cruise, Naomi Campbell, Rip Torn and others were entrancing, which is saying a lot since I’m also not much for keeping up on the latest celebrity gossip. I just got home from the grocery store and caught myself literally laughing out loud as I listened to this book while shopping. It was honestly that funny.
Pollak makes no apologies for his fairly large ego, but he’s also surprisingly likeable and almost humble at times. Don’t ask me how he can be an egotistically humble man, but he manages to do so in a way that makes you wish you had the chance to get to know him in person. And, once you realize all the cool things he’s done in life you see the ego is justified!
His stories about other legendary performers are mostly positive, but in a funny and interesting way. He makes them seem like real people. When he gushes about some legend he’s had the opportunity to work with you feel the sincerity in his praise of them. He does discuss some famous people that he obviously didn’t think much of and though his commentary about them is biting at times, it just doesn’t have that whiney, “mean girl” feeling that so many people try to call “funny”. His negative comments are funny and seem to me like they came from an honest place.
I also like the way he sprinkles in some bits of wisdom around how he made some things in his career happen. He seemed to really appreciate the chances he's been given and those he made happen (remember...there's no shortage of ego). Since I didn’t start out as a big Pollak fan the book started a little slow for me, but once I got into it I enjoyed it to the very end. My only complaint is that my book purchase didn’t come with a voucher to meet Pollak in person.
I have enjoyed Kevin Pollack's work for a long time. Hearing his story in his own voice, is priceless.
Kevin Pollack does such a great job at telling wonderful stories of working with Hollywood elite without sounding like he was name dropping. I think he is too humble to realize that he is now part of that Hollywood elite in my opinion.
This is one of the funniest audiobooks I have every listened to. While listening in my car, I am sure that I look ridiculous laughing my head off. I am sure that Kevin would enjoy that he was able to get one more person to humiliate himself at his expense.
I only recommend this if you want to laugh like you have not laughed in a long time.
WARNING - Do not get this book if you do not want to laugh out loud!
I loved best that Kevin Pollak seems to be the guy he always seemed to be. He is amazingly talented. Incredibly funny, humble but at the same time not unaware that he is really good at what he does. He talks a lot about Tom Cruises' enthusiasm for everything. I'd similarly note Kevin's excitement at getting to meet as many of his heroes as he has and his seeming lack of awareness that he is right there with them as far as his fans are concerned.
I liked his writing style. It was effortless to listen to. I may get the book someday just to see the photos but if I had read the book I'd still do the audio just for the voices. I mean reading this book when audio is available would be like sending Stevie Wonder a painting for Christmas.
There were so many where I laughed out loud. I don't even want to pick one...but to honor the question I'll mention Alan Arkin calling to tell Kevin he had to stop leaving messages for himself (it makes sense when you hear it). Or Rip Torn maybe which can't be printed here.
I choked up several times when he said things I feel deeply. I didn't choke up over his comment about why he hates strip clubs but I did laugh. I have always felt the same.
God, I hope he writes another book. I am going to find his online show next.
I admit that I am a fan of Pollak, not a rabid fan, but I enjoy someone who actually has some talent and I am glad that he's succeeded. I love impressionists and he is one of the best. His film career is fun to follow along with and you get the bonus of hearing him do the voices of some of the actors, notably Nicholson, Walken, Brooks, as well as Johnny Carson. He has had an amazing career if you simply think of the classic actors he's rubbed elbows with and the icons of an older Hollywood he respects. I enjoyed it and went searching for some of his other recordings to listen to, his standup acts are on iTunes. Loved his stories for Nicholson and Carson and Usual Suspects, one of the greatest films ever.
