Read You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman by Mike Thomas Online


Beloved TV comedic actor Phil Hartman is best known for his eight brilliant seasons on Saturday Night Live, where his versatility and comedic timing resulted in some of the funniest and most famous sketches in the television show's history. Besides his hilarious impersonations of Phil Donahue, Frank Sinatra and Bill Clinton, Hartman's other indelible characters included CiBeloved TV comedic actor Phil Hartman is best known for his eight brilliant seasons on Saturday Night Live, where his versatility and comedic timing resulted in some of the funniest and most famous sketches in the television show's history. Besides his hilarious impersonations of Phil Donahue, Frank Sinatra and Bill Clinton, Hartman's other indelible characters included Cirroc the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, Eugene the Anal Retentive Chef and, of course, Frankenstein. He also starred as pompous radio broadcaster Bill McNeal in the NBC sitcom NewsRadio and voiced numerous classic roles -- most memorably washed-up actor and commercial pitchman Troy McClure -- on Fox's long-running animated hit The Simpsons.But Hartman's seemingly charmed life was cut tragically short when he was fatally shot by his troubled third wife, Brynn, who turned a gun on herself several hours later. The shocking and headline-generating turn of events stunned those closest to the couple as well as countless fans who knew Phil only from afar. Now, for the first time ever, the years and moments leading up to his untimely end are described in illuminating detail through information gleaned from exclusive interviews with scores of famous cast mates, close friends and family members as well as private letters, audio/video recordings, extensive police records, and more.Both joyous tribute and serious biography, Mike Thomas' You Might Remember Me is a celebration of Phil Hartman's multi-faceted career and an exhaustively reported, warts-and-all examination of his often intriguing and sometimes complicated life--a powerful, humor-filled and disquieting portrait of a man who was loved by many, admired by millions and taken from them far too early....

Title : You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781250027962
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman Reviews

  • Lee Anne
    2019-05-18 05:58

    2 1/2 stars, really.A perfect example of "good research doesn't make a good book." It's clear author Mike Thomas read some books and magazine articles and conducted some interviews. But he is completely unable to take that information and use it to breathe life into his subjects. Admittedly, Phil Hartman had a bit of that cliched comedian personality, where he was only himself when he was being someone else, a bit of a cipher and hard to reach offstage, but Thomas' writing abilities render him unable to make Hartman a real character in his own story. This book reads like reportage, and rather dull and off-target at that: "...he spent high five to low six figures on a French-made TB200 Tobago XL GT by Socata. With its white top, gray bottom, and dark-orange body stripes, the handsome single-prop model--tail number N3057D--had a 200-horsepower Lycoming 10-360AIB6 piston engine, fixed tricycle landing gear, and room for four in its spacious cabin." Zzzzzzzzzzz. Unless you're an airplane geek, who cares? Why not just say, "Phil bought a single-engine airplane, which he used to fly to Catalina Island?" As for the off-target, later, after Hartman's death, there is a chapter that is divided out with the reminiscences of people's reactions to the news. His brothers? Sure; they were close. Celebrity friends? Definitely; one doesn't read a celebrity biography unless one likes celebrities. But call me callous, I'm not really interested in a long story about his NIECE driving to Arizona and having to pull over and freak out. Of course she was upset, as I'm sure ALL of his family was. But I don't need to hear the reactions of every cousin and ex-sister-in-law, especially when they have not figured prominently in the narrative up to this point. Thomas does an equally poor job of characterizing Brynn Hartman. Some people liked her, some did not. She barely figures, except for several stories in which Phil comments on the problems in their marriage. Julia Sweeney is the only person who seems to have interacted with them as a couple on multiple occasions and can talk about their relationship from an insider's perspective, and she's Team Brynn, for the most part, which is unsettling at times. Others tell stories of Phil fighting with her, but only what Phil told them second-hand. Where are all the people who could give a more complete picture? Would no one talk on the record? Not until the story of the night of the murder-suicide do any of Brynn's friends come into it. There are too many chapters after the deaths, as well. One chapter summarizing the multiple memorial services and ashes scatterings would have more than sufficed. And what a shabby lack of epilogue! Is Doris, Phil's mother, still alive? And what about the children? I'm all for respecting their privacy, but not even a sentence that says, "Sean, now 25 (or whatever), still lives in Wisconsin and is a blah blah blah. Birgen, now 21, recently graduated from a California college." But there's nothing. I wonder if no one from the family but Phil's seemingly "eccentric" brother cooperated.So overall, a disappointing book on a beloved subject. And why are my negative reviews always so much longer than my positive ones?

