Whether you like stand-up comedy or not; whether you’re a fan of comedian Jim Norton or not and — this is important — if you can suppress judgment on a man who not only enjoys being defecated on but also likes writing about it, you must read Happy Endings: The Tales of a Meaty-Breasted Zilch.
Known best these days as the third mic on the wildly popular Opie & Anthony radio show (broadcast on both XM satellite and terrestrial radio throughout the country), veteran stand-up Norton takes his amazingly honest live comedy tone and puts it all in black- -and-white in a journal-style memoir.
To say Norton, a former alcoholic with a severe sex addiction, has a humble way about him would be to grossly understate the way he looks inward. Throughout Happy Endings, he paints a vivid self-portrait, replete with stories of his shamefully eating fatty desserts while trying to lose weight, getting terrible blow jobs from terrible-looking hookers, getting great blow jobs from great-looking hookers and just generally stumbling through his days trying to keep his disappointments in life to a minimum.
The former Lucky Louie cast member even takes time to explicate embarrassingly sophomoric poems he wrote, letters to and from girlfriends and a short story of fiction he penned years ago based around a real-life ex-girlfriend, wherein the protagonist (“The Man”) schemes to pay back a $400 debt to his friend L’il Kinney, “the leader of the G-Rajes, a vicious gang of black rapists.” The Man incurs the debt after L’il Kinney gives him the cash to have anal sex with The Man’s girlfriend and rather than follow through, The Man spends the loot on Ozzfest tickets, beer and lap dances.
No doubt, the stories Jimmy tells about his sexual encounters are hilarious, but even the more mundane, microscopic slices of life he relates are equally entertaining. About snot, he writes: “What better feeling than to scrape your nail into one and slowly guide it out? It looks like a cornflake with bloody porridge on it. Most boogers taste salty and have the consistency of rubber cement. I hate when you pop a nice one into your mouth and it gets caught in your teeth; it totally takes the joy out of eating it. Instead, it makes you feel like a vile, disgusting adult who’s destined to spending eternity picking nose dirt our of their molars.”
Beyond what memoir traditionalists would consider “shocking,” Norton also deftly navigates some more G-rated waters; not to worry, though, as he finds a way each time to make it great.
By the end of the book, hardcore Norton fans will be deliriously happy with what the author’s decided to include in this wholly entertaining collection. We could only hope that those same fans will slip the book to a loved one — their mom or their sister — look them straight in the face and say, “Hey, I just read this memoir. It really changed my life. I think you should read it.”