No. I wanted to like it, but I found myself getting bored. I got this because I like Kevin Pollak and heard he does amazing impressions, so it seemed like the audiobook would be fun. His impressions are good, but they are not of people I am particularly interested in (Peter Falk, Jay Leno, Johnny Carson, to name a few). I'm 34... it's possible I'm a bit on the young end as far as being able to appreciate stories about the celebrities he met during his career. Also, I get annoyed with autobiographies that are too self-congratulatory.
author of books for teens and children
Kevin Pollak is fantastic at doing impersonations, so audio is the best way to experience this book. In this audiobook, he impersonates Johnny Carson, Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Bill Clinton, William Shatner and many others.
He knows how to tell a good story, dish dirt about celebrities he's worked with, and make people laugh.
He does brag too much and I'm sure he's withholding some interesting things. For instance, he has only positive things to say about Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, and other controversial stars he's worked with, and he doesn't talk about why his marriage dissolved.
But even though this memoir is somewhat shallow, it's a ton of fun.
Kevin does a great job on telling some of his stories from his career. and it is really quite amazing how he has accomplished all that he has; from lip syncing to Bill Cosby to his Columbo impression, and off he goes. His stories are funny and sweet, and he only tells stories about those he really respects (mostly) and it shows. It was a wonderful book and I did not want to put it down -- and was sad to reach the end. If you enjoy celebrity name dropping books and stories about stars, you will enjoy this book.
I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book this much. The author tells a good story, doesn't take himself (or the industry) too seriously, and just seems to enjoy retelling alot of the stories in this book. Great listen.
I'm sure I will listen to Pollak's memoir again - it is chock full of stories that are fun to relive with him, and he is just just absolutely a funny, entertaining guy.
There are two elements that are particularly excellent. First, Pollak's retelling of personal anecdotes (for example, impressing Columbo himself, early on in life) are entirely entertaining and impressive, due to Pollak's boldness and wit. Second, his adoration of his own acting idols shines through and it's fun to hear him idolize them like any other hollywood fan.
This is more a series of stories that can be enjoyed in broken up settings, though it's really well told, drawing you forward through each connected piece.
While it's true that his idol worship is fun, it's also a drawback, as Pollak is rather harsh on those who don't conform to his idea of Hollywood and its stars. They are raked over the coals (in his witty, ascerbic way) when his idols could just as easily be criticized by people who don't share his social/political leanings. It does make for a bit of an uneven read.
i would have to say that this book ranks in the middle of what i've listened to on Audible so far. Not quite as bad as Neil Patrick Harris' Choose Your Own Autobiography or Chelsea Handler's Horizontal Life but definitely not as good as Jon Cryer's So That Happened.
The most interesting aspects of the book are the stories about some of the movies that Kevin has been in - how he got them and some of the shenanigans that he got into with his co-stars. The least interesting would be just how often he would drop the F-Bombs. At times they were well placed but most times they were just inappropriate. There were also times when some of the things he was saying was somewhat mean.
Kevin Pollack is famous for his impressions. The audiobook provides him the avenue to give us a sample of some of his impressions. Most times he is bang on - Peter Falk, Alan Arkin, Johnny Carson and Christopher Walken. However, there were voices where visual aids might have helped in the impression - DeNiro and Shatner to name a few.
The stories around how he landed and filmed A Few Good Men stand out in the book. Hoe in awe he was of Nicholson's effortless acting and how driven Tom Cruise was. Then there were also the stories about the antics that they got into while filming The Whole 9 Yards - Club Willis. Classic.
Kevin Pollack is not necessarily one of my favorite actors or comedians although i respect his talent and his performances in several of the films he has been in. Listening to his book - neither added nor diminished my respect for him but i do appreciate the stories that he shared.
My "take-away" from this book - Kevin worked his a** off to get to where he is and he deserves all the success he has had to date.
"Very kiss ass, even for Hollywood"
I expected a more irreverent look at the business instead of name dropping and kiss assing. Disappointed.
"Interesting outsiders insight into 'showbusiness'"
So much respect for this man. He does incredibly insightful interviews on his web chat shows. Just like in his Chat Show, the book shines a light on an industry.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.