Comic actor delivers entertaining autobiography, "How I Slept My Way To The Middle"
By Michael Shashoua / Jester editor-in-chief
Comedian and actor Kevin Pollak’s breezy autobiography, “How I Slept My Way to the Middle: Secrets and Stories from Stage, Screen, and Interwebs,” published in early November, is a fun mix of behind-the-scenes moviemaking and comedy performance stories.
Pollak relates both ballsy moves and self-deprecating thoughts, sometimes almost at the same time, in stories of his experiences, dating to one of his first forays into showbiz, impersonating Peter Falk’s Columbo as a teenager from the audience of a Rich Little concert, and getting called up onstage by the master impressionist. A little later, but still early in his career, Pollak had the nerve to pass up an invitation to appear on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show,” holding out until he had a film role so he could be guaranteed a seat on Carson’s couch to interact with the host on air.
Of course, in his mind Pollak definitely berated himself at the time as an idiot who might be blowing his chance by not just taking the stand-up appearance invitation, but it paid off. Pollak eventually found his way to supporting roles in now-classic films alongside the likes of Jack Nicholson (“A Few Good Men”) and Robert De Niro (“Casino.”) And as Pollak tells us in this book, he definitely had his own share of nervousness yet again before meeting and working with these legends. That makes what might seem like remote experiences more relatable to the reader.
Most chapters in “How I Slept My Way To The Middle” are no more than six or seven pages, each relating a contained story or vignette. At some points, multiple chapters cover a certain set of experiences, like when Pollak worked with Tom Cruise and became enamored with an expensive pen Cruise used on the set – ending up getting not one but two pens as a gift from Cruise, because Pollak needed one for show and one to actually use (sounds like the plot of a “Seinfeld” episode).
That’s a bit of the fun flavor to Pollak’s book – a melding of appreciation for the history of showbiz with some modern cheek – as toward the end, where Pollak relates how he ended up being an internet pioneer with his video podcast that actually grew out of his poker playing hobby, where he met the financier who backs his production.
With “How I Slept My Way To The Middle,” Pollak has written an entertaining autobiography (that seems like too stuffy a word for this book) that captures his ability to tell funny stories.
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© 2005-2017 Michael Shashoua