All this week, standup comic Greg Fitzsimmons will be filing dispatches from the promotional tour for his very funny, kinda memoir-y new book, “Dear Mrs. Fitzsimmons: Tales of Redemption From an Irish Mailbox.”
For me, today marks the beginning of a celebration after two years of hard work. I will tape an appearance on “Late Show with David Letterman” tonight (airing Friday). Tomorrow, I head into “The Howard Stern Show.” Over the next few weeks I will do dozens of radio interviews and talk shows including “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Chelsea Lately” and NPR. My mission: to promote a book I wrote titled, “Dear Mrs. Fitzsimmons: Tales of Redemption from an Irish Mailbox.”
The book tracks my lifelong problem with authority, starting with my father and continuing with teachers, the police and eventually standup comedy audiences. I hope to now focus on Irish Americans the light that has long been shined upon the insular world of Italian Americans through “The Sopranos” and “Goodfellas.” An urgent rebelliousness undermines our otherwise charming exterior, one that causes us to, almost without exception, do exactly the opposite of whatever we are told to do.
The book tracks my teachers’ reactions to this spirit through the letters they sent home to my parents. The innocent teachers hoped that my parents would reprimand me and help keep order in their classroom. How could they know that the letters were met instead with howls of laughter? There was an (implied) encouragement that I return to school and somehow generate more humorous notes for my family to enjoy.
Nietzsche said that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. After you turn forty, however, I think that whatever doesn’t kill you just makes you pissed off at whatever almost killed you. I could’ve avoided months of poring over my history of painful failures had it not been for my agent and an unintentionally hilarious complaint he received about me more than a decade ago. This one was postmarked from a small high school in the Midwest. I had performed my comedy act at their senior prom and had left a real impression on them. In the words of the principal, “what we try so hard to instill in our young people can be dashed in one hour by some ‘comedian’ who can leave town after doing his damage.”
I began reading the letter to comedy audiences and, like my parents, the crowds encouraged me to generate more comedic missives. (Click here to read the letter.) But thanks to my mother’s scrapbooking skills, it turns out I didn’t need to. She handed over a box of letters she’d saved spanning my entire life. The trove began in preschool (literally) and continued through college, where I was charged with “assault with a deadly weapon” my freshman year.
This treasure trove of material was the basis for a one-man show I performed a decade ago in Manhattan only twice before shelving the idea. It was brought back to life two years ago when I was approached by a literary agent wondering if I had any ideas for a book. What ensued were missed deadlines, self-hatred and eventually a book that I will be furiously peddling until I am told to stop.
I will sleep late today after rehearsing my Letterman set in five different clubs on Sunday night. The first time I appeared on his show was without a doubt the high point in my professional life and I take it just as seriously now even after doing the show a handful of times since. Whether it helps sell a lot of books or not, it feels pretty good to know that in a few hours my hero is going to be holding in his hand a book that I wrote. That part might actually make me stronger.
Read More http://www.gq.com/blogs/the-q/2010/11/comedian-greg-fitzsimmons-guest-blogs-his-way-through-a-book-tour-volume-1.html#ixzz15eiU3Tfh
Read the full article at GQ, CLICK HERE!