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Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid


Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid

“Dr.” Denis Leary explains it all --- literally.
(Leary earned an honorary doctorate in 2005 from his alma mater,
Emerson College, and he intends to use it.) For the Boston-bred
comedian, there are no sacred cows, no taboos, no subjects off
limits --- the Catholic Church, celebrities, politicians, even his
Irish lineage. No one is safe from ridicule, and when Leary takes
aim with his razor-sharp wit, he takes no prisoners.

When first published in November, WHY WE SUCK and its author
courted controversy concerning his statements on afflictions like
childhood autism, especially when he says: “There is a huge
boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and
competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumbass kids
can’t compete academically so they throw money into the happy
laps of shrinks and psychotherapists to get back diagnoses that
help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I
don’t give a **** what these crackerjack whackjobs tell you
--- your kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or

This hardly seems like the diagnosis of a doctor, but as Leary
clearly states in his lengthy prologue, “This is a comedy
book. Which means it’s meant to be funny. So when I say
something in here I am offering up my opinion, my slightly
exaggerated take on people, places and things and very often a
twisted take on reality. In other words: it is parody, satire and
poking fun.” So I guess the offended parties skipped right
over the prologue to get to the offending chapter.

Leary has been a comedian/actor for over 20 years. He created
and stars in the popular F/X series “Rescue Me,” which
is about to begin its fifth season. But even in his earliest
stand-up days, he wasn’t a stranger to controversy. His first
comedy special, “No Cure for Cancer,” and his quick MTV
commercial spots touting his love of supermodel Cindy Crawford
launched him into Hollywood, with more specials (“Lock
’N Load”) and even movies (The Ref, Wag the
). But now he’s in charge of his own show, and we get
the feeling that’s just the way he likes it.

WHY WE SUCK reflects his own sardonic and incensed viewpoint on
America’s celebrity-obsessed culture and why people like Anna
Nicole Smith should serve as a cautionary tale (“…she
serves up a great argument against taking strippers out of the
strip club….it’s like taking King Kong off the jungle
island and dropping him into the middle of midtown Manhattan ---
nothing good can come from it.”). He also rails against
President Bush, whom he refers to as “Bush Jr.” and
advocates taking bratty teens who appear on the show “My
Super Sweet 16” and dropping them chuteless into Iraq. Sure,
he exaggerates and embellishes a bit, but some of his points make
sense. No wonder our reputation has been less than sterling in the
global arena. We live in a culture where a person will sue
McDonald’s if they get fat from eating their grease-laden
food. What really irks Leary is that the notion of personal
responsibility is completely forgotten in our modern-day,
Wii-obsessed world. And you know what? He’s right.

Fans of Leary will devour this book and appreciate his humor.
It’s not for the faint of heart or humor-impaired. The real
surprise here is the touching relationship he shares with his
mother. He describes her as “Mary Tyler Moore, Mother Teresa
and Joe Pesci in a blender and set it on high…” Their
conversations back and forth provide this work with a surprising
amount of heart. Maybe it’s because I grew up in an Irish
Catholic household quite similar to Leary’s, but these sweet
exchanges with his mother, peppered with reports of who died and
who has cancer, read like a chapter out of my own family’s
book. After finishing WHY WE SUCK, I related some of the best bits
to my father over the phone. “I’d like to read that.
Send it to me when you’re done.” Of course, I warned
him about the language.

Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on January 24, 2011

Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid
by Dr. Denis Leary

  • Publication Date: October 27, 2009
  • Genres: Humor
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Plume
  • ISBN-10: 0452295645
  • ISBN-13: 9780452295643