Rob Delaney's a rapid-fire joke machine. So you'd be forgiven for expecting the stand-up comedian and Twitter Grand Poobah's new book to read something like Milton Berle's Private Joke File.
Yet his debut memoir, Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage., poignantly tackles his battles with alcoholism and depression, the joys of being a father, and his 13th birthday party, when he got angry at his mom for baking him a Danzig cake (by his kid logic, Danzig was too badass to be rendered in frosting). Followers of Delaney's Twitter feed (there are almost one million of them) may be caught off guard by the book's heartfelt honesty.
"I almost get off sexually by defying expectations," Delaney, 36, says over coffee near Venice Beach. "Anybody who does me the amazing kindness of reading my book, I mean, fuck me if I didn't put my best into it. I'm a sinner and a bad man if I didn't."
Although Delaney's been performing as a stand-up for more than a decade, it wasn't until he began churning out crude bon mots on Twitter that he stepped into the national spotlight. "Twitter is a diversion and a silly thing. And a waste of time," he says. "I don't think that people other than comedians or poets need to be putting stuff on Twitter. That said, it can make you a better writer. You learn the way various words work percussively in sentences."
Delaney's memoir confronts several dark chapters in his life, including a drunk-driving accident that got him two broken arms and a stint in jail and rehab, but ultimately saved his life. Now sober for 11 years and a happily married father of two young children, Delaney says he's not worried about his kids picking up his memoir one day.
"I'm not afraid for my kids to know that their dad has fears or sexual impulses," he says. "Hopefully, they won't be too horrified. If they are, they can go write a book about it."
Our Favorite @RobDelaney Tweets
"I love gay people. Or as I sometimes call them, 'people.'"
"Guns don't kill people. People who say 'Guns don't kill people' kill people. With guns."
"Which Mumford is the dad?"
"You've really got to hand it to short people. Because they often can't reach it."
"The story of the Titanic speaks to me because I once tripped over a bag of ice at a party & then killed over 1,500 people."
Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. is out now via Spiegel & Grau.
Grooming by Kelly Hunt