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Everybody Loves A Happy Ending

Comedian Jim Norton catalogs his obsessions and perversions to hilarious effect

“Happy Endings,” comedian Jim Norton’s tales of self-loathing, will have you laughing out loud despite yourself even in a crowded subway car, particularly in chapters where he dissects his own self-pitying letters to old ex-girlfriends. (To purchase, click here or see below)

Another type of piece in the book has an equal laugh-out-loud quality, and that’s Norton’s hypothetical ideas for TV shows and movies so extreme they could never really get made, presented every so often in the book’s collection of numerous short chapters. So do the little things about this book, like his use of the quaint phrase “silly goose” to punctuate some of the most nasty and sick thoughts Norton has.

The chapters of “Happy Endings” are effortless and conversational, but Norton has definitely put a lot of craft into writing them, judging by word choice alone -- the topics might be junior high school-worthy (bodily functions, sex, violence, prostitution, etc.), but the language is collegiate at least.

“Happy Endings” also gives those uninitiated into Norton’s world via his role on the Opie & Anthony radio show a view of a couple of his obsessions -- frequenting prostitutes and getting his picture taken with celebrities. He devotes a whole chapter to his stalker-like pursuit of Alan Alda of all people -- Norton was obsessed with Hawkeye on MASH, right down to dissecting the photo he finally got and realizing Alda was gritting his teeth not really smiling in the photo, because Norton had so annoyed him.

With no shame, Norton cops to frequently hiring hookers (hence the title “Happy Endings”) and regales readers with tales of these experiences, mostly times when the prostitute was hideously unattractive, unclean or otherwise scary. The tour de force of the book is a whole chapter on a holiday in Brazil that Norton took with a few fellow comics for the sole purpose of visiting whorehouses.

Norton is self-deprecating in the extreme, though, and “Happy Endings” (subtitled “The Tales of a Meaty-Breasted Zilch”), for all Norton’s anti-social behavior and vile and offensive humor, expertly and cleverly wields comedic surprise in nearly every sentence. If you’re not prudish and not put off by the subject matter, you are guaranteed lots of inappropriate laughs for any occasion or location.




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