Stephen Tobo–who? TOBOLOWSKY!

Meet Stephen Tobolowsky here at BookPeople Tues 10/2 at 7pm.

The Dangerous Animals Club by Stephen Tobolowsky
Reviewed by Joe T.

I have to admit up front that I had already determined that I was going to love this book when I first found out about it three months ago. There was no way in heck that a book by Stephen Tobolowsky, the genius storyteller featured in the documentary “Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday,” was ever going to deliver a book of stories about his life that wasn’t anything short of amazing.

Wait, hold on a second there. Stephen Tobo–who? Stephen Tobolowsky. He’s famous yet no one knows who he is. He has been described as “…a serial killer from Denver about to be released from prison. There was a huge protest. Another man said he thought that Stephen Tobolowsky was the real name of a popular porn star, someone named Rick ‘Hot Rod’ Rocket. One woman…thought Stephen Tobolowsky was either a financial expert or a physicist who had just discovered something about time.”

Of course all those descriptions are wrong. Stephen Tobolowsky is famous because he’s been in just about every movie and/or television show ever made. He’s been in over 250 films, always making them better and always just a bit invisible. That is until you show someone a picture and then they recognize him.

Okay, smart guy. Tell me at least ONE movie I’ve seen him in. Oh that’s easier than you think. He’s always gonna be remembered as Ned Ryerson from the great flick Groundhog Day. Who? Ned Ryerson. The insurance agent. “What out for that first step, it’s a doozy!” One of the purest, most perfect examples of comedy gold every put on screen. C’mon, don’t tell me you don’t remember.

Anyway, as much as I’d love to talk about Stephen Tobolowsky’s acting all day, that’s not why I’m here. You see, as well as being our greatest living character actor, Tobolowsky is also one of our greatest living storytellers. He can spin a yarn like no one’s business and he became so well known for it that in 2005 there was a documentary made about it. Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday, released back in 2005, follows him through the day as he cooks Barbeque and readies his house for a party, all the while telling humorous, poignant, and at times profoundly touching stories from different periods in his life. I laughed. I cried. I forced my friends to watch it.

Now, seven years later, Stephen Tobolowsky has taken many of his stories, some featured in the film, most not, and has collected them in book form. Ranging from growing up in Dallas to attending SMU to becoming an actor in Hollywood, the book’s stories never bore, never fail to bring out a hearty laugh, and never fail to draw out a certain insight into what it means to be human, the most dangerous animal.

I would love to describe some of the anecdotes in here, from driving through Dallas completely naked to get to his parents house to wash off the infestation of fleas that had attacked him; to taking LSD for the first time and learning wise lessons from a bandana’d dog; to being stung by dozens of jellyfish and being told that the only way to live would be to have someone urinate on him; but that would ruin your joy in your discovery. Believe me this is the best memoir you’re gonna read this year.

And make sure to come to the event on October 2nd because, if you haven’t seen Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday, you really have no idea how amazing a storyteller he is. It will rock your world.


Stephen Tobolowsky will speak about & sign copies of The Dangerous Animals Club here at BookPeople on Tuesday, October 2nd at 7pm. For more information and to order signed copies of the book, visit: We ship all over the world.

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