Wanna bet? A degenerate gambler's guide to living on the edge

Artie Lange, 1967-

Book - 2018

Lange is an artist haunted by his fair share of demons. After a suicide attempt, a two-year struggle with depression, and years of chronic opiate addiction, he entered recovery. Now, Lange explains the philosophy that has kept his existence boredom-free since the age of 13: the love of risk. An avid sports better and frequent card player, Lange believes that the true gambler gets high not from winning, but from the chaotic unknown of betting itself, and looks back at the times he's wagered the intangible and priceless things in life: his health, his career, and his relationships. -- adapted from info provided

Saved in:
New York : St. Martin's Press 2018.
Main Author
Artie Lange, 1967- (author)
Other Authors
Anthony Bozza (author)
First edition
Physical Description
viii, 242 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 22 cm
  • Introduction: Place Your Bets
  • 1. The Pot-Smoking Laugh
  • 2. Long Shot
  • 3. Sliding Doors, Part 1
  • 4. Sliding Doors, Part 2
  • 5. The Bad Cop
  • 6. Injun Giver
  • 7. My Two Uncles
  • 8. Keef for President
  • 9. Digging a Hole
  • 10. Off-Campus Betting
  • 11. Dirty Work
  • 12. The Sports Hall of Shame
  • 13. Now Everything's Happened
  • 14. Hollywood Wigs, Valley Head
  • 15. Where Heroes Dare
  • 16. Some Risks Are Too Great
  • 17. If You Hit, You Play
  • Conclusion: Is It Blood or Hawaiian Punch?
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Comedian and actor Lange returns with his third memoir (after Crash and Burn), a collection of tales from his drug- and sex-fueled life. The stories are linked by Lange's belief that "risk and thrill" are the driving forces to his creativity, so he decided "to pinpoint a handful of the biggest risks" that have defined his life. Some of his tales will be familiar to his fans, such as how he quit a job as a longshoreman in Newark to take a stab at a career in comedy. Newer stories detail the numerous sexual relationships he had during the height of his success as part of the Howard Stern show from 2001 to 2008, and the many ways he's managed to win and lose thousands of dollars gambling, as part of his being "addicted to thrills and allergic to boredom." But while his constant need for "action" can become repetitive, the heart of the book is how stand-up comedy, for him, is "the ultimate risk" (he rails against "spineless" younger comics who "work out a safe set of material that does not offend"). Lange's entertaining book makes it clear that, no matter how wild and risky his lifestyle may be, he takes comedy more seriously than anything else. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A third volume of memoir from the street-wise, no-filter comedian, assisted again by Bozza.By his own admission, Lange (Crash and Burn, 2013, etc.) is a self-destructive overachiever, two qualities that wouldn't seem to go together but for him are flip sides of the same coin. "I get the same jolt of adrenaline when I lose as I do when I win," he insists. "That's because when I lose, I lose big. My losses are like a huge ship passing by, trailing a wake of chaos, and there I am, having the time of my life, just an asshole on a Jet Ski catching air off the backwash." He took a big risk when he left steady work for show business, a field where he'd shown no aptitude, and he reaped big rewards for it. Lange writes that he was by no means the funniest guy in his high school and that he was awkward at stand-up, but he eventually found himself in a high-profile position as a radio accomplice to Howard Stern, which opened doors to all sorts of opportunities. These included plenty of sex with strippers and porn stars, who wanted to hear their names on the show (and their websites promoted), which helped torpedo his relationship with his girlfriend (which was also a running part of the show). The author now dismisses Stern's show as "the perfect example of how political correctness has ruined comedy. His show is so unbelievably safe, boring and just bad." Some of the episodes that highlighted Lange's previous books are revisited here, but his extracurricular misadventures with the HBO series Crashing shows that he isn't mellowing with older age. "My life is basically a misconceived Hollywood film," he writes. "It's not as bad as Lost and Found [the movie he considers his worst]; it's a different kind of bad. It's the kind of movie that should end but keeps going."These books will keep going as well, as long as there's a market for them. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.