Southern stand-up and Chelsea Handler associate takes to the printed page
By Michael Shashoua / Jester editor-in-chief
Sarah Colonna, a stand-up who’s close with Chelsea Handler – they go
back to the 1990s together, doing comedy in L.A., and she now
appears as a panelist on “Chelsea Lately” and regular on “After
Lately” – has emulated her mentor with a sex and booze memoir, “Life
As I Blow It,” published in February.
published in February.
Colonna’s stories are less extreme than Handler’s from “My Horizonal Life,” and less in the form of constructed bits that could just as easily be stand-up, as in Handler’s later books (see review, 3/23/10). Hers are more about those late 1990s and early 2000s years, and working as a bartender in Hollywood, dating a succession of flawed guys and making unsuccessful efforts at stand-up and auditions.
While Colonna characterizes herself as pathetic in several scenarios, it’s often the characters she’s run into as dates, bosses, roommates or friends that she portrays as wacky, disturbed or otherwise out there. In the chapter “Hell Cat,” Colonna recounts how she ended up with her pet cat from a friend who dies in a tragic accident – a guy she had feelings for, but never got the chance to act on. Most of the stories in the book are not downbeat like this, and it’s one of the ways Colonna makes herself sympathetic even through a lot of drinking and hook-ups that seem dubiously motivated.
Colonna landed in L.A. from her native Arkansas, trying to settle in by crashing on her divorced dad’s couch, and not getting along with her stepmother. She doesn’t portray this with pathos, but with a tone more like Handler mocking her own father in her books. In general, Colonna plays life’s misfires for laughs, successfully so – like a time she was game for going to the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert in an RV with a boyfriend and a couple other guys. Colonna establishes that in general she tries never to go to the bathroom in a boyfriend’s place, so you can imagine how that trip must have gone for her.
In another memorable scene, Colonna’s drinking and romantic escapades find her distraught in the street, drunk in just a bikini after a bad breakup. Again, hard to imagine that these types of incidents are funny in this retelling, but Colonna definitely has a skill in making her travails relatable and amusing. All in all, “Life As I Blow It” is a fast, funny and fun read.
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© 2005-2017 Michael Shashoua