Comedian Chris Gethard has led a pretty screwed life with an especially bizarre childhood. Thank God he had the presence of mind, and enough lack of pride, to remember it all and to put it on paper.
A Bad Idea I’m About to Do is a collection of Gethard’s essays, mostly detailing his seemingly, (but clearly not) mundane upbringing in suburban New Jersey and his time at Rutgers University. As he details throughout the book, Gethard was/is a tall, scrawny professional wrestling fan, with severe anxiety, rage and depression issues and very bad instincts, all making for a hysterical memoir.
His story of being a one-time badass on the campus of Princeton, thanks to a run in with an equally pathetic, lonely college student was told on a recent episode of This American Life, but that was just the tip of this very hilarious iceberg. From the story of living his dream of playing a wrestling heel to his essay about volunteering to go to the state prison as part of the Scared Straight program, Gethard has a remarkable knack for self-deprecating storytelling.
Unlike the slew of paint-by-number bios churned out by stand ups once they get a network TV show, Gethard -a regular on Conan, Jimmy Fallon and FunnyorDie.com-has managed to write one that is actually original and revealing; sort of what memoirs are supposed to be, but rarely are.
A Bad Idea I’m About to Do: True Tales of Seriously Poor Judgment and Stunningly Awkward Adventure by Chris Gethard/242 pages/Da Capo Press/2012