  • Andrew Hicks
    2019-05-12 06:09

    For a perfect example of Phil Hartman's genius on "Saturday Night Live," look no further than the 105-second 1989 commercial parody Colon Blow. As the off-screen announcer tells him about the insanely high-fiber cereal, Hartman reacts with several dozen facial expressions, all of them effective, none of them overwrought.Hartman, for my money, was one of the three best cast members in SNL history, a man of a thousand voices and characters. He made mediocre material look good, and he made great material instantly classic. If you watch any sketch from 1986-90 that doesn't have Hartman in it, and the sketch is dying, I can almost guarantee you Hartman will show up at the three-minute mark to save it.It wasn't until I read You Might Remember Me, though, that I realized Hartman felt insecure and underappreciated while at SNL. He longed for a breakout marquee character that could launch a $200 million movie like Wayne's World. He was such a good mimic, he could disappear so deeply into a character, and he had such strong utility skills in the service of any given scene, that his star power was deceptively muted. Viewers felt as if they didn't exactly know Phil. Many of Hartman's friends and family felt the same way, including an ex-wife or two. Hartman was distant and always somewhat in character. There was a mysterious dark side, etc., but he still came off like such a decent guy. In May 1998, at age 49, while sleeping, Hartman was murdered by his third wife, Brynn, who shortly after turned the gun on herself. You Might Remember Me devotes its final act to an extensively recreated play-by-play of the hours surrounding the murder itself. Author Mike Thomas has done extensive legwork to put together a detailed time-frame and a list of possible rationales and words spoken by both parties. The fact remains, though, and it dominates - both participants have been dead for 17 years now. This book's stories can only be told from the outside. The best you'll get from any chapter is detailed speculation.With the last third focusing on Hartman's murder, and the first third devoted to his pretty-normal childhood and pre-acting career (he designed album covers for Poco and Santana, among others), the middle third for me was where the meat was. And, really, the stuff that interested me most was the kind of stuff you hear on DVD audio commentaries. Like, I knew Hartman co-wrote Pee Wee's Big Adventure (one of the few movies I can quote practically from start to finish), but I didn't know Reubens and Hartman had a falling out after Reubens became famous and ditched the entire ensemble that helped him create the character.And, back to Colon Blow, I'd always wondered how the special effects were created for the shot that has Hartman sitting atop two-and-a-half million bowls of cereal. Now I know... actually, I've already forgotten, but for a second, I knew, and it was pretty fascinating stuff.Author Thompson assembles a fairly exhaustive representation of castmates and producers from "The Simpsons," where Hartman did seven seasons of utility guest-cast voice work, and "Newsradio," which was three seasons old at the time of Hartman's death.He was a crackerjack ensemble guy, but Hartman's career adds up to a lot of wandering and a lot of unrealized potential. Toward the end of the book, I started both to empathize with Hartman's frustration, and remember the sadness I felt in realizing his best work would've still been yet to come. I mean, Hartman was the best thing about Small Soldiers, Jingle All the Way and Houseguest, but they were all shitty movies, so what does that really even amount to? Likewise, what does it amount to when you read a dozen interviews with people from a dozen movies and TV shows, all telling you Hartman was great but unknowable? The point of me reading the book is, I wanna know, y'know? There were some sparkling pieces in the puzzle that was Phil Hartman, but so many pieces will always be missing, and You Might Remember Me feels much the same.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-26 04:07

    I wanted to give this biography 5 stars, just because of the subject, but this book was in better need of an editor or proofreader. Obviously extensive research was done, but it still didn't flesh out the essence of Phil Hartman. If I hadn't had previous knowledge of him and his work, I don't think I would have been moved by his story and how he died, just by reading this bio.I believe the author didn't want to attack Brynn Hartman too much, but in doing so, left us with a skeleton of a character - vapid, jealous and vain.This particular paragraph bothered me because it repeats itself: ".....Often he floated at a remote spot called Lover's Cove, at the island's more developed east end, and fed spray cheese to swarms of Calico bass in a protected portion of Avalon Harbor. Just off shores where pirates, Spaniards, and Chumash Indians had dwelled in the 1700's, Phil also liked to moor his boat, kick back and chill out while blasting Neil Young's 1992 album Harvest Moon from the boat's speakers. Or he'd buy a can of spray cheese and feed it to swarms of Calico bass in a protected portion of Avalon Harbor...." I remember thinking, "did I lose my place and read that again by accident?"Also, an epilogue is supposed to tie up all the loose ends and I didn't feel that was achieved. What happened to the Hartman children? A cursory, one sentence update would have been fine, all the while protecting their privacy and not giving out too many personal details. These children are now adults, so it would have put a nice capper on the story. The omission of the status of the children was kind of disturbing - like they simply evaporated after their parents died.The Phil Hartman case is incredibly fascinating and I feel there could have been more "meat" to this narrative.

