“These are the stories I tell to my friends or at dinner when I’m drunk and everyone darts their eyes around and squirms in their chair hoping I’ll finish soon.” Spade explains this book best with that line. Like most autobiographies, Spade’s starts off with his crazy childhood. His dad moves the family to Arizona and then bails, his mom struggled to raise three boys, a caring step-dad enters for a brief time, and all the while he longs to fit in everywhere he goes. Then there are the stories about comedy- how he got his start while in high school, trying to make it in Hollywood’s comedy scene, sleeping on couches, getting a car stolen, touring and performing in shitty towns and even shittier venues. Eventually, a breakout performance on an HBO young comedians special is what led him to Saturday Night Live.
Anyone who has read an autobiography detailing someone in show biz will know that the above mentioned themes are pretty common. What really makes Spade’s book stand out are the chapters about his time on Saturday Night Live. We all know being a featured player doesn’t mean you’ll actually appear on each week’s episode. This is what Spade experiences. It sucks to work your ass off there all day and all night while still trying to fit in movie or TV bits and stand-up shows into your schedule to make a living. He was offered $900 a week as a writer which was bumped up a few hundred bucks on weeks he appeared on screen. His first few years at SNL were going to make or break him.
The SNL-centered chapters are filled with stories that are only good when a cast member tells them. For anyone interested in the behind the scenes action of the show, this book is for you. Spade was there at a great time- the early nineties with a bunch of other break out stars. He talks about the time he turned down Bowie, a sketch with Hanks getting cut at the last minute, singing with Tom Petty without running it by anyone, and pocketing a piece of Sinead O’Connor’s ripped up Pope photo. Spade created the Gap Girls, he was in the first (and most memorable) Matt Foley sketch, and he found his voice on the show through the Hollywood Minute segments. The origins of all these SNL moments are in this book.
Spade doesn’t dwell on Farley’s death or the way it unfolded either. Most people reading this book will likely know the details anyway, probably getting it from a hundred other autobiographies. Instead, he shares many stories of his good friendship with Farley- the moment they met, filming Tommy Boy, the time Spade was dating a Playboy model (this is a good one and another example of Farley’s boy-ish uh…charm). They were good friends and Spade only shares the kindness of Farley.
The entire book feels like Spade is speaking directly to the reader- the way he writes, his voice really comes through. His accidental hooker, assistants and housekeepers out to get him, how social media made lying a thing of the past- not all of the content may seem necessary to the reader, but it was necessary to Spade. Without every experience mentioned in the book, there’s a good chance we wouldn’t know him as a comedian today.
You may be wondering why David Spade is releasing his autobiography now. This may have made more sense shortly after he left Saturday Night Live or while riding on the success of Tommy Boy. On the other hand, too many celebrities jump on the book deal wagon too soon, so maybe this really is the perfect time for a release. It doesn’t really matter, though. What matters is that he has stories to tell and he’s going to do it no matter who wants to listen to him. If you don’t like David Spade, don’t pick up this book. If he’s made you laugh on the stand-up scene, in movies, during Just Shoot Me, or even if you just want some more behind the scenes bits on Saturday Night Live and making/breaking in Hollywood, add this to your reading list.
David Spade is Almost Interesting is available now.