Tom Davis, Thirty-Nine years of Short-Term Memory Loss (Book Review) by jgn on Sunday, December 6, 2009 in Reading and Reviews

Tom Davis, Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss: The Early Days of SNL from Someone Who was There (2009). $24.00. [Amazon]

I read a fair number of showbiz memories (for reasons I know not), usually with a bit of a rock-and-roll cast, and this is one of the worst. Tom Davis was half of the Franken and Davis comedy team; I would guess that the publication of this book was delayed to come out after the Senate race in Minnesota was confirmed, because there is little here that would reflect very well on Franken, except, I suppose, that he managed to get sober. There are indications that Davis cleaned up, too, but not many. For the most part, he lived his teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, etc., on drugs and listening to the Grateful Dead. I had a hard time finding evidence that he had contributed much actual "funny" to Franken and Davis or to SNL.

I did learn hat Al Franken perfected his trick of drawing the outline of the 48 states long ago. I also found out that Jerry Garcia slept in a chair.

Aside from those tidbits, this is more or less just a list of hijinks and travel stories, punctuated with brief vignettes of the various people Davis knew. At the end of the book there's a random list of books Davis read while writing his memoir, and an incongruous list of his top 50 movies. Also pathetic is that Davis conceives himself as some kind of thinker: "I had a conscious philosophy that celebrity, money, and power were ephemeral and were important only as they figured into the world of ideas in which I lived" (p. 178). Well, I couldn't find an idea after 300-odd pages.

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