  • Kenneth
    2019-05-12 02:11

    On the night of May 28, 1998, Phil Hartman’s third wife Brynn pointed a revolver at his head and shot the comedian while he slept; some say despite the violent end, he died with a smile on his face. After hours of boozed-up, coked-up torment, Brynn took a different handgun, lay down beside her dead husband and shot herself, leaving their two children, both under six, orphans. Phil Hartman’s murder feels especially tragic because, unlike the premature deaths of other Saturday Night Live titans like John Belushi and Chris Farley, it was not the result of his own excesses, but rather the deep depression of his troubled wife. He was too funny to be defined by his death, so if you want a complete portrait of Phil Hartman, you can't do better than Mike Thomas’ excellent new biography You Might Remember Me: The Life and Times of Phil Hartman. The book is richly packed with stories from everyone who knew him well, some of which, true to life, are contradictory, but together they create a compelling composite that feels accurate. Hartman was a supremely talented actor whose major flaw in his personal and professional life was passivity; some thought him egoless, others spineless. Good or bad, this trait defined him so thoroughly that it earned him the complimentary nickname “Glue” on SNL - because he was a generous teammate in an industry that is notoriously and viciously competitive, on a show that turned friends against each other as they competed for air time. Thomas' book offers up a rare but welcome story of a celebrity who actually deserved much better than he got.

  • Scott
    2019-05-02 03:03

    Phil Hartman has always been a big part of my pop culture consumption; I watched SNL faithfully while he was on the show, and NewsRadio is one of the best sitcoms of the last two decades. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (which he helped write) is one of my all-time favorite movies. In my opinion, SNL has never recovered since he left it.I also vividly remember where I was when I heard that he died. I was 16 and I was in my high school library. I was in shock and didn't recover for some time. It seemed unimaginable that his wife would kill him.I'm glad that someone finally wrote a book about Phil. I've had this irrational fear in the last few years that he would just slip through the cracks somehow, that people would forget about him. I hope that this book helps bring him back into the public memory. The book is good. It could benefit from more interviews, I think. There were a few distracting typos, too. I appreciated Julia Sweeney's voice in it, though her statements are bound to be controversial. She clearly tries to provide a counter-narrative about Brynn toward all of the clamoring voices who hate Phil's wife (and murderer), Brynn. It was nice to hear another side of the story. However, I think her efforts to rehabilitate Brynn's image go a bit too far in this book.It was nice to hear from Jan Hooks here, just a year or so before she passed on.RIP Phil.

  • Michelle
    2019-05-01 10:11

    "You Might Remember Me.." (Troy McClure: "The Simpsons") this very long awaited biography authored by Mike Thomas, that the fans of the late comic genius Phil Hartman (1948-1998) will appreciate! Thomas portrays this brilliant funny man from a journalistic angle, through research, interview, and quotes of family, friends, colleagues. Thomas noticeably avoids judgment or personal opinion of Hartman's life so overshadowed by his tragic death.From Brantford, Ontario, Canada his faithful Catholic parents moved their large family (eight children) to the US (1957) when Phil was eight, eventually settling in Westchester, Maine. Attention from his hardworking parents was scarce, Phil thrived imitating the famous John Wayne, and LBJ. He was popular, known and loved as a class clown, also "Mr. Personality". Phil loved cars, his father encouraged him to learn the reliable trade of autobody work. After HS graduation in 1966, he enrolled in Santa Monica City College as an art major. Phil was draft eligible, and opposed the War in Vietnam, which he felt was motivated by corporate greed, the propaganda involving the fear of communism seemed irrational and senseless.After achieving much success as a graphic designer (working for his brother at Hartmann and Goodman), he joined the Groundlings acting troupe in 1975, craving the chance to entertain on stage as a social creative outlet. Phil highly charged, costumed, portraying "Lightman" or "Chick Hazzard" (1978), he also enjoyed success achieving small parts in various movies.Phil played a large part in the creation/success of Pee Wee Herman/Playhouse (1985). Insiders (including Howard Stern) were puzzled over Phil's inaction (for reasons unknown) to file a legal suit for damages and loss of rightful income. In 1991 when Ruben was involved in a huge public scandal, Phil distanced, did offer public comment.In (1986-1994) Phil's career took off when he joined SNL, and he continued to appear in several movies. Phil could do the voice impersonating any character, (Frank Sinatra, Ed McMahon, Bill Clinton) his popularity increased to having millions of fans. In 1990 he joined the Fox "Simpsons" doing the voices for many colorful characters. "This prime-time life has made me a multimillionaire, I have a great career going!" Phil said when interviewed. He was starring on the NBC series "NewsRadio" (1995-1999) earning $50,000 per episode. Phil loved acting, more committed to his work then ever, doing multiple projects including one for HBO, he planned to write a screenplay.Phil married his beautiful third wife Brynn Omadahl, ten years his junior, in 1986. By then, Phil had an established pattern of remaining distant, parts of himself closed off and inaccessible, needing time for solitude, perhaps to recharge and maintain his creativity. The fact that Phil eventually lost interest in his wives was telling, unusual, and confirmed, as were the conflicts and public fights with Brynn, which seemed as dramatic as the characters he portrayed. Substance abuse combined with Brynn's fragile emotional state that may have involved mental illness, combined with accessibility to a firearm was lethal and deadly for Phil and Brynn Hartman. Phil will be missed and remembered by thousands of fans. There are pages of excellent photos included.Mike Thomas is an arts and entertainment staff writer for the Chicago Sun-Times, he has interviewed numerous famous celebrities, this is his second book. He lives in Chicago with his wife and family.

