Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Too Fat to Fish" by Artie Lange

I recently finished reading comedian Artie Lange's memoir "Too Fat to Fish" and... man, what a train wreck (not the book, but his life). The book itself is well organized and written and if someone is an Artie fan, they'll likely be entertained by it (which is of course the point). Some of the stories from Artie's life he's told while on air at the "Howard Stern Show", some are brand new, and all are interesting (again, if you're a fan).

Back to the train wreck of his life comment, though... Artie certainly deserves credit for his talent and work put in towards his comedy career, but it's both painful to read about his drug addiction and the situations it and his self-destructive behavior have put him in. Through what's likely equal parts luck and his talent (and associated people helping him), he's still alive and not in jail, but there's really no telling how long things will stay that way.

It was interesting reading this book about an entertainment figure who has gone through (and may well still be going through) drug addiction and comparing it to the memoir of a pro athlete who was also hooked on drugs. In his book "Hero of the Underground" (which I reviewed here) ex-Cornhusker and NFL player Jason Peter tells his story of addiction. One huge difference is that while Jason could of course go back to the addiction that held him for so long, it seems like Artie is still there. He hasn't publicly stated that he's on drugs now, but all indications seem to point in that direction.

The "Last Word" chapter from "Too Fat to Fish" is insightful both in that it makes reference to drug problems at the time the book was being finished and the forgiveness and help he's been granted due to his talent and the ability to earn money for people. While it's great that this has helped keep him alive and out of jail, there are limits of how much people will forgive and be willing to bail someone out (as Artie himself states in this section).

To borrow an old phrase, it's a slippery slope that he's on. As a fan... I hope he's able to keep it together and not fall off the metaphorical edge.