It is no secret that I have been a fan of yours for years, I watched Doggie Howser as a kid and was overjoyed to find you back on television as Barney Stinson in HIMYM. I even blogged about you way back in the day when this website was still in its infancy, you can read about it here and if I must* say it was hilarious. It also should be noted that my husband also loves you which is notable because the list of people he likes is very very short. In the very beginning of our relationship (like the first weekend we moved in together) he left me for a long weekend in NYC where he went to watch you perform in Assassins, not only did he see you perform but he stood out back afterwards and waited for you to get your autograph (which I’m pretty sure he lost later that night in a drunken stupor in the hotel bar of the W). He came home from that trip raving about how crazy talented you are and how very down to earth you seemed to be, he and was super impressed that when the rest of the cast hurried off after the show you stayed to talk to everyone gathered at the back door, and when it was finally time to go you apologized for not being able to stay longer, unlocked your bike from a nearby lamppost and rode off.
Needless to say you are a family favorite, the 3 of us currently watch you terrorize the Baudelaire’s in the Netflix adaptation of a Series of Unfortunate events (you make an excellent Count Olaf).
Anyway, Neil I’m not here to talk about your acting career (awesome as it might be) but your recent foray into writing. My husband and daughter have both read (and enjoyed) the Magical Misfits and I just finished your Choose Your Own Autobiography. Based on these two items I think that you are a fairly talented writer (if you knew me you would understand that that is high praise). I was really looking forward to reading this book knowing that it would most likely be as honest and down to earth as my husband believes you to be (also he bought it and asked me to read it first to see if it was something he would want to read – he does this a lot so that particular request was not entirely about you (I said’yes’ btw)). What I really want to say to you, Neil, is that I enjoyed your autobiography however the whole gimmicky ‘choose your own adventure’ aspect was entirely unnecessary. I know you probably chose to do this to make your book stand out and to insert some ridiculousness in it, but you didn’t need to. It would have stood well on its own, for me the whole choosing aspect really took away from your story. At first I tried to follow along, choosing the path that I thought actually portrayed your journey, but I gave up after I realized that the chronology was all off and I was missing what was happening. I ended up reading the book straight cover to cover which worked out okay but made some things confusing. For instance I was able to pick out the sections that were thrown in for simple hilarity but I was also wrong a few times, like the chapter on hanging out at Elton John’s house I thought for sure was pure fiction until I realized it wasn’t – also OMG NPH you get to hang out at Elton John’s house! How cool and jealousy-provoking is that tidbit of information?
So, Neil (can I call you Neil?) knowing how much celebrities and writers in general love unsolicited criticism advice I just wanted to say that next time you write an autobiography (and there will be a next time) please don’t feel the need to embellish it in any way, you don’t need to. Oh and also, since you were asking – I’d probably not use the word meta as an adjective.
I just finished your book Are you there Vodka, its me Chelsea and I wanted to write and tell you that you are fucking hilarious. I have a very good friend that has been telling me this for some time – obviously I should be listening to him more, but sometimes trying new things is so hard.
I picked up your book at a library sale so I only paid $1.00 for it but I want you to know now that I’ve actually read it I would have paid FULL price. I also managed to score Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me and I can’t wait to read it but I cannot read two books of essays back to back, I have to break it up with a novel or something non-fiction, I would like to delve right in to this but there are rules Chelsea.
Anyway, I really wanted you to know that I loved your book and as someone who is really only good at drinking and being sarcastic I can absolutely relate to you, I was also hoping you could mentor me. Do you have some kind of mentoring program? I would gladly fill out some sort of application and even submit to a background check, you can interview my friends and they will totally agree with the drinking and the sarcasm as being my two best qualities.
So, yes I might be years and years late to your party but I want you to know that I am here now – I’m even going use the google to find you on the TV.
*For my ‘regular’ readers this whole open letter thing seems to becoming a thing – just go with it and please read Chelsea Handler (apparently she’s written a whole slew of books).
Long time reader, first time correspondent. I have read many of your books – five in fact, which is a lot when you think about how many authors and books there are out there. I know for sure I’ve read at least five of Ernest Hemmingway’s books, but you know he’s Hemmingway.
I really wanted to reach out to you and tell you that the last book I read Let’s Explore Owl’s with Diabetes was really great, I enjoyed hearing about your 50th birthday and your colonoscopy, your Parisian dentist and your randomly close relationship with a telecommuting sales rep. But I must be honest with you and your essay about the turtles – WTF David (May I call you David?) that is some fucked up shit. And I get it, I do, we all do some crazy stuff when we are kids. Once I…well, I certainly didn’t starve five loggerhead turtles in an aquarium in my bedroom. Or maybe I did, but you know what? I wouldn’t write about it. I mean, maybe I starved dozens of endangered sea creatures in a large open air pit in my back yard, but good god no one will ever know. This is the kind of stuff you only talk about after one too many glasses of wine to the wife of one of your husband’s coworkers that you barely know and then wake up the next morning with a tightness in your chest and realize that you can never go to one of his work parties again.
This is just some friendly advise for your future books – I love you and I honestly hope someone somewhere sometimes utters the phrase, “Have you Read Becca’s book – she’s like a female David Sedaris.”
But I didn’t open up this new email window to compare you to Hemmingway, I wanted to say – David, WTF with the turtles?
I just finished your second book Why Not Me and I wanted to write and tell you how much I admire you as a creative person. Since I’m not really sure how to send “fan mail” to anyone anymore (the last time I wrote to someone famous it was to Kirk Cameron when he was on Growing Pains and I wanted him to know how much I loved him – but not in a stalker way, in a very serious way wherein I was sure we had a bright future together). Anyway, I digress. And since I wasn’t sure where to send it I thought I would just post it here and tweet about it until you were bored enough to click on my link.
To be honest, I haven’t watched the Mindy Project since you left Fox – not that I didn’t love your show and would totally still watch it except that I’m not entirely sure what Hulu is or how to access it – I know that makes me sound old and lame and maybe I am – but I’m young enough to be PRE-pre-menopausal and I do know how to use the Twitter! Anyway, I thought you were great both on and off the office, in the Mindy project and I even saw that episode that you did of Yo Gabba Gabba (Yo Gabba Gabba is cutting edge – yo).
I read your first book which saved me once on a red eye flight across the country – I somehow found myself going through security at the Philadelphia Airport without a book in my possession (if you knew me you’d know this was unheard of) I quickly raced to Hudson News and there you were front and center a huge stack of your books sitting in a kiosk out in the hallway – I grabbed one and ran (just kidding, I totally paid for it first). I had it read before we touched down in San Diego, so thanks for that.
I’m so glad that I’m writing to you (this is where I get all self-congratulatory for a minute) I always think about doing these things but I don’t. For instance before I read your book I finished Barbara Kingsolver’s latest book – man she can write and I thought about telling her that and then I thought ‘meh, she probably already knows she’s great. She’s probably having tea right now with Margaret Atwood and they are complaining about dusting all of their writing awards…’ I don’t know, somehow I don’t feel old enough to write to Barbara Kingsolver – also I’m pretty sure she isn’t on Twitter and I know for a fact that you are – cause you said so – in your book – like at least eight times.
Anywho, I just wanted to say kudos to you and the work that you are doing – keep it up. And thanks for the tip about never being photographed with my arms down – I hate my arms and they look a lot less fat when I have my hand on my hip – I don’t care if you learned that from Kim Kardashian (I only have a vague sense of who she is) I credit it to you.