I remember watching subdued comic Bob Newhart absolutely bomb with his stand-up routine during an appearance on The Tonight Show back in the Johnny Carson era. His set was only mildly amusing at the beginning and it went downhill as it progressed and the dumbfounded audience met each of his "punch lines" with complete silence. Reading My Dead Dad Was in ZZ Top made me similarly uncomfortable; Glaser has laid a giant egg and there's nothing that can be done about it. Subtitled "100% Real,* Never-Before-Seen Documents From the World of Rock and Roll," My Dead Dad features about 150 pages of stuff Glaser made up about rock stars, presented in the form of letters, telegrams, hand written notes, bogus advertisements and the like. He tells you right from the get-go that it's all fake, with the added disclaimer that it is for the most part completely absurd and that not everyone will think it is funny. Now, Glaser has contributed writing to a handful of B-movies, was one of Conan O'Brien's writers for five years and is the star of Adult Swim's Delocated. So when he says absurd, you should get absurd and not just insipid. Here's a letter from McDonald's to Mick Fleetwood rejecting his idea for a Fleetwood Mac Big Mac. Here's a mock-up of the cover of the first Velvet Underground album, commonly called Banana, with the banana seen on the cover replaced by a party sub. Here's a several page transcription of the infamously at-each-others-throats members of Pink Floyd arguing about where to have lunch. Rolling in the aisles yet? Just in case you're not old enough to get the (mostly) classic rock references here, Glaser sets up each bit with a brief intro, which almost seems like if you have to explain your jokes in advance then they're not very good jokes. And throughout, they're not. The book just isn't funny. I mean this thing is such a turkey that it should come with complimentary cranberry sauce. I hope the book is printed on recycled paper because it's a shame to think that maybe trees had to die for this. Oh, and one other thing. Just like I couldn't take my eyes off the screen during Newhart's disastrous TV appearance, I started reading My Dead Dad and didn't put it down until I had turned the last page. Now that's absurd.
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