Laugh riot

Ellen cracks us up, on stage or page

……………

4 out of 5 stars
SERIOUSLY… I’M KIDDING
by Ellen DeGeneres
(Grand Central Publishing, 2011). $27; 241 pp.

…………….

Sometimes it’s hard not to laugh. When your 4-year-old says something hilariously profound, you bite your lip, knowing that you’d be in trouble if you bust a gut.  If your beloved does something silly but well-meaning, you twist your lips to avoid the outburst you know is coming. When your great-aunt shows up at holiday dinner dressed like that, you know there’d better not be even one “Ha!” to escape your lips.

Yep, sometimes it’s hard not to laugh — but you’ll want to when you read this book. “As it turns out, writing a book is hard,” Ellen DeGeneres says.

This is her third book, each one sharing the ellipses-in-the-title feature. She didn’t think writing it would be difficult because, after all, she has a lot to say every day for at least an hour. There’s a lot of talking on a talk show, you know.

There’s a lot of listening, too, and daydreaming is not allowed. DeGeneres listens to many famous people — one of her favorites is her wife, Portia de Rossi, who is “beautiful and one of the nicest people [she has] ever met.” No, she tells nosy people, they aren’t planning on having a family because “there is far too much glass” in their house. Besides, first you have to give birth.

“I won’t go into specifics,” says DeGeneres, “but ouch and no thank you.”

In case you’re thinking that this book is all fluff, you’ll also find useful advice in its pages. DeGeneres gives readers hints on being a supermodel and how to know what clothes will come back in fashion. She writes about polls and why people shouldn’t put too much faith in them. She offers several ways to gamble in Las Vegas, gives kudos to funny women who’ve paved the way for people like her.

But will you find laughs? Yes … but.

Seriously… I’m Kidding is like having a 241-page monologue in your lap. DeGeneres’ wicked wit beams bright from almost each page. But there are times when she dives below silliness. An entire page devoted to sound effects? Four pages of drawings for your child to color? Jokes like these and a few go-nowhere “short stories” may leave readers scratching their heads.

But if you’re a fan of DeGeneres’ talk show or standup, you’ll find a treasure-trove of classic humor that you won’t want to be without. For you, Seriously… I’m Kidding will be a hard book to miss. And we’re not kidding.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 11, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Starvoice • 03.11.11

By Jack Fertigstarvoice

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Kevin Williamson turns 46 on Monday. The screenwriter scared us with his Scream trilogy and upgraded the teenage drama with Dawson’s Creek. The out writer keeps churning out the hits with his latest TV creation The Vampire Diaries and has just penned the script for Scream 4.

……………………

THIS WEEK

A Mercury-Saturn opposition normally sharpens minds as well as tongues, but with Neptune in hard aspect to both planets, misguided bitchiness and ill-considered control games are a lot more likely. Examine your own anxieties. They are too easily projected onto others.

……………………

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
How does sex fit in your relationships, reflect your values and connect you to your deeper self? Take time to meditate, to understand better whatever gaps you may be trying to fill.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
Ideas from the top of your head are probably wrong. Take time to figure out why. Well-meaning friends stumble in their efforts to assure you; give them credit for trying.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
Being a raging control queen will not relieve the stress; getting some professional help could. Relax. Meditate. Doing nothing is the best answer. Consider process and priorities.

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Your friends lead you astray if you give them a chance. It could be an adventure if you’re ready to pay the price. Think ahead, but remember the biggest regrets are the things you didn’t do.

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
Don’t keep secrets. Keep your attention elsewhere. You’re probably exaggerating threats from someone close to you. Staying focused on goals will help you keep perspective.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
Resisting the urge to correct ideas can be the biggest challenge. A touch of surrealism can be fun. If practicality is necessary, ask how those wild ideas would work rather than insisting they can’t.

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
Whatever you say is likely to come out sounding dirtier than you intend. That can be great for fantasy role-play, but awkward in real life. Listen between the lines for what’s really important.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
Enjoy some twisted fun now, but trying to make it last will get less fun. Criticism to or from your partner is more projection than either of you admit. Do not start or end a relationship now.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
Worries about home and family are exaggerated, but not out of place. Meditation helps keep perspective. Clean up what you can, admit you were wrong and the rest takes care of itself.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
Your mouth is determined to get you into trouble. Stick to the facts and accept lots of correction. Creative writing is safer than speaking. Just don’t let anyone read it.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
Criticism at home challenges you to re-evaluate your career goals.  Some adjustments may be necessary, but do not doubt yourself! You need to stay especially sharp now.

AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Whatever you say is easily misunderstood. Hone your arguments on screen or paper where you can review your own sympathies and see how they affect your logic, or vice versa.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 11, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas