I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Review: The Todd Glass Situation

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
The Todd Glass Situation
by Todd Glass with Jonathan Grotenstein
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

A hilarious, poignant memoir from comedian Todd Glass about his decision at age forty-eight to finally live openly as a gay man—and the reactions and support from his comedy pals, from Louis CK to Sarah Silverman.

Growing up in a Philadelphia suburb in the 1970s was an easy life. Well, easy as long as you didn’t have dyslexia or ADD, or were a Jew. And once you added gay into the mix, life became more difficult. So Todd Glass decided to hide the gay part, no matter how comic, tragic, or comically tragic the results.

It might have been a lot easier had he chosen a profession other than stand-up comedy. By age eighteen, Todd was opening for big musical acts like George Jones and Patti LaBelle. His career carried him through the Los Angeles comedy heyday in the 1980s, its decline in the 1990s, and its rebirth via the alternative comedy scene and the explosion in podcasting. But the harder he worked at his craft, the more difficult it became to manage his “situation.” There were the years of abstinence and half-hearted attempts to “cure” himself. The fake girlfriends so that he could tell relationship jokes onstage. The staged sexual encounters to burnish his reputation offstage. It took a brush with death to cause him to rethink the way he was living his life; a rash of suicides among gay teens to convince him that it was finally time to come out to the world.

Now, Todd has written an open, honest, and hilarious memoir in an effort to help everyone—young and old, gay and straight—breathe a little more freely. Peppered with anecdotes from his life among comedy’s greatest headliners and tales of the occasionally insane lengths Todd went through to keep a secret that—let’s face it—he probably didn’t have to keep for as long as he did, The Todd Glass Situation is a front-row seat to the last thirty plus years of comedy history and a deeply personal story about one man’s search for acceptance.


I don't think I've ever read through a memoir so fast.  This book is on the short side so that helped, but I found it wonderfully illuminating, thoughtful and compassionate which made it very easy to read.  And of course it's also really funny.  I am a fan of Todd Glass's comedy and his socially forward thinking so I was very happy when I heard he was writing a book because he always has interesting things to say.  I'm hoping that people who are not as familiar with Todd's work will also pick this up because it has a lot that can appeal to readers who are interested in people's lives and how they overcome their personal issues.

The flow of the writing was one of the things I found really noteworthy about this book.  It moved so seamlessly between aspects and anecdotes about Todd's life to his commentary and asides about each event.  The neuroses Todd details from his preoccupation with cleanliness and a neat house and lawn, to his phobias about being homosexual was so honest and told with such humor, that I found it easy to empathize and understand.  Todd also talks about comedy and how he got into the business which was a fascinating glimpse into the comedian world.

The major takeaway from this book is Todd's journey to accepting his sexuality and embracing an honest and open way to living his life.  I think that message can be helpful to any reader, and reading how Todd works to achieve personal happiness is more inspiring than most self-help books in my opinion because he doesn't tell you what to do, just shows you what worked for him.  There is a section near the end where Todd explains his personal thoughts on social issues in more depth, and while it is full of compelling arguments, and great points, it did feel a little like an info-dump of ideas and viewpoints which I thought could have worked better if it was integrated more into the flow of the story of his experiences so far.  But I still felt enlightened by his views, so I think that section was very important.

This is a highly enjoyable read because Todd is a great narrator and his life experiences have been so varied and colorful to give this book a lot of interest.  If you are unfamiliar with Todd Glass, then maybe a listen to his podcast, or a search on youtube to find some comedy clips will make you interested in reading what he has to say on a variety of topics.  If you are already a fan, then it is completely worth reading this book for the in-depth look into his distinctive character and comedic mind.

(I received this book from the publisher or author in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I was not compensated for this review.)

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