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Publisher's Summary

If you ran into Stephen Tobolowsky on the street, you would not be mistaken: Yes, you’ve seen him before. A childhood dentist? A former geometry teacher? Your local florist? Tobolowsky is a character actor, one of the most prolific screen and stage presences of our time, having appeared in productions that range from Deadwood to Glee, from Mississippi Burning to Groundhog Day.
But Stephen Tobolowsky, it turns out, is not just an actor; he is also a dazzlingly talented storyteller and writer. He has earned a devoted base of fans for his original stories, told in front of live audiences as well as in a popular podcast. Now, for the first time, he has assembled those stories here. The result is creative mitzvah, a work of art, and a narrative feat that combines biography and essay, ranging in tone from the hilarious to the introspective.
To read these pages is to enter an astonishing world that, like all art, is universal yet individual, familiar yet disquieting. A dangerous world, indeed.
©2012 Stephen Tobolowsky (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
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Critic Reviews

"Stephen Tobolowsky has found his true calling as a storyteller. He is candid, insightful, often profound, and very, very funny, especially when he recounts his adventures in show business. By blending sharp memories of his childhood with astute, adult observations of the world around him, he weaves a spell not unlike Jean Shepherd or Garrison Keillor… but he has a voice all his own, and I love it." (Leonard Maltin, film critic and author)
"I LOVE THIS!" (Sarah Silverman)
"Great storytelling, beautiful stuff." (Rian Johnson, director of The Brothers Bloom and Brick)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By HB Radke on 09-27-12

Will Rogers, Spalding Gray, Alexandre Dumas HACKS!

If you could sum up The Dangerous Animals Club in three words, what would they be?

Charming, human, inspirational.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Dangerous Animals Club?

It happens a lot with the way Tobo crafts a tale. There is an A and B story line and they always intertwine at the end with a great "youseetimmy" Which of course is the morale to a given story. The term is derived from the end of Lassie episodes. "you see, Timmy...."

What does Stephen Tobolowsky bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His own experience. These stories are his own. He knows where to slow down, where to punch a line, where to pause. I can't imagine them told in any other voice.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I honestly feel like I am a better human being for hearing this book, not to mention his podcast. I giggle, I get misty, even with repeated listens. I have bought this book and the audiobook for family and friends, I suggest you do the same.

Any additional comments?

I've had one cyber run in with the author. My daughter who was 11 at the time, was auditioning for a play and subsequently got the lead. She was freaking out about a fast approaching opening night and worried about learning all her lines. I had been a fan of the Tobolowsky Files podcast and I shot a tweet to him.

Not only did he respond to my tweet, but he sent my daughter a long email spelling out different techniques for learning a script and preparing a part. Anybody in the industry that is as busy as he who takes that kind of personal time out for a fan who is thousands of miles away is a stand up guy in my book.


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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By AJ on 07-13-13

Storytelling at its finest

I'm not exactly sure what I could say to add to the reviews that have already been written. I should start out by saying that this is not usually the type of book I would buy, but did so on a recommendation of a friend (usually disastrous). Since listening to this book, I have listened to every podcast of "The Tobolowsky Files" and can say that this man has found his true calling as a storyteller, teacher, and entertainer. I am familiar with his work as an actor, as most people are even if they don't know it (one of the recurring themes of the stories). I am a fan from "Californication" which, to me, is some of his funniest, finest work. His ability to open up his life to the reader/listener, both the painful and the triumphant, is astounding. I also highly recommend the movie form of his storytelling "Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party." You get a strange sense that he has lived this life, and been put through these experiences by some higher order for the sole purpose of telling his story and entertaining the world.

These stories are at times hilarious and, at other times, heartbreaking. There are instances where these aren't so easily separated and I found myself laughing through tears. He tells stories of himself as a boy, a boyfriend, an actor, a student, a teacher, an amateur exterminator, a husband, a friend, a drug user, a dog owner, a musician, and a hostage...sometimes all at once. These stories are always fascinating and have a unique sensibility. Even when about something mundane, they are never boring. I'm not sure that I would be willing to open myself up to the world and tell stories which seem so personal and, often times, embarrassing. I am glad the author was willing to do so. Never has encephalitis been so funny.

The book is not a linear autobiography. Instead, it is a collection of stories that often jump in time period, but are ultimately linked. Usually, each story has a theme or lesson he has learned or is retelling through life experience. If this is your first listen to Mr. Tobolowsky, then go one step further and check out the podcast. The stories in this book make up about the first 25 or so podcasts, but the podcasts often include slightly more information, as well as host/author banter. The book, in other words, is a more cleanly edited version of the podcasts with more fluid transitions between stories to try to make them more logically ordered for the reader.

This book could only succeed with the author as a narrator. This narration is more polished then the podcast delivery, which often includes Mr. Tobolowsky laughing out loud or choking up. I appreciate and enjoy the emotion in the podcasts, and, while not completely absent in the book narration, is slightly more controlled. That may or may not be a good thing to some, especially those familiar with the podcast. His voice is full of expression, and you can often tell when he is smiling, frowning, or on the verge of tears, which gives the feeling that he is actually retelling the story and not reading the story.

All in all, a beautiful, rare, and extremely special book that has me reflecting on my family, friends, and life like no other book has. I am stunned by how good this book is and how well it is read. I could not recommend it more.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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