Standing Up: A Memoir of a Funny (Not Always) Life

Marion Grodin, Author
Marion Grodin. Center Street, $23 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4555-1013-9
Reviewed on: 09/23/2013
Release date: 11/05/2013
Grodin, the daughter of actor Charles Grodin, describes her life as a comedian and screenwriter in this giddy, raunchy memoir. Raised mostly by her eccentrically unstable mother in New York City on the Upper West Side, she often visited her father in L.A. when he was shooting pictures with fabulous co-stars such as Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange; while in high school, the author gravitated toward the pot-smoking crowd, and describes in various chapters the requisite cringing adolescent miseries regarding crushing friendships and the loss of her virginity. At Wesleyan she dug into drinking ("my new best friend—alcohol"), to the detriment of her health and career objectives, essentially needing her father to help her with housing and employment ("my dad, the SWAT team")—a pad in L.A. and a writing gig on It's a Living. The death of her mother from a brain tumor plunged Grodin back into substance-abuse, but eventually she resolved to strike out on her own as a stand-up comic, something, she writes, that she had dreamed of since first hearing Richard Pryor. Quirky, self-excoriating, tremendously human, Grodin is unafraid to tackle funny, sad, deeply painful issues of self-image and dependence. (Nov.)
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