Various Authors | Care to Make Love in That Gross Little Space Between Cars (Vintage Books)

caretomakeloveConsidering the seemingly stellar lineup of writers, musicians, and comics, Care to Make Love is an enormous disappointment. Louis C.K. comes across as a petulant child, but at least the editors had the foresight to warn the reader that “Mr. C.K.” was “having a bad day.”

 

A Believer Book of Advice

While the days of “Dear Abby” are waning, advice columns are still a popular medium for those seeking advice of any kind. Luckily, for those in need of guidance, The Believer magazine publishes an advice column monthly, written by comedienne Amy Sedaris. The monthly column, aptly coined Sedaratives, parlayed in to You’re a Horrible Person, But I Like You: The Believer Book of Advice in 2010. The first jaunt through advice via comic perspective was chock full of favorite, vetted comedians big and small: Fred Armisen, Sarah Silverman, Mindy Kaling, and more. However, it felt a bit bland, like some of the actual humor was lost in translation. Could it have been a format problem, lack of seriousness in the comedians’ tone? While the answer still escapes many readers, The Believer was back at it, creating a sequel, Care to Make Love in That Gross Little Space Between Cars?. Generally better than their predecessors, follow-ups attempt to make up for any shortcomings and inadequacies; unfortunately, The Believer’s latest run tends to fall just as flat.

Much promise is held for a book featuring one of America’s best modern comedy-writers, Judd Apatow, who penned the book’s introduction. Of course, some of that hopeful promise wears off once the realization that this book is still nothing more than a compilation of people seeking answers for some of the most inane (albeit purposely inane more often than not) questions ever conjured. Of the 39 chapters, each devoted to a comedian, musician, or troupe of comedians/musicians, few leave memorable impressions, give actual advice, or are worth reading more than once.caretomakelove

Considering the seemingly stellar lineup of writers, musicians, and comics, Care to Make Love is an enormous disappointment. Louis C.K. comes across as a petulant child, but at least the editors had the foresight to warn the reader that “Mr. C.K.” was “having a bad day.” While this type of admonition may seem necessary or cheeky, it makes Louis C.K., an already abrasive comedian, look overtly combative, which completely ruins what could have been something genuinely funny and potentially notable. Nick Hornby, who on more than one occasion has written pieces so momentous they have been utterly life-changing, comes across as exciting as a manila envelope. The ever-eclectic Mike Doughty takes the advice-column business as serious as everything else; Doughty goes on a diatribe regarding pizza and other cutesy shenanigans, through multiple questions posed by readers of The Believer without really coming to any kind of resolution.

That’s not to say this book doesn’t have good parts. The editors must have caught Kristen Schaal on a good day—or it’s just her cheery demeanor that made her one of the best and most entertaining advice columnists of the book (that, or the fact that it’s easy to imagine her Bob’s Burgers character, Louise Belcher, giving the advice). Miscellaneous Canadian Rock Musicians, who include Sara Quin (of Tegan & Sara), A.C. Newman (of The New Pornographers), and Steve Bays (of Hot Hot Heat), also make a great case for the book of advice, suggesting things like how to avoid familial blackmail. This quick read is best suited as a conversation starter, or even possibly best kept on your electronic device as a free-time-killer.

Care to Make Love in That Gross Little Space Between Cars? is what happens when the already great, creative minds of modern entertainment try too hard to be witty and cute. C- | Jenn Metzler

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