“Mental” by Eddie Sarfaty

754
U S Capitol

book review: 

Eddie Sarfaty is a comic genius. Let there be no doubt about that. With this collection of essays about gay life and life in general (you don’t have to be gay to find you have a psychotic cat on your hands), Sarfaty has created the perfect book to take to the beach or Fire Island or for a long afternoon coffee at a café on Asbury’s Cookman Avenue.

Gay humor, as is the case with minority humor in general, is usually funniest when it is self-deprecating and Sarfaty can do that with the best of them. His explanation of why he wanted a cat, for example, is an hysterical run on what it is like to live in a city like New York where everyone you know goes to the gym more often than you do, has read or listened to everything important well before the general public and so on and on, is so true and so funny! There is a lot more to this book than superficial riffs on gay life however. Sarfaty breaks through the brittle, glossy surface time and again to reveal compassion, love and even triumph. His short story on working at a piss-elegant East side bar called the Eton Club (which anyone familiar with New York gay life during the last couple of decades will immediately recognize as being the old Regent East) is an unusual and beautifully written tale of love and compassion transcending age and status in a way that has nothing to do with sex but everything to do with the generosity of the human spirit.
In another tale—that of conducting a series of comedy workshops for a highly disparate group of would-be stand-up comics—we see that the intense satisfaction of helping others to find unexpected ways to break through their own self-imposed barriers can be found in the most unlikely situations if you are willing to take risks and give of yourself.

Caution: don’t try reading this book in the back of the classroom during a boring lecture, in church or anyplace else where sudden fits of uncontrolled laughter will get you in trouble. You have to be careful with books like this. I learned that lesson many years ago on a flight back from London in the days when movies were shown on one big screen at the front of the cabin. I was reading Tom Sharpe’s incredibly funny “Riotous Assembly,” falling out of my seat in a laughing fit I could not stop while on-screen a heroine was expiring like Camille—tragically and interminably. It’s a wonder they didn’t have the men in white coats meet me at JFK. My fellow passengers clearly thought I was a very sick puppy. “Mental” is a book that could easily produce similar results. You have been warned

“Mental” by Eddie Sarfaty

ISBN: 978-0-7582-2255-8,

Kensington Press www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/14498

book review: 

Eddie Sarfaty is a comic genius. Let there be no doubt about that. With this collection of essays about gay life and life in general (you don’t have to be gay to find you have a psychotic cat on your hands), Sarfaty has created the perfect book to take to the beach or Fire Island or for a long afternoon coffee at a café on Asbury’s Cookman Avenue.