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Publisher's Summary

Wild, dangerous, and flat-out unbelievable, here is the incredible memoir of the actor, gambler, raconteur, and SNL veteran and one of the best stand-up comedians of all time.

As this book's title suggests, Norm Macdonald tells the story of his life - more or less - from his origins on a farm in the-back-of-beyond Canada and an epically disastrous appearance on Star Search to his account of auditioning for Lorne Michaels and his memorable run as the anchor of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live - until he was fired because a corporate executive didn't think he was funny.

But Based on a True Story is much more than a memoir; it's the hilarious, inspired epic of Norm's life. In dispatches from a road trip to Las Vegas (part of a plan hatched to regain the fortune he'd lost to sports betting and other vices) with his sidekick and enabler, Adam Eget, Norm recounts the milestone moments, the regrets, the love affairs, the times fortune smiled on his life, and the times it refused to smile. As the clock ticks down, Norm's debt reaches record heights, and he must find a way to evade the hefty price that's been placed on his head by one of the most dangerous loan sharks in the country.

As a comedy legend should, Norm peppers these minutes with classic jokes and fondly mythologized Hollywood stories. This wildly adventurous, totally original, and absurdly funny saga turns the conventional comic's memoir on its head and gives the listener an exclusive pass into the mad, glorious mind of Norm Macdonald.

©2016 Norm Macdonald (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"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 only has to grunt to make me laugh. And this book is three hundred pages? Sign me up." (Sophia Amoruso, author of #GIRLBOSS)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Brilliant!

Norm is a natural story teller who seems to transcend stand-up. Even though he says at the beginning of the book that this is all true, its extremely hard to believe based on its outlandish nature.
My only complaint is that the audio book doesn't include the forward by Louis CK.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" but with a killer answering machine joke.

Norm's comedic voice is sui generis and comes through in this book. Whether recounting anecdotes featuring Kinison, Dangerfield, Sandler, Silverman, Jim Downey, and Lorne Michaels, listing the top 25 Weekend Update jokes, or flirting with genuine profundity in his melancholic existential musings on the fleeting nature of human existence and the fragility of fame, Norm has crafted an amusing and poignant memoir. And who's memoir is next? You guessed it: Frank Stallone.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Bizarre, funny ride

I'm so glad I got the audio version, I can't imagine it any other way. Norm obviously knows how he wanted the story told and he delivered it perfectly. If you're at all a fan of Mr Macdonald's you owe it to yourself to get this book.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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norm nails it

If you could sum up Based on a True Story in three words, what would they be?

Literature, subversive, brilliant.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Norm, obviously. But 'character' is a key word here. Seems to me that Norm has written a comic novel based on his life -- at first I thought it was directly inspired by Hunter S. Thompson, but as I listened further I realized this was great tragicomic fiction in the tradition of Mark Twain..

What about Norm Macdonald’s performance did you like?

He reads it brilliantly, affecting the 'I'm just an old chunk 'a coal" style and voice of an old rural storyteller, which is clearly how he intended the text to be read.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

See This Movie, Sure, But The Book Is Probably Unfilmable, At Least The Best Parts Are, So Read The Book Maybe Instead?give me a break, audible. I'm trying to review a book, not promote a movie.

Any additional comments?

This book will confuse people looking for a juicy celebrity memoir, if those sort of people actually exist. It will delight those who enjoy good writing, as well as Norm's fans. The book is like an ambitious first novel, and I hope he writes more.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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NORM!!!

God I love NORM and this book as well. Way to go NORM! You did it!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Crazy. But also great.

Would you listen to Based on a True Story again? Why?

I expect I will listen to it again in a year or so. It was excellent and I am blessed with a short memory.

What did you like best about this story?

I know MacDonald's career fairly well, so it is fun to try to pick to truth from the silliness.

Have you listened to any of Norm Macdonald’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Norm is fantastic.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

In a world...

Any additional comments?

Top notch.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Funny strange not funny haha

I liked it better the first time I read it when it was called Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I would prefer either a memoir or a book of quirky stories, not a book of stories disguised as a memoir. I like Norm Macdonald, but this fell short for me. I guess a book doesn't really need to have an ending if it's about somebody's life and they're still alive, but it should have had an ending. It doesn't even say if his book got published. I guess we'll never know.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Emotional Review

The way you write taunts the reader in wanting so much more of you, yet we easily allow for the distraction of pure hilarity. Safe not to go so far into the pain of an honest wound or brokenness, otherwise we’d have to face our own. But how odd that this method of yours actually helps salve our own wounds by making us laugh and at times almost cry. That’s my take on it anyway.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic

One of the funniest books ever. And the audible version is done so well. Loved it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Simply amazing!

Incredible story and having Norm read his own story only makes it even more enjoyable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful