every few months i take a break from my podcasts to listen to an audiobook. it’s been a while since my last listen, so last week i decided it was time for a change. i had downloaded billy crystal’s still foolin’ ’em: where i’ve been, where i’m going, and where the hell are my keys? earlier this year but had never gotten around to listening to it, so i figured it was as good a time as any.
billy crystal has been a favourite actor and comedian of mine since i was a kid. his roles in when harry met sally, city slickers, and especially as miracle max in the princess bride have entertained me for more than 20 years, and his previous book, 700 sundays, in which he recounts the 700 sundays he spent with his father before his death when billy was 15, has stuck with me since i first read it many moons ago. so when i found out he had written a memoir, i knew i needed to listen to it. and he did not let me down.
from the very first minute, billy had me laughing like a madwoman, which i’m sure was especially entertaining for my fellow bangaloreans as i walked down the street and sat on the bus chuckling to myself everywhere i went. billy’s got such a great way of speaking to you as though you’re old friends, and i immediately felt like a part of his family as i travelled along with him through adolescence, young adulthood, beginning a family, and his career finally taking off.
and i learned so many new things about billy during my journey through his life. like how he played pickup basketball with the 7ft tall lew alcindor. like how he attended marshall university for a year, and how, during that year, he was once denied service at a diner because of the visible star of david hanging around his neck. and like his friendships with muhammad ali and mickey mantle. he’s had such an interesting and varied life, and i loved hearing him narrate his story.
one of the bits i most enjoyed was when billy compared sex at 25 to sex at 65 — it was downright hilarious, and listening to it on the bus certainly made for an interesting experience.
and i of course loved his descriptions of his family. when billy and his wife janice had their first daughter, he stayed home to take care of her while janice returned to work. his descriptions of raising his daughters were very poignant, and you can feel how much he loves and cherishes them. one of the biggest reasons i enjoyed listening to billy read his own story is because you can hear the change in his voice when he begins speaking of his family. it’s very heartwarming, and it added some extra depth to his story.
if you are searching for your next audiobook, look no further than still foolin’ ’em. it will make you laugh uncontrollably, and it might even make you cry.