Based on a True Story by Norm Macdonald

Based on a True Story

Wild, dangerous, and flat-out unbelievable, here is the incredible memoir of the actor, gambler, raconteur, SNL veteran, and one of the best stand-up comedians of all time.As this book's title suggests, Norm Macdonald tells the story of his life more or less from his origins on a farm in the-back-of-beyond Canada and an epically disastrous appearance on Star Search to his account of auditioning for Lorne Michaels and his memorable run as the anch...

Details Based on a True Story

TitleBased on a True Story
Release DateSep 20th, 2016
PublisherSpiegel & Grau
GenreHumor, Comedy, Biography, Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction

Reviews Based on a True Story

  • Invisibro
    I went into this book having a great deal of respect for Norm MacDonald. I've always found him to be a hilarious comedian - a seemingly good guy. In interviews he can be a bit dirty, but it's a facetious kind of dirty that casts personal judgment on the subjects that he's tackling.Then I read this book. The Norm MacDonald I thought I knew from TV appearances and podcasts was quickly stripped away and replaced by a morphine addicted narcissist. Th...
  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    Find all of my reviews at: was I looking forward to reading this book. In case I haven’t made it really flippin’ crystal clear already, I’m a HUUUUGE fan of all things SNL. While others complain about bad seasons and bad casts, I am a constant defender and only acknowledge bad skits or bad reoccurring characters rather than opting to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I also believe Norm Macdonald i...
  • Fabian
    "BEST COMEDIC AUTOBIO EVER!" would've been too generous a tagline (that one may belong to British funwit Russell Brand. Or maybe Kathy Griffin's). But it is not wholly untrue: it is the only of its kind that actually dabbles with the (capital L) Literary. Yes, it is THE Norm Macdonald autobio (and not the Tina Fey, Amy Pohler, Rachel Dratch, Sarah Silverman, [even!!!] Steve Martin ones!) which transcends form. It takes Quixotean turns (i.e. postm...
  • Brian
    Made up truth.“Based on a True Story” is my first experience with an audio book. Although I think that it was a good way to experience this text, I don’t imagine there are many audiobooks in my future. However, hearing Norm’s voice is the best part, as it really brings out the cadence in his writing, and his delivery is one of his best traits.Some highlights of the book:*There is a rather touching tribute to the comic Sam Kinison, who die...
  • Sean
    A moth goes into a podiatrist’s office. The podiatrist says, “What’s the problem?” The moth says, “Where do I begin with my problems? Every day I go to work for Gregory Vassilievich, and all day long I toil. But what is my work? I am a bureaucrat, and so every day I joylessly move papers from one place to another and then back again. I no longer know what it is that I actually do, and I don’t even know if Gregory Vassilievich knows. H...
  • Kristina
    This is not your normal, straightforward memoir, far from it, actually. The best that I can describe it is off-the-wall or zany. Zany is not usually my cup of tea--I'd rather have a straight memoir dishing on all of the author's inside information on show business and especially Saturday Night Live. Having said that, there were parts of this book that were really funny. That was its saving grace, the humor was on point. I still would've rather ha...
  • Sam Quixote
    Norm MacDonald’s book Based on a True Story is a nonfiction memoir. And I am Batman, aka The Dark Knight, protector of Gotham City. Yup, neither statement is true! Maybe he thinks his life isn’t that interesting or that it’s funnier to do it this way, but Norm has framed his memoir/debut novel with a story that resembles a cross between Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Ocean’s 11! He writes himself as a scheming conman and morphine and ...
  • Brandon
    Based On A True Story is the autobiography of famed stand-up comedian Norm MacDonald - or so he would have you believe. Rather than tell you his real life story, Norm decided to write of his one-time plan to borrow millions of dollars from various casinos in Las Vegas, turn that money into millions for himself, then retire to a ranch in Montana. As the story moves along, Norm, strung out on morphine, tells a completely skewed, often fictionalized...
  • Andrew
    If you're a fan of Norm Macdonald's humor, read this book.Well, don't read it - listen to the audiobook.It's hard to get too much into what makes this book so special without "spoiling" it. Ultimately, it proves how vivid and accurate a picture you can create of a person when you're not restricted to facts alone. The more the book (a novel) plays around with the memoir format, the more true to Norm's mind it gets, and the more meaning you'll find...
  • Danger
    This was hilarious and weird and dark and so very, very Norm Macdonald and I loved it.
  • Courtney
    I have long been a fan of Norm Macdonald, and with good reason - he is brilliant. I have long been anticipating his book, and with good reason - he is an immaculate storyteller. I was hoping to savor this treasure, to dwell on the tidbits of gold (for indeed he did give gold, not straw and a Rumpelstiltskean task like he claims) but I quickly became consumed and did not come up for breath until I read the very last word. I had heard rumors that ...
  • 11811 (Eleven)
    I'm one of those people who laughs at Norm even when he says something that arguably isn't even funny so I'm a little biased. This entire memoir is bullshit but it's very entertaining bullshit.
  • Chris Jaffe
