Posehn, Brian-Forever Nerdy (Book Review)

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Author: Brian Posehn
Title: Forever Nerdy
Publisher: DeCapo Press
Year: 2018
Reviewed: Dec 2018
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer:  JP

I’m not sure I’m the best person to be reviewing this book. As I pointed out in my review of the HEAVY TRIP movie a couple of months ago I’m not a comedy guy.  So why would I review a book about a comedian I know very little about?  The answer is that Brian Posehn runs with the Metal pack and hangs out on the fringes of Metal culture so I thought this would be worth checking out. I heard his 2006 album LIVE IN:NERD RAGE and it wasn’t to my tastes so I just never followed him, but he was on my radar as a guy who is aware of the existence of Metal, unlike so many others. So when his book came out I thought I’d give it a try.

FOREVER NERDY is your standard autobiography, about 275 pages long with some black and white pictures on glossy plates in the middle and a handful of celebrity endorsements. It was a quick and easy read logical and well thought out.

Posehn, like most writers relies heavily on nostalgia and the book is front-loaded with all the stories of his youth and very little detail or information about his later life.  Posehn is a huge pop culture icon and prides himself on being a nerd, hence the title.  I went and read his entry on Wikipedia and he has done a ton of stuff, movies, comics, video games, TV shows, stand-up comedy and more.   His style is typically American, loud, brash, a bit mean spirited, lots of profanity and fart jokes with a big side-helping of self-denigrating humour. He runs through his life chronologically (how else would you do it?) and adds extended segments on his passions and hobbies.  My issue with many comedians is that you can never tell if they are telling the truth, lying or exaggerating for comedic effect.  For examples he often talks about being a bed-wetter and premature ejaculator, but are these stories for the gag or is he being really sincere and honest with his fans?  I can’t really tell. Should I laugh? Should I feel sorry for the guy? Should I even care?  It’s hard to tell!

Posehn really emphasizes the ‘Look at me I’m a big nerd!’ narrative and he often acts as if he is the only one on the planet who appreciates certain aspects of pop culture. He sort of tries to position himself as something unique, which is fine but in reality there are hundreds of thousands, maybe even a million, middle-aged white dudes in North America who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s who love Star Wars, Spider-Man, D&D, video games and Kiss.  His passions are not all that unique, or nerdy for that matter, but he has taken that angle and run with it achieving considerable success. Posehn avoids contentious issues but does indulge in a bit of political commentary in the last pages…it is his book so why the hell not?  He fires a few volleys at a politician he doesn’t like and admits he might have just alienated half his audience, but by and large he doesn’t say anything shocking or controversial.

In terms of appreciation of his book for this site, there is quite a bit of Metal content.  He talks about about liking Kiss and AC/DC and meeting Anthrax and there are a couple of chapters about growing up in California and listening to all sorts of bands, seeing Y&T, Van Halen and so on.  He champions some underground bands and talk with excitement about the stuff he loves but no different than any other 80’s teenager in California who grew up watching Motley Crue and Ratt on MTV.

I came away feeling underwhelmed but also recognizing that this guy has really resonated with a legion of fans. So if you are a Posehn fan, get this book, right away.  You will love it!  If Star Wars rants are your thing, you will be laughing shaking your head in vigorous approval (or maybe disapproval).   I’m neutral on this one hence the boring and average rating of 2.5.  Adjust your rating accordingly…Posehn fans crank it up to 5 out of 5, and the curious but die hard Metal elitists can probably pass.