Founder / Editor


Associate Editor


Assistant Editor











"Dangerously Funny" Week: What a Whirlwind, Part 1
December 2, 2009  | By David Bianculli
daily-beast.jpgAs I write this, I've just flown to Los Angeles, preparing for a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Fergusonon CBS and Thursday's book reading and signing at the Skirball Cultural Center. It's been a nonstop nutso week for me -- and I thought, since I doubt a week like this will ever come my way again, to share some of the fun parts...

The week started, unexpectedly, with a shout-out from the Daily Beast, which identified the book as one of the week's Hot Reads. Cool.

Then my interview with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air aired Monday. Everyone who produced and shaped the hour did me the greatest of kindnesses. Terry did a wonderful interview, which took up more than half the show. Then, with a masterful transition, she filled the rest of the show with my interview with actor Hal Holbrook. You can hear the entire hour, if you missed it, by clicking HERE.

I've been on Fresh Air since its national launch back in 1987, but I had no idea of its true clout, as a measurable component of book sales, until Monday. Amazon ranks all the books it sells, and it's a ranking only masochistic authors should spend much time perusing. On Oct. 5, for example, when my book was first offered for presale on the Amazon website, it was ranked 798,191.

I wrote it down. At least I had cracked the all-important Top 800,000.

On October 7, after I announced the book on this very website, the ranking shot up tenfold, to 71,212. Stand by, sports fans!

Then it went down, then up, and on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, it was hovering at 43,518. (I only looked a few times a month, but wrote the rankings down when I did.)

But in the hours after my book-related Fresh Air was broadcast, I started getting emails from my agent, editor and publicist. The Dangerously Funny ranking had shot up to 521. Then to 301. And, by midnight, was 194.

The next day, the book, Tom Smothers and I were featured on ABC's Good Morning America (mostly Tom and the book, but I'm thrilled; no complaints here, just gratitude). That pushed the ranking up, too, to 146.

And in various categories, the book is doing well: I took a screen shot when, in the admittedly limited category of Books-Entertainment-Television-History & Criticism, it was ranked Number 1. Here's proof:


Right now, as I type this, the book is back down to No. 181. I expect it to keep slipping back down, though my "Terry bump" could be followed by a "Craig bump" on Friday. I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, here's what's up:

On Thursday, I tape my Ferguson appearance, which will air Friday night (early Saturday) at 12:35 a.m. ET on CBS's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

And as soon as that taping session is over, I fly over to the Skirball Cultural Center for a speech, video presentation and book signing. If you're around the L.A. area, please, please come by: 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. It's at 7:30 p.m. local time, costs $5, but is free for students.

More stuff soon, but please forgive my erratic posts this week -- and my erratic posting schedule, as well. I've been building up to this for -- in the words of George Harrison, "a long, long, long time."

By the way: I still haven't made it to a bookstore. So if you have a Dangerously Funny sighting to report, let me know!




Greg Kibitz said:

Enjoy yout 15 minutes, and may it extend to hours, days, weeks, months, years and hopefully an entire lifetime. IMO, you truly deserve it.

Comment posted on December 3, 2009 4:42 AM

Chris Collins said:

Hey David,

Enjoy the ride and know that it couldn't happen to a more deserving TV critic.


Comment posted on December 3, 2009 8:55 AM

Len Feiner said:

I am proud to say that I've been your friend for 15 years, through good and bad, and I am so very happy for you. Next, you'll be creating a Snowglobe for the book!!
[Thanks, Len! And remember, if you ever run out of shelf space for that "St. Elsewhere" snow globe, you know where else it would find a good home... - David B.]

Comment posted on December 3, 2009 11:44 AM

Neil said:

Here's a "sighting", you can decide if you want to publish it or just file it away.

I wandered into my local Barnes & Noble (Redwood City, on the SF peninsula) on Tuesday, looking for the book. They had about a half dozen copies under the New Books table, down near the floor, around the side from where it would catch your eye upon entering the store. I had a mental image of the cover, but still missed it until the *fourth* pass by that table. I'm guessing your publisher didn't spiff B&N enough for better placement.

The book looks good, but leafing through it, I was struck by the questionable quality of the printing. One copy had black ink splotches (about the size of a raisin) on a number of pages. I picked up a second copy to check it, and while it too had splotches, they were on different pages from the first copy. FWIW, they were discounting it 20% from list, right around $20.

I'm looking forward to reading it, but think I'll order it from Amazon.

[Dear Neil -- I got into my first Barnes & Noble myself, and you're right, the placement until new arrivals is less prominent than I would have liked. But in the same story, it was displayed very prominently in the TV & Film section -- and hey, I'm just happy it's in stores at all, and B&N has been a major supporter in terms of national orders.
As for the blotches -- sorry that happened to you, but just go to another stack, or source. I've seen, and heard, no other complaints of that nature as yet. -- David B.]

Comment posted on December 3, 2009 1:28 PM

Jan said:

Congratulations!! I hope it stays near the top for you. I work during the day, so I'll be listening to the Fresh Air interview online, but I always record Craig Ferguson, so I'll be able to see that one. I'm glad you're going on that show. It's the only late night talk show I watch, and it's always a lot of fun. Both he and his guests always seem to be enjoying themselves so much, but often they don't talk about whatever the person is there to plug, so good luck with that. :-) I look forward to seeing your segment.

Comment posted on December 3, 2009 2:56 PM

Laura said:

Hmmm, your asking about bookstore sightings got me curious, so I called the two independent bookshops nearest me. One said they're getting the book sometime this month. The other (you'll like this) said they had it, and it sold out. They'll be getting more copies next week.
The Fresh Air piece was good!
I'm putting the book on my Christmas list, and asking that they get it through your site.
Hope you sell a ton.
[Wow. Thanks for all the news -- and all the legwork! And, of course, the book-pimping on my behalf... -- David B.]

Comment posted on December 3, 2009 6:13 PM

elise said:

YAY!!! You GO guy!!!!!

Comment posted on December 3, 2009 6:32 PM

maggie in nj said:

Congrats, David!!!
An even bigger thrill than seeing your own book in the bookstore is knowing it's in the Library of Congress forever and ever. It was about 20 years ago that I collaborated on a Monkees book....had to go to D.C. in those days to see that it was really in the Library of Congress, but now you can just surf to catalog.loc.gov and search.
[Yes, there is something about the "permanence" of a book that I really, truly love. As opposed to, say, a lifetime of daily newspaper columns and weekly radio reports. But which Monkees book? Chances are I have it downstairs in my basement. -- David B.]

Comment posted on December 3, 2009 9:27 PM

maggie in nj said:

[But which Monkees book? Chances are I have it downstairs in my basement]

Whaaaaat? There's a library of TV books along with the 13 TV sets? AWESOME!

Well, this is the Monkees book you most likely don't have....it was done by a very small publisher of rock'n'roll books who had virtually no distribution. How different it would've been these days! Title was (drum roll)....
The Monkees: A Manufactured Image by Ed Reilly, Maggie McManus & Bill Chadwick.

[Oooh, I DON'T have that one! Wanna trade for some TV crap from my basement floor? -- David B.]

Comment posted on December 7, 2009 9:47 AM
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 Name (required)
 Email (required) (will not be published)
Type in the verification word shown on the image.