A collection of comic stories inspired by a former Saturday Night Live writer's real experiences in Hollywood, chronicling the absurdity of fame and the humanity of failure in a world dominated by social media influencers and reality TV stars.
In his previous six books, Rich has proved he has a boundless imagination and a sharp sense of humor, and Hits and Misses continues that streak—it's a bizarre and hilarious collection from one of the funniest writers in America ... Rich can be edgy, but his comedy doesn't require victims; you get the feeling he actually likes his characters, and doesn't see them as just ends to a punchline ... He's endlessly clever, but not impressed by his own wit; gentle, but not afraid to test boundaries. It's a kind of humor that recalls early 20th-century writers like James Thurber and E.B. White, but Rich's comic genius is really all his own. He spent years being regarded as a kind of precocious wunderkind, but with this book, Rich has come into his own as one of the most talented writers of comedic fiction working today.
Hits and Misses takes its material from those years of ambition, graft and stellar success: it’s the mid-career album about fame. But you won’t find Rich bemoaning his star status à la NSYNC. The collection is full of well-bred privilege-checking—and a lot of very funny jokes ... Most of the pieces here are skits rather than stories, and some are simply jokes. The collection as a whole feels, unsurprisingly, like a sketch show. Which is no bad thing: one of Rich’s strengths is that he knows exactly how soon to stop ... His humour is good clean fun: The Big Bang Theory rather than Girls. He never reaches the transgressive nirvana of, say, Giles Coren on Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel Here I Am. Coren lets in just enough real envy to give his hilarious review an edge that even the best of these stories lack.
He writes funny, short, inventive, breathtakingly precise pieces ... In the piece 'The Book of Simon,' God has given a faithless comedy writer in Brooklyn named Simon Rich everything and so the Devil starts making fun of our Lord ... By the end, Simon Rich, the character, is so detestable that God and the Devil form a union. Now, this is how you do self-hatred! Yet it never feels indulgent. When writers write about their writing process—or artists talk about their art—it can veer into the self-serious, boring, or pretentious. Rich makes it funny ... Whatever Rich picked up working at Pixar shows through. The stories end in cliche. Not flimsy or ridiculous cliche—lovely, age-old themes spelled out clearly ... At times, they have genuinely moved me.