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Funny Books - Bruce Bruce - Baby James Brown

Baby James Brown cover

Baby James Brown
Bruce Bruce
Bonus Live Comedy Performance CD
Chamberlain Brothers (Penguin) 2005
149 pages

Bruce Bruce is that really big comic who walks to the edge of the stage and tells the audience in the front row, "Don't worry, I won't fall." He also does not fall with his first book, the autobiographical Baby James Brown. Even if it did not come with a bonus live stand-up comedy CD, this book would definitely be worth getting. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the CD though this is not Bruce's fault

This is a short, not particularly profound, and not laugh out loud funny account of Bruce Bruce's (Brantley Bruce Church) formative years in Atlanta and of the years spent doing various jobs before he became such a solid and always dependable standup comedian.

What makes the book interesting, an easy read, and just plain fun is the personality behind the words and the author's very simple, straightforward take on life and the reason for his success. There are no punch lines here (although there is a really cool multiple choice quiz to see if you could have played the dozens with young Brantley when he was a kid).

The points Bruce Bruce gets across, about the importance of family, honesty, having an adult care about you and for you, doing any job you have as well as you can do it, respect for your elders, and other basic human values are set up as punch lines of sorts to the very enjoyable and human stories he tells.

This is not another vapid autobiography by some star who has done nothing and has nothing to say. This is the humorous story of a man who became who he is and got to where he is because of the people around him and Bruce constantly acknowledges that:
"My uncle taught me that a parent can be quick to tell a child when they've done something wrong, but then forget to tell them when they've done something right. . . . There is no substitute for having someone in your life who wants to see you go further. And someone who accepts you for who you are." Yes, this might sound like easy philosophy but it is still true.

The free live comedy performance CD that comes with Baby James Brown shows why book people, in this case Chamberlain Brothers, should not get into the CD bleeping business. Granted, it is a bonus so the fact it is bleeping short (30 minutes) is not something you can bleep about.

The problem is the bleeper says Parental Advisory and some bleeper bleeped just about every bleeping thing on it. This is even more annoying when you realize the CD is the perfect companion to the book as it contains the stage version of some of its sections.

Still, this is a fun, interesting read.

Other Bruce Bruce Reviews

Losin It - Live From Boston: Very good but generic stand-up comedy show

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