It Never EndsTom Scharpling
Tom Scharpling is good at being funny, which is a miracle, considering what he's survived. Like hitting a deer and narrowly escaping with his life on the night of the 2016 election. But that's nothing compared to the struggles he had earlier in his life. It Never Ends is his memoir of a life writing comedy amidst a lifelong struggle with mental illness, a story he has never told before. It's the heartbreaking account of his intense coming-of-age, and the lengths he's undertaken to pull away from the brink of self-destruction. Scharpling brought himself back to life first with punk zines and NBA coverage, then through the world of comedy, writing and executive producing Monk, and creating one of the most beloved, longest running comedy radio broadcasts/podcasts, The Best Show. Of course, there are also the tangents into auditioning for The New Monkees, why Billy Joel sucks, the siren call of the Sex and the City slot machines, and how he made a fool of himself in an elevator with Patti Smith. Tom is the quintessential underdog, and he wears that status on his sleeve as a badge of honor. With this memoir, he lifts the curtain to let the light in on the turmoil that still follows him, even as he racks up accolades and achievements. But most importantly, he reminds us that while many of us carry trauma and shame, we are not alone. It Never Ends is about rising above whatever circumstance you find yourself in and getting the most out of your life, while steamrolling the chumps along the way.
Library Shop Staff review:
Tom Scharpling is probably one of the funniest people around you've never heard of. My initial introduction to Tom was as a guest on an appropriately niche comedy podcast called ‘Hollywood Handbook’. His acerbic wit and hilarious improv skills mixed with a huge dose of self-deprecation meant that any episode he appeared on was an instant download for me. So when I heard he had written a memoir, it was an instant purchase.
It doesn’t disappoint either, it’s extremely funny and his prose is fantastic. What was surprising for me though, was how moving it was. His challenges with mental health, as a youth in particular, are tragically fascinating. I won’t go into detail because I’d rather not spoil it for the reader, but given the subject matter you’d be mistaken in thinking it is a depressing read. Far from it! Looking back and analysing this particular time in his life is sad but his outlook on life, in hindsight of his 53 years, mixed with his particular humor, never lets the book descend into maudlin territory.
Anyone who has dealt with mental health challenges, particularly as a teen/young adult, and knows the knock on effect in can have on a life, will likely find something to relate to here.