Joey Diaz’s memoir ‘Tremendous’ is one of the best books I’ve read in the last five years. I couldn’t put it down. It reminds me of one of my all time favorite memoirs, ‘Growing up’ by Russell Baker, the famed Washington reporter in that he told you so much about his life as a kid and becoming a man and his mother and his family that he didn’t even have to spend a lot of time telling you about his life as a journalist, because it was all baked into the story of who he was before he became a great columnist that when he did get into his career it all made so much sense. It was just almost a postscript.
Joey’s book is so rich, and so funny and so real. So dead on in it’s ability to take you back on the journey with him. In my opinion there isn’t a wasted word or paragraph. In fact this should be a movie. Someone smart should turn this into a great film in the vein of Chaz Palminteri’s great film and play ‘A Bronx Tale’. The way he talks about his mother, her energy, her work, her death, his family, his buddies. It’s heartbreaking and hilarious in the same moments like the best of this kind of work is. Joey has really done something special here. He’s distilled all his work life into a perfect pitch.
Born in Cuba, growing up in New Jersey, having lost his dad at three, under the wing of his bigger than life mother who ran a bar and a numbers outfit, Joey was a well written character from jump street. He was born bigger than life, and the beauty of his life, other than the fact that he survived it all and remembers enough of it all to turn it into stories and comedy, is that his heart remained so open and so big. His love for his world and his work and his friends and the things that turn him on and make him smile are so evident in the tales he tells that you can’t help but be entertained. That’s what this book is. It’s just entertaining as hell. It’s also damn inspiring.
I urge you to get this book.
Everything about it is readable as can be. From his drug use, to his horrible divorce. The horrendous point he comes to sleeping in a park outside in a rusted out rocket ship jungle gym is an amazing piece. He and his co-writer Erica Florentine just grab you here and make you go numb with the cold just as much as he does as you read the words. His prison term, his time in Seattle breaking into comedy, one chapter after the next, it never stops, the ride he’s gone is on is so grand. It’s theatrical in it’s consistency. He’s just been his own worst enemy yet at the same time he’s lived by his own rules and code that he’s carved out the space and voice he’s developed that’s all his own. You read it, (or listen to the audiobook, which I did both) you realize that he’s a great man. His mom is proud. His friends are proud. He’s unique as hell. He’s a beast. A legend.
JOEY THE COMEDIAN
It’s a given that Joey’s a great comic. One of the best in the business. Hands down. When I came back to the Comedy Store to make the documentary and I was first introduced to Joe Rogan, I told him I didn’t know a lot about the new group that was around at that time other than Bill Burr. I in fact had never even seen Joe work. I knew none of them. I had been gone from stand-up for years. Rogan didn’t miss a beat. Not a nano-second.
‘Joey Diaz. You got to see Joey Diaz. He’s the first on your list. He’s a killer. The best comic here at the Store.’
Rogan was so sure I didn’t waste anytime. Joey was scheduled the next night. My son Burt and I went back up and saw his set. I laughed my ass off. I hadn’t seen anything that raw and that alive, so real and authentic in years. We immediately set about doing whatever we could to get him into the doc.
Here’s a couple short little pops of Joey from the doc.
JOEY IN THE COMEDY STORE DOC PT. 1
JOEY IN THE COMEDY STORE DOC PT 2
WHERE I GOT MY BALLS FROM
This is a little doc that Joey made with Feliz Esparza his buddy. I think after you read/ listen to the book you should go back and watch this thing. It’s a bonus ride to see the neighborhood and a lot of the people he talks about interviewed. It’s a lot of fun. AFTER YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH THE BOOK.
THE MIND OF JOEY DIAZ – JOEY’S PATREON
Also, if you want to really get some great Joey stuff, I’ve been signed up to his patreon for a couple years and it’s never not been great. I love his podcast Uncle Joey’s Joint but this is next level. Some really funny stuff you don’t get unless you’re a member.
CLICK HERE FOR THE MIND OF JOEY DIAZ PATREON
Alright. Get the book. Print or Amazon.
Also, if you’re in LA. this weekend, my son’s movie won the LA Film festival best independent film. 830 pm at the Regal Cinema downtown at LA Live the LA Premiere. Get a ticket and come down.