You’d better “Believe” it
In all the years of her advice-giving career, it is unlikely Ann Landers was ever faced with a question like “Is Jesus a lot of hype?” The same goes for her sister; a special no-prize goes to the person who can find the newspaper column that starts with “Dear Abby, What kind of superheroes do you think get laid the most?” Luckily, for the queries that can’t — or won’t — be answered by any other source, we have Care to Make Love in That Gross Little Space Between Cars?: A Believer Book of Advice.
If there’s anyone you can trust for sage counsel, it’s celebrities of every sort. Actors, comedians, writers and musicians, have all the answers for the problems of life you didn’t even know you were worried about. If you want to know what the social protocol is for breaking up with someone on Twitter, ask comic Paul Scheer, who explains that while it’s perfectly acceptable to do this, the preferred option is to send a mass text to everyone but your significant other about the subject, or even better, hire a skywriter. Concerned about the spike in the number of concussions among children? Check with Kristen Schaal, who claims kids are using the ailment as an excuse for a sleep break from backbreaking labor and advises thusly: “Check their tiny hands on their unconscious bodies. If their fingers are worked and bloodied to the literal bone, they are most likely faking that concussion and you should wake them up and put them back to work.”
Oh, wait, were you wanting real advice? You’ll find none of that here, but you will get a criminal amount of laughter. Ever since Amy Sedaris began her column “Sedaratives” for the magazine The Believer in 2005, the concept has branched out continually. The humorous pixie gives us a double dose of her brand of wit. Sedaris doles out tidbits on hermit crabs, sea monkeys, and something known as “fold cheese” — don’t ask — while her “Strangers with Candy” alter ego Jerri Blank starts out her segment by telling Fred from Portland, Maine, that he’s a crybaby and a pussy for whining about his unspecial birthday. Whether they’re writing in anonymously or with their full name, none of the people submitting questions for this venture are spared from the scathing pen of whoever happens to answer them. Stand-up comedian Louis C.K., admittedly having a bad day during his writing session, is especially vengeful, taking the opportunity to let Rebekkah from San Francisco know that she has a stupid name, he hates her and nobody cares what she thinks, before segueing into an extended brag about the size of his penis.
Editors Mike Sacks and Eric Spitznagel pick out the cream of the crop in this follow-up to the first in the series, the 2010 compendium You’re a Horrible Person, but I Like You, which Spitznagel also edited. A pair of indignant introductions by Judd Apatow and Patton Oswalt sets the stage for plenty of snide, silly, and often strange, commentary from a new lineup of contributors. Zach Galifianakis is among the few names returning from the original, and the change in direction is highly beneficial. While You’re a Horrible Person… almost exclusively dealt with those in the comedy world, folks from all walks of life have the chance to tickle our funny bones. People involved with Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show are guaranteed to be hilarious, but who would’ve thought actress Rose McGowan or frontman A.C. Newman of the New Pornographers — featured in a section devoted to “Miscellaneous Canadian Rock Musicians” —would be right on par with Fred Willard, Lisa Lampanelli or Bob Saget?
Care to Make Love in That Gross Little Space Between Cars? shares its title with the fictitious book recommended by writer George Saunders to a New Yorker wanting to impress his fellow subway commuters with his choice of reading materials, but rest assured it’s one of a kind. If you think you can get along without knowing Nick Hornby’s choice for the best song for lovemaking, obviously you haven’t read it yet.
Rating: 3 out of 4 stars