Rob Delaney, as seen on Twitter | Comedy Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Rob Delaney, as seen on Twitter

Delaney has made a name for himself with 140-character comedy. And now he has a book full of paragraphs.


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In the introduction to his debut book, Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage., the stand-up comic addresses the considerable recognition he's gained since joining Twitter in 2009, which far exceeds the recognition he had, till that point, gained from his onstage act. Regularly referred to as a "Twitter comedian," Delaney has mostly viewed the platform as a way to exercise his wit by chucking out as many jokes as possible—and who cares if they get ripped off? He writes, "My silent motto when people started stealing my jokes on Twitter was, 'Go ahead and take 'em, motherfucker. Here come five more.'"

So if you don't know about Delaney's history with alcoholism and depression, his time living in a halfway house, or the painstaking process he underwent learning how to masturbate with a cast on, brace yourself. The best parts of Mother. Wife. Sister. are the heaviest. There are plenty of stories about his childhood and late teens—including his mom's ignorance of how to depict Danzig on a birthday cake—and they're peculiar and charming. But Delaney is at his most captivating when he goes into unflinching detail about his taste for booze, which led to the blackout bourbon-vodka cocktails he was drinking the night he rammed his car into a building owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. That catastrophic accident, its causes and effects woven throughout the book's chapters, acts here as a linchpin, revealing Delaney as a much more thoughtful and crafty storyteller than he gets credit for via his brand of Twitter comedy. But given that the book happened because of Twitter—publisher Julie Grau simply tweeted at Delaney and said, "Would you please write me a book?," and he agreed—the pages of tweets that bookend each chapter are just as crucial a part of Delaney's story as his many growing pains.

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