Based on A True Story

Based on A True Story

A Memoir

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * "Driving, wild and hilarious" ( The Washington Post ), here is the incredible "memoir" of the actor, gambler, raconteur, and Saturday Night Live veteran.

Don't miss Norm's new Netflix special, Hitler's Dog, Gossip & Treachery !

When Norm Macdonald, one of the greatest stand-up comics of all time, was approached to write a celebrity memoir, he flatly refused, calling the genre "one step below instruction manuals." Norm then promptly took a two-year hiatus from stand-up comedy to live on a farm in northern Canada. When he emerged he had under his arm a manuscript, a genre-smashing book about comedy, tragedy, love, loss, war, and redemption. When asked if this was the celebrity memoir, Norm replied, "Call it anything you damn like."

Praise for Based on a True Story

"Dostoyevsky by way of 30 Rockefeller Center . . . the best new book I've read this year or last." -- The Wall Street Journal

"This book is absurd fiction. . . . Scathing and funny." -- The New York Times

"Hilarious and filled with turns of phrase and hidden beauty like only a collection of Norm Macdonald stories could be." -- Esquire

"Raucous . . . a hilarious, innovative work." -- A.V. Club

"Part personal history and part meta riff on celebrity memoirs, the book, it quickly becomes clear, is also just partly true (and all hilarious)." -- Vulture

"Very, very, very funny! Thanks, Norm, for letting me be part of this Booker Prize-for-literature-quality effort." --David Letterman

"Norm is brilliant and thoughtful and there is sensitivity and creative insight in his observations and stories. A lot of comics over the years have been compared to Mark Twain, but I think Norm is the only one who actually matches the guy in terms of his voice and ability. I seriously f**king love Norm Macdonald. Please buy his book. He probably needs the cash. He's really bad with money." --Louis C.K., from the foreword

"Norm is one of my all-time favorites, and this book was such a great read I forgot how lonely I was for a while." --Amy Schumer

"I always thought Normie's stand-up was the funniest thing there was. But this book gives it a run for its money." --Adam Sandler

"Norm is one of the greatest stand-up comics who's ever worked--a totally original voice. His sense of the ridiculous and his use of juxtaposition in his writing make him a comic's comic. We all love Norm." --Roseanne Barr

"Norm Macdonald makes me laugh my ass off. Who is funnier than Norm Macdonald? Nobody." --Judd Apatow

"Norm Macdonald is more than a triple threat--he's a septuple threat. He is smart, funny, wry, rakish, polite, rakish . . . no, wait. He is polite, insightful, and . . . aaaaah . . . warm. No. He's exciting. Yeah. Exciting! You never know what he'll do. Okay, then make that unpredictable. Add that up. He's amazing." --Alec Baldwin

"Norm is a double threat. His material and timing are both top-notch, which is unheard of. He is one of my favorites, both on- and off-stage." --Dave Attell

"Letterman said it best: There is no one funnier than Norm Macdonald." --Rob Schneider
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780812993622
Branch Call Number: 792.7028 MACDONAL
Characteristics: xiv, 240 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

May 30, 2017

It is like a book for people in on the inside joke. Norm's great, I can't give an unbiased review of this book. I laughed. I'd recommend listening to the audio version of it.

Mar 02, 2017

While I'm huge fan or Norm, an imagined memoir is not something I want to read. I don't want to waste my time reading about the time Norm didn't actually do drugs with Lorne Michaels to get the job at Saturday night live or the time he wasn't actually molested as a child. Why not tell us about the time you got into a knife fight with Johnny Carson or that time that you found a bomb wired to the ignition of Jay Leno's car? Why am I reading this again?

Feb 07, 2017

An easy and entertaining read but as others have pointed out, it can be difficult to know what is real and what is not.

He seems to keep personal information at a minimum but still has an interesting story to tell but don't look for a "diary" type of book. It's more disjointed and even a little jarring at times.

Feb 06, 2017

Absolutely loved this book. Bring no agenda when reading it, and you will be taken on a wild, wonderful ride.

Jan 02, 2017

I was hoping for an actual autobiography but this book turned out even weirder than that comedy central roast where he told the 1940s style old fashioned jokes! It does have some shoutouts to his former YukYuk's bosses and stuff, but they're buried in tonnes of bizarro fiction stories about farming, SNL, morphine abuse, a fake ghostwriter, gambling (who knows how much of that is true), etc. The mention about Artie Lange is very brief. Even Norm's son is shown with a fake name.

Jan 02, 2017

It really helps if you've seen Norm doing standup as I've done a couple of times. The stream of consciousness and absurdity is even better than shrooms. Combined, it could be mind blowing. Before you get the book see some of his stuff on YouTube (especially the Moth joke). If you don't like what you see too bad for you. As my Pappy used to say : ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------.
Actually he never taught me anything useful. I survive on my own and it's a daily struggle fighting off all those wolverines, badgers and Wild Turkeys 101. Enter the book at your own risk.

Dec 17, 2016

This was probably the strangest and sometimes absurd biography I've ever read. It was hard to decipher between what really happened and what Norm made up. Yet still, it had its funny moments. I'm certain the audio version would get more laughs than print.

oscar89 Dec 11, 2016

This is a very funny and clever memoir. That's because it's mostly fiction mixed with real life anecdotes. It's hard to write a compelling memoir, and a funny one is even harder. Most comic memoirs are not classics-only a small number of comedians have succeeded with that. This book stands out and captures the great Norm MacDonald.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at LPL

To Top