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Wild and Crazy Guys

How the Comedy Mavericks of the '80s Changed Hollywood Forever
Narrated by: Curtis Armstrong
Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (130 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The behind-the-scenes story of the iconic funnymen who ruled '80s Hollywood - Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Eddie Murphy - and the beloved films that made them stars, including Animal House, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters 

“An enjoyable romp that vividly captures the manic ups and downs of the remarkable group of funny folk who gave us a golden age of small and big screen comedy, from SNL to Groundhog Day.” (Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls) 

Wild and Crazy Guys opens in 1978 with Chevy Chase and Bill Murray taking bad-tempered swings at each other backstage at Saturday Night Live, and closes 21 years later with the two doing a skit in the same venue, poking fun at each other, their illustrious careers, triumphs and prat falls. In between, Nick de Semlyen takes us on a trip through the tumultuous '80s, delving behind the scenes of movies such as National Lampoon's Vacation, Beverly Hills Cop, The Blues Brothers, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and dozens more. Chronicling the off-screen, larger-than-life antics of Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, John Belushi, John Candy, and Rick Moranis, it's got drugs, sex, punch-ups, webbed toes, and Bill Murray being pushed into a swimming pool by Hunter S. Thompson while tied to a lawn chair. What's not to like? 

Based on candid interviews from many of the stars themselves, as well as those in their immediate orbit, including directors John Landis, Carl Reiner, and Amy Heckerling, Wild and Crazy Guys is a fantastic insider account of the friendships, feuds, triumphs, and disasters experienced by these beloved comedians. Hilarious and revealing, it is both a hidden history of the most fertile period ever for screen comedy and a celebration of some of the most popular films of all time.  

Praise for Wild and Crazy Guys

“Eminently readable . . . Children of the 1980s, take note: this is a fond, engrossing look back at the making of movies that became cultural touchstones.” (Booklist, starred review) 

“Nick de Semlyen smartly charts the pinballing career paths of the stars of this new comic wave. . . . His punchy, nonstop narrative . . . tells a [story] where art and commerce smash hard against each other, sometimes causing destruction, but sometimes making sparks fly.” (The Sunday Times (UK)) 

©2019 Nick de Semlyen (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“An enjoyable romp that vividly captures the manic ups and downs of the remarkable group of funny folk who gave us a golden age of small and big screen comedy, from SNL to Groundhog Day.” (Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

“Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy - they’re all here like you’ve never seen them before (with no shortage of drugs, competitiveness, and egos). Fast-paced and addictive, Wild and Crazy Guys is the Easy Riders, Raging Bulls of the wild and crazy ‘80s Hollywood comedy scene.” (Chris Nashawaty, author of Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story

“It's amazing that anybody survived making comedies in the impulsive, excessive, drug-fueled, rage-filled period in the decade following the explosive arrival of Saturday Night Live. And some didn't. But, aided by the sharp recollections of those who did, Nick de Semlyen gives that more-is-more period of comedy what it desperately needs: Clarity and perspective. Wild and Crazy Guys maps the era and its swaggering players beautifully.” (Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book!

Curtis Armstrong does a fantastic job of reading this book. I bought this book because I saw that he was going to be reading this. One of my favorite 80's actor reading a book about 80's comedians, I couldnt have asked for more

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good but with continuity issues.

The stories are great. The writing is great. The premise is great. The performance is great. The jumping around in the time line is maddening.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved this!

As a fan of all those comedians featured in the book. I adored hearing about the background of them and the movies.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good, overall

Like the content, but, unlike everyone else, I found the narrator a little grating at times. He over-enunciates to an extreme. It makes it understandable, which is good, but it calls too much attention to the narrator at the expense of living in the story. Every time he says “Steve Mar-tin”, I want to shake him and say, “no one pronounces the T so demonstrably... just say ‘Mart’n”.
But I recognize I am, apparently, in the minority on this.
Still, it’s a good book.
I just wish he narrated more like a human.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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so good

So many anecdotes and stories, you'll want to listen twice. Highly recommend this book. 5 stars.

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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best books I have ever listened to.

A wonderful, engaging story full of amusing and interesting anecdotes, read wonderfully by Curris Armstrong. I can not recommend it highly enough.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • GKing06
  • Oak Lawn, IL, US
  • 06-20-19

Perfect for a child of the 80s

Great for anyone that is a fan of the comedies of the 80s. Grabbed my attention from the prologue and held until end. Loved the back stories and insight to the movies I grew up with. Very entertaining and highly recommended.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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More Curtis Armstrong

This is a great book. I love how it goes by film. I grew up in the 80s and this book really lifts the curtain on what happened behind the scenes to make or break these movies. But the thing I like the best is the narrator. Having heard him do this book, I would pretty much listen to any book that Curtis Armstrong reads from now on. Being funny in his own right, he brings a lot to this book, but I think he would be great in any book, especially if it had a little bit of humor. He would be great in any Carl Hiaasen novel, for example. I hope he does more books.

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Amazing!

Growing up with these comedians, it was great to recount these stories. I was legit sad when the book ended.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great compilation of stories of the 80s comedy greats

Overall enjoyed the book and heard behind the scenes stories I never knew. My only criticism was it was written focusing on a lot of failures and criticisms of movies I didn’t think were failures. Maybe because I saw these movies on basic cable a thousand time, a lot of movies described bad I had much love for