    Well, that was disappointing. Norm Macdonald is hilarious, and at times this book is as well - but it keeps getting in its own way with a schtick that is more annoying that entertaining. The premise is intriguing: Norm will tell stories about his life, but make stuff up along the way (hench the title of the book). OK - and the book gets off to a nice start with (supposed) childhood tales. But two things in the book undermine it - and both get str...
  • Krista
    There is the way things are and then the way things appear, and it is the way things appear, even when false, that is often the truest. I'm Norm Macdonald and this is the fake memoir...or so the Germans would have you believe.Okay, Norm Macdonald doesn't actually admit that this is a fake memoir, but Based on a True Story is both more and less than the typical celebrity tell-all: anyone looking for a behind-the-scenes look at SNL will be mostly d...
  • Chaim
    ** spoiler alert ** This is not a memoir. I don't think. It appears to start off as one, but then about halfway through, Norm seemingly tires of the genre and turns his life's story into something of a ludicrous picaresque novel. One of the delights of this read is the way in which he makes this transition; it took me a few pages to realize what was happening, and at one point I actually turned to Google to see if Norm had in fact committed any c...
  • Patrick Book
    It would be impossible to describe this accurately. The dust jacket doesn't take into account the manic scope of the thing -- let alone properly emphasize the gleeful, madcap fiction that holds whatever thin strands of truth that run through the narrative together. This is an insane head trip that is at times frighteningly honest and dark (while being almost definitely fiction), but also completely ludicrous (while hinting at some of life's large...
  • Steve
    DisappointingI like Norm's work and respect that he took a risk in the format and tone of his autobiography. No, it wasn't derivative or sentimental or overly kitschy -- but it also wasn't very informative, clear or entertaining...or most importantly funny.
  • Marc-Antoine
  • Adam McPhee
    The most I've laughed all year.
  • Anthony
    i mean, norm macdonald wrote this book
  • Josh
    The Crime and Punishment of comedy writing
  • Brian Gramman
    If you thought Norm Macdonald was going to write a straightforward autobiography, you haven't been paying much attention to him the past 30 years.Based on a True Story resembles reality much less than its title might suggest. Yes, Dave Attell is a real person, but I feel like the story of Norm getting caught hiring a hit man to kill Attell and then raping a man in prison does more than just take creative liberties with the truth.In fact, througho...
  • Nick
    Norm is a hero of mine, so I've been waiting for this to come out for damn near two years, and I wasn't even disappointed. It's Tolstoy and Nabokov and Hunter S. Thompson, but really it's all Norm. It's not a celebrity memoir, and Norm is not a celebrity author: it's a memoir, and Norm is an author. The man can write. Mean. You will laugh until you cry, but you might also just cry. (Maybe. Probably not. But still, he is poetic.) You will leave wa...
  • Craig Bierko
    I'm four chapters in and I'm committing to five stars because Norm has no intention of telling the truth and, as he says early on, nothing after the fact is exactly true - which is true. He pulls genuine memories from his life and tells you what you need to know along with a surreal spin that, oddly, feels like life itself. It's a weird thing, this living thing, and Norm captures that sense in a way that's both warm an cruel.
  • Arf Ortiyef
    somewhere in the middle of a Venn diagram of "Daddy's Boy", "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Pale Fire". was laughing out loud quite a lot.
  • Ericka Clouther
    I picked this one up because I saw Norm MacDonald's Netflix standup special. The special got some mixed reviews, including from MacDonald. I've been going through a tough time because my mother is progressively getting worse from terminal kidney cancer and MacDonald's dark humor about life really struck a chord with me. So this week, my mother switched to hospice care, and I turned to MacDonald's book to get away from all the heavy stuff I've bee...
  • Patrick Adams
    I am a big fan of Norm MacDonald. I went into reading this book thinking I'd get an understanding of his enigmatic life. In some cases, you got a true to life story (SNL, movies) but the longest running narrative was an obviously fictional, albeit funny, story. I found myself seeking out the things that were true and began ignoring the fictional story elements. It took away from it quite a bit. He's a comedy genius, but this book is a bit of a mi...
  • Chant Cowen
    The title should be some sort of indication that this book is based on (what Norm likes to call "fact", which he means that "fact" is just empirical data, as where truth is something that is the ultimate and more truthful) on non-fact stories, but TRUTHFUL stories.Not to spoil anything the book was a ride, a has-been ghost writer that hates Norm, liquid morphine, Norm apparently getting raped multiple times when he was in jail (?), the book is mo...
  • Sean
    I'm not sure how any fan of Norm Macdonald could not like this book. It is 100% Norm from start to finish and consistently hilarious. Some chapters worked better than others, but the mixture of the truth, the semi-truth, total BS, and the ghostwriter made for a much better "memoir" than some by-the-numbers snoozefest.Will be re-reading this for years to come whenever I'm in need of a laugh; while wearing my SNL jacket, Norm Show t-shirt, and Dirt...