THE DANGEROUS ANIMALS CLUB by Stephen Tobolowsky
His name may not be familiar, but chances are you’ve invited Stephen Tobolowsky into your home on more than one occasion. Some nights his visit may have occurred while you were in your pajamas. That is, if you were curled up on the sofa watching television. If you’ve ever watched Thelma & Louise, Groundhog Day, Deadwood or Glee Tobolowksy has entertained you. But because his private life isn’t fodder for magazine covers you still may not be able to picture him. No matter. By the time you finish his memoir the essence of Tobolowsky—man and actor—combined with the life lessons he shares will make it impossible for you to forget him.
That said my relationship with this book was of the love-like variety. My theatre background made me long to fall madly in love, but I found it difficult to move beyond the handholding stage until chapter ten. The early chapters seemed to get lost in translation. The director inside me kept whispering, “This material would be funnier as a Stand Up Routine.” I was also disenchanted with the structure of the chapters. They often felt like a Long Island Iced Tea minus the vodka, tequila, gin and rum. What we got were childhood memories sandwiched between recent job experiences and the chronological unfolding of Tobolowsky’s acting career. These individual tales were interesting, but I hungered for a stronger trunk for the stories to hang on.
What kept me reading was Tobolowsky’s journey of self-discovery. For amidst, what was for me a chaotic style of storytelling, this character actor continued to unearth priceless insights about acting, relationships and identity.
Fairly or unfairly, many people are tried in life. The mistake people make is that they think the trial is a sign of failure. It’s not. It’s only a doorway that leads to who you really are.
These were the moments that led me to channel Oliver Twist, “Please, sir. I want some more.” They rattled my socks, made me take notes and offer thanks to one of my best friends for recommending the book. Tobolowsky’s wisdom also prompted me to do a bit of research and I was happy to discover his blog. His posts on acting are spot on and worthy of your time just like his memoir that is bound to encourage you to rewatch some intriguing films.
Check into The Dangerous Animals Club.