Cover image for Way to go, Smith!
Way to go, Smith!
Smith, Bob, 1958-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Rob Weisbach Books, William Morrow & Co., 1999.
Physical Description:
284 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ76 .S58 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
HQ76 .S58 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Buffalo Collection Non-Circ

On Order



In his award-winning first book, Bob Smith offered up a witty dose of nineties reality with his observations as a happily adjusted gay man. Now, after breaking up with his longtime boyfriend, Tom, Smith takes us back to his painfully normal childhood to see where all the trouble really began. In these hysterical pages, Smith introduces readers to his comically unsympathetic grandmother, who makes light of his carsickness ("Bob only throws up because he's near the window and he can"); his first teacher crush, whose "five-o'clock shadow could plunge a room into darkness"; and his first brush with fame, when he fainted from his chair during a health filmstrip. Moving, ironic, and tinged with recognition, this acerbic collection offers bittersweet, nostalgic fun from a highly original and talented comic author.

Author Notes

Bob Smith was born in Buffalo, New York on December 24, 1958. He was a comedian and writer. He was the first openly gay male comedian to star in his own special on HBO, which aired in 1994, and to perform on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He also appeared on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher and MTV's Wisecrack.

He wrote several collections of essays including Openly Bob, which won the LAMBDA Book Award for humor; Way to Go, Smith; and Treehab: Tales from My Natural Wild Life. He also wrote novels including Selfish and Perverse and Remembrance of Things I Forgot. As a television writer, he wrote for The MTV Video Music Awards, Dennis Miller, Roseanne, and MADtv. He died from complications of ALS on January 20, 2018 at the age of 59.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Smith's Openly Bob (1997) had plenty of ironic humor, and, indeed, Smith is best known as a comedian. This book is less a collection of stand-up routines than reflections on the ephemera of relationships in which Smith analyzes the disintegration of his 10-year marriage to sometime actor Tom. Adopting the literary device of phone conversations with his widowed mother, Smith first delves into her personality and attitudes about his gayness and, thereafter, into his recollections of childhood with her and his alcoholic father. Tom moves out as Mom calls more often to check on her son and later to caution him against dating just anyone. Smith soon realizes he has a new best girlfriend in his mother, which evokes the reader's ironic smile, a frequent response to the muted sadness that seems to permeate Smith's account from the opening pages. There is some zany humor here, but the chuckles expended on them are haunted by a wispy ghost of regrets for relationship potentials unrealized. --Whitney Scott

Publisher's Weekly Review

This second installment in gay comedian Bob Smith's autobiography (Openly Bob was published in 1997) features the occasional laugh-out-loud line and twinge of insight, but for the most part reads like a series of stand-up routines that never made it to the stage. While focusing on the minutiae of Smith's growing up, his quirky family, his coming out and his falling in love with a wonderful man named Tom, Smith's first book sustained a sprightly, entertaining tone. Here Tom and Bob have just broken up. Although Smith's humor is, as usual, tinged with rue (when his mother asks if Tom left him for another man, he notes, "Boy, did that piss me off. My mother still didn't think that I was capable of ruining a ten-year relationship all by myself"), the material is not very compelling. Smith is best when detailing small emotional moments: his descriptions of bonding with his widowed mother over being single have a resonance missing from the rest of the book. All too often, he relies on the old one-two style of comic timing, which works on the stage but feels weak on the page ("When my grandmother made sandwiches, she always buttered the bread first, which explained why she was always on a diet"). In relating his attempts at dating, his memories of his first crushes and how he finally met someone he likes, Smith captures some telling moments in the process of reclaiming one's sexual self after the loss of a relationship, but for the most part does not re-create the zest or emotional warmth of his first book. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Wolf Whistling in the Darkp. 1
Is He Wearing Hai Karate?p. 60
Way to Go, Smith!p. 89
To Grandmother's House We Gop. 106
My Pen Palp. 133
Our Fathersp. 164
I'm Just a Love Machinep. 196
War and Piece of Assp. 238
Acknowledgmentsp. 285