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Publisher's Summary

The behind-the-scenes story of the iconic funnymen who ruled '80s Hollywood - Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Eddie Murphy - and the beloved films that made them stars, including Animal House, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters 

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NEW YORK

“An enjoyable romp that vividly captures the manic ups and downs of the remarkable group of funny folk who gave us a golden age of small and big screen comedy, from SNL to Groundhog Day.” (Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls) 

Wild and Crazy Guys opens in 1978 with Chevy Chase and Bill Murray taking bad-tempered swings at each other backstage at Saturday Night Live, and closes 21 years later with the two doing a skit in the same venue, poking fun at each other, their illustrious careers, triumphs and prat falls. In between, Nick de Semlyen takes us on a trip through the tumultuous '80s, delving behind the scenes of movies such as National Lampoon's Vacation, Beverly Hills Cop, The Blues Brothers, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and dozens more. Chronicling the off-screen, larger-than-life antics of Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, John Belushi, John Candy, and Rick Moranis, it's got drugs, sex, punch-ups, webbed toes, and Bill Murray being pushed into a swimming pool by Hunter S. Thompson while tied to a lawn chair. What's not to like? 

Based on candid interviews from many of the stars themselves, as well as those in their immediate orbit, including directors John Landis, Carl Reiner, and Amy Heckerling, Wild and Crazy Guys is a fantastic insider account of the friendships, feuds, triumphs, and disasters experienced by these beloved comedians. Hilarious and revealing, it is both a hidden history of the most fertile period ever for screen comedy and a celebration of some of the most popular films of all time.  

Praise for Wild and Crazy Guys

“Eminently readable . . . Children of the 1980s, take note: this is a fond, engrossing look back at the making of movies that became cultural touchstones.” (Booklist, starred review) 

“Nick de Semlyen smartly charts the pinballing career paths of the stars of this new comic wave. . . . His punchy, nonstop narrative . . . tells a [story] where art and commerce smash hard against each other, sometimes causing destruction, but sometimes making sparks fly.” (The Sunday Times (UK)) 

©2019 Nick de Semlyen (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“An enjoyable romp that vividly captures the manic ups and downs of the remarkable group of funny folk who gave us a golden age of small and big screen comedy, from SNL to Groundhog Day.” (Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

“Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy - they’re all here like you’ve never seen them before (with no shortage of drugs, competitiveness, and egos). Fast-paced and addictive, Wild and Crazy Guys is the Easy Riders, Raging Bulls of the wild and crazy ‘80s Hollywood comedy scene.” (Chris Nashawaty, author of Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story

“It's amazing that anybody survived making comedies in the impulsive, excessive, drug-fueled, rage-filled period in the decade following the explosive arrival of Saturday Night Live. And some didn't. But, aided by the sharp recollections of those who did, Nick de Semlyen gives that more-is-more period of comedy what it desperately needs: Clarity and perspective. Wild and Crazy Guys maps the era and its swaggering players beautifully.” (Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back

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What listeners say about Wild and Crazy Guys

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Wild and Crazy Listen!

Really enjoyed Curtis Armstrong as the narrator and the behind the scenes insight of some of the best movies I have seen! A great listen!

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  • Kevin Hansen
  • 2019-10-27

Delivers what you’d expect

It’s exactly what you’d hope for - a behind-the-scenes look at the best comedians of the 70s and 80s👍

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  • jonathan paton
  • 2019-06-18

More Curtis Armstrong

This is a great book. I love how it goes by film. I grew up in the 80s and this book really lifts the curtain on what happened behind the scenes to make or break these movies. But the thing I like the best is the narrator. Having heard him do this book, I would pretty much listen to any book that Curtis Armstrong reads from now on. Being funny in his own right, he brings a lot to this book, but I think he would be great in any book, especially if it had a little bit of humor. He would be great in any Carl Hiaasen novel, for example. I hope he does more books.

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  • VB
  • 2020-09-24

sad that this book had to end

I loved listening to this, from the moment I heard Curtis' voice as narrator (apt choice) to the very end, which made me cry. I won't give it away. If you're a fan of even one of these guys, it's worth a listen. My ONLY criticism of the author is that Gilda Radner and other supreme (female) comediennes were not included. Perhaps there's a second book coming out about them.

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  • MLT
  • 2020-06-23

Early Saturday Night Live Performers' Lives

Just as the title says, this story is about the wild and crazy guys of the early Saturday Night Live days. Each person had a different approach to his career, but several of them were leading really fast lives. Hearing about the things that almost happened was just as interesting as hearing about the things that DID happen. If you lived through the era when John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, John Candy, and Rick Moranis were big, you'll likely enjoy this story. I was in high school and college during their hey days and found their humor to be hilarious... their lives were NOT so hilarious, apparently, but much of that had to do with living in the fast lane. Anyway, it's really interesting and the type of audio book I'll listen to again, for sure. The narrator is TERRIFIC - his delivery of the material adds A LOT to it!

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  • Chris
  • 2020-06-19

Love!

This book opens the door to background, relationships and behind the scenes goings on with the top personalities and comedies of the 70’s & 80’s. The book is fantastic and will inspire you to rewatch the great films discussed. Loved it!

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  • Paul French
  • 2020-02-16

A History of the Movies you Love!

A great look at the story behind all of those great movies you grew up with. Everything from The Blues Brothers to Groundhog Day and many many more.

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  • jwj
  • 2020-02-12

What an amazing listen

Simply outstanding in every way. If you watched those movies, this book is really phenomenal.

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  • Faith
  • 2020-01-07

Great listen

As a guy in his 40’s, this book was tailor made for me. Great background on a variety of comedy legends, with tidbits I’d never heard regarding classic 80’s and 90’s movies. Curtis “Booger” Armstrong did a solid job with narration, and enunciated every syllable when near perfection. Highly recommended as a fun listen.

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  • JacoRock
  • 2019-10-07

Great! Good collection of film stories

Booger does a wonderful job delivering these anecdotes. Great stories about John Candy, Harold Ramis, John Landis, and Rick Moranis in addition to the usual suspects. If you like 80s comedy, this is a great one.

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  • Vicki Schilleman
  • 2019-10-04

Outstanding!

I'm probably biased, having lived during the period when all of these movies were released, but I absolutely loved listening to the back-stories and reliving the time (even the bad times). Wonderful narration.