Late Night Autobiography

We’ll Be Here For the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin’ Show-biz Saga by Paul Shaffer

As a longtime Late Night/Late Show with David Letterman fan, Paul Shaffer’s memoir was a must-read for me.  And while he shares plenty of great behind-the-scenes stories about this now 28-year stint in late night television, Shaffer offers a rich star-studded adventure in show business that began with his hip parents who introduced him to late-night Vegas and sophisticated jazz.   He opened for the Troggs and the Guess Who in Thunder Bay, Ontario, played free jazz in Toronto, and was an original Blues Brother on Saturday Night Live.  Over the years, Shaffer has had friendships and run-ins with celebrities from Sammy Davis Jr. and John Belushi to Bob Dylan and Cher. Sharing his experiences with humor and reflection, (even for a fan) this was a surprisingly enjoyable read.

American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by Craig Ferguson

Nice-guy and genuinely funny man, Craig Ferguson tells in entertaining detail, the journey from his childhood days in the mean streets of Scotland to his naturalization as an American citizen in 2008.  Along the way he excelled in punk rock music (he’s actually an accomplished drummer), acting/comedy, multiple marriages and drugs and alcohol which gripped his life for years (he nearly committed suicide in 1991, but was distracted by an offer of a glass of sherry) before he achieved the sobriety (1992) he still enjoys today.  This memoir is not your run-of-the-mill-triumph-over-addiction-that-precedes-great-success that we so often hear from our Hollywood stars.  It’s personal, self-deprecating and very funny – not to mention inspiring.  Ferguson is as likeable in print as he is in late night – and that is saying a lot!

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