Big Kiss by Henry Alford
One Actor's Desperate Attempt to Claw His Way to the Top

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Synopsis

"I'd like to thank the Academy and all of the little people who made Henry Alford's hilarious book possible. Mr. Alford delivers a performance that is laugh-out-loud funny and written with high style."
--Christopher Buckley, author of Little Green Men

Henry Alford was a well-adjusted, critically acclaimed author living quietly in New York City.
        Then he decided to become an actor.
        In the course of this memoir, Alford is rejected by directors, ignored by casting people, abused by a sadistic acting teacher, and educated in the finer points of Shakespearean thespianism at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England, where he fails to convince the Queen to attend his final performance.
        Along the way, Alford auditions for the role of Wil-bur the Pig in Charlotte's Web, triumphs as an extra in Godzilla, and takes his sixty-nine-year-old bird-watching, chain-smoking mother to improvisational-comedy camp. Hoping to broaden his range, he takes a job with a phone-sex business, where he assays many roles on a popular party line.
        Finally, Alford finds happiness and celebrity as the cohost of VH1's hit series Rock of Ages, on which he quizzes elderly Italian women, among others, about videos by heavy-metal groups.
        Original, absurd, and written with true comic grace, Big Kiss captures in a new and unforgettable way the experience of being a performer.
 

About Henry Alford

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Henry Alford is the author of three acclaimed works of investigative humor - How To Live: A Seach for Wisdom from Old People (While They are Still on this Earth); Big Kiss: One Actor's Desperate Attempt to Claw His Way to the Top; and Municipal Bondage: One Man's Anxiety-Producing Adventures in the Big City. He has been a regular contributor to the New York Times and Vanity Fair, and a staff writer at Spy. He has also written for The New Yorker, GQ, New York, Details, Harper's Bazaar, Travel & Leisure, the Village Voice, and Paris Review. He lives in Manhattan.
 
Published March 14, 2000 by Villard. 240 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Big Kiss

Publishers Weekly

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Rendering his vignettes with a clever mix of description and drollery, Alford displays a gift not so much for shtick as for scene: ""I have sort of a monsignor quality,"" he informs a VH1 producer looking for someone to interview disparate groups about their tastes in music.

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AV Club

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A reminiscence about two days spent as a phone-sex operator is both hilarious and poignant, and the combination of anxiety and exhilaration Alford feels when he actually lands a steady performing gig (as the host of VH1's Rock Of Ages) has an honesty that only occasionally flashes in the writer's...

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Big Kiss: One Actor's Despera...

Austin Chronicle

With Big Kiss, humorist Henry Alford joins a first-person tradition advanced recently by the likes of David Sedaris, Joe Queenan, and P.J.

Jun 16 2000 | Read Full Review of Big Kiss: One Actor's Despera...

TheaterMania

Big Kiss, now at the Miranda Theater, is brilliant fun, featuring "New York's funniest unknown actors telling their most humiliating audition stories."

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