Maybe We'll Have You Back: The Life of a Perennial TV Guest StarMaybe We’ll Have You Back: The Life of a Perennial TV Guest Star by Fred Stoller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actor/comedian Stoller expands upon his Kindle single My Seinfeld Year to cover his entire career as a perennial guest star. To recap my review of the previous eBook (which serves here as the Seinfeld chapters), I’ve pasted that review:

“Fred Stoller strikes me as one of those actor you don’t know by name. You see his face, or hear his voice, though, and you snap your fingers and say, “Yeah, that guy.” I remember him mainly through “Everybody Loves Raymond” as the cousin who gets Robert sucked into that happy cult, and as the voice of the wrench on “Handy Manny” (the price of having a pre-schooler). I hadn’t realized he worked on one of my favorite shows, “Seinfeld”, as a writer. Not only that, he wrote one of the more memorable episodes – “The Soup,” where Jerry accepts a new suit in exchange for buying a friend a meal…that turns out to be several small meals.

What I found most interesting about this Kindle single is that it provides an fascinating perspective on how sitcom writing works – at least for one particular show. It is actually more competitive than I had realized, and even if you manage to get a script accepted there’s no guarantee your work will survive massive rewrites. I wish this story could have been a bit longer, it left me wanting more to read.”

Building on the last sentence of that review, I was happy to see Stoller did just that. Some might think this book reads more like a cautionary tale than as a memoir – when you realize a small percentage of SAG members work regularly, you’re not certain whether or not you should feel bad for Stoller. At least he’s working, right? Well, I suppose as an author I can sort of relate, considering how I continue to work toward my equivalent brass ring (a major book deal for me, a lead in a sitcom for Fred). Maybe one day we’ll both get lucky.

I enjoyed this book, though. My next novel features a stand-up comedian as a major character, and I liked reading a story from a comic’s perspective. I feel, too, as though I know a little more about how Hollywood works.

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