DREW CAREY Bares His Funny Bone

8:02 pm Profiles


By Dawn Shurmaitis

ABC sitcom star Drew Carey has just written a book — a curious hybrid of fact and fiction — and it is a doozy. “Dirty Jokes and Beer: Stories of the Unrefined” covers a lot of expected ground in a breezy, take-no-prisoners style. It is easy to believe Carey when he writes: “I wrote it imagining that you were sitting with me in a bar, and that we’ve decided to stay up all night getting drunk together. The jukebox is going to play nothing but our favorite songs, and I’m buying.” Who could resist an introduction like that? To top it all off, each chapter is introduced by a silly, dirty joke (none of which can be repeated here).

Carey, who did not use a ghostwriter, also offers some great insider takes on the zany world of network television, including a hilarious chapter detailing his TV show’s numerous encounters with the network censor. To his credit, Carey salutes Neil Conrad, the ABC Broadcast and Standards executive assigned to “The Drew Carey Show.”

“One of the reasons that I like him so much is that he takes his job seriously, but he’s not some insane moral crusader,” Carey writes. “His bosses from ABC in New York tell him the rules, and he tries to enforce them.”

The book also offers another, far more serious side of Drew Carey. In the chapter “My short, happy life,” Carey tells his readers he was molested at age 9, the year after his father died. Writing that he wants to “spare you some sap,” Carey takes only four pages to write about the worst part of his life, and two subsequent suicide attempts. During a recent phone interview, Carey said he’d received a surprising amount of feedback from people grateful for his honest revelations. “People paid $23 for this book, you gotta give them something for it,” Carey said, tossing in a joke as a segue to a more serious observation. “It hurt like hell.”

Carey credits his mental-health turnaround to self-help books, going so far in an interview to offer advice that had helped him. “Stop thinking about all that’s wrong with you. I know it sounds sappy, but you have to think about all the good things you have. Your friends. How important you are to people.”

In his book, Carey frankly, and hysterically, admits a fondness for Las Vegas strippers, body-piercing (his) and big-screen TVs. Calling it “an irresistible primal urge,” Carey also takes some hard shots at politicians, writing that Clinton didn’t inhale because “he couldn’t figure out the complicated respiratory trick that even your average crack head can do.”

The books ends with a small collection of short stories that Carey admits “his publishers wish would just go away.” Carey insisted on including his stories, which are all written in the first-person, because he wanted to give readers an idea of what he’s like when he’s not on TV. In this, he succeeds.

Ultimately, Carey’s book is a little like meatloaf. Some surprising ingredients make it interesting. It fills you up, and it goes great with beer.


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