  • Matt Lohr
    2019-05-17 09:06

    Mike Thomas's "You Might Remember Me" is a book I wanted to enjoy a lot more than I actually did. Phil Hartman is one of my all-time favorite "Saturday Night Live" cast members; I might put his "The Sinatra Group" in my top ten favorite sketches ever from that show. I am also an enormous fan of "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," which I believe many people probably forget he co-wrote. Thomas's book, which is admittedly snappily written and extremely fast-paced, does touch on all of these works, but it never does quite enough to delve into the real nature of Hartman's creative contributions to these works. It pays a lot of lip service to his comic acting skills, but never says quite enough to make it clear WHY he was a creative comedy giant. Part of this is because the book, for all its obvious affection for and appreciation of its subject matter, never quite transcends the feeling that the only reason for the book's existence is the sad 1998 murder-suicide that took the life of Hartman and his wife Brynn. Virtually the last quarter of the book is devoted to this incident and its aftermath, and though it is indeed a dramatic and tragic ending to his story, it feels like his life deserves to be remembered beyond the simple, sordid reality of the way it ended. (That said, I do give credit to Thomas for not simply excoriating Brynn as a substance abuser and mental case, and being willing to call Hartman on his aloof distance and inattentiveness to her unhappiness, factors which may have led her down her ultimately fatal road.) I would recommend reading "You Might Remember Me" simply because it's likely the only life of Hartman we're ever going to get. But for bios of fallen "SNL" greats, "The Chris Farley Show" is a superior volume.

  • Ben
    2019-05-23 06:06

    For anyone who watched Saturday Night Live or The Simpsons in the early to mid 1990's, it's impossible to hear the name Phil Hartman and not feel a sharp pang of heartbreak for the loss of such a great talent - and a sharp pang of anger for the person who caused that loss.Even though a sense of dread permeates this book, it's a terrific portrait of a creative, proud, ambitious man with a couple fatal flaws - a habit for picking the wrong women, and a selfish streak that unnecessarily antagonized them. Had Phil lived at least another decade, we might not think back on him with such reverence - he had, after all, already missed the train to stardom that many of his fellow SNL mates had caught. But he's gone, so anything to keep his memory alive, like this well-written book, is welcome.

  • David
    2019-05-12 07:15

    I only knew Phil Hartman from the Colon Blow sketch on SNL. I saw this book at the library and thought, what else did this guy do that was funny? A lot! Phil Hartman was an SNL legend, and went on to deliver the fabulous Troy McClure character on the Simpsons. Sadly, he was taken too soon. Most biographies dig into a persons life and explore events that led to that person becoming who they were, whether that be a childhood trauma, etc. This biography does not do that, but rather acts like a timeline and talks about significant events and funny or interesting stories. But, that was what I was really looking for, and thats what I got. If you want the real in-depth look at Phil Hartman, maybe that biography will come out some day, but this one is still good, and very readable.

  • Brian Butts
    2019-05-02 08:03

    I feel like this book was written specifically for me. Hartman's death in 1998 was the first time I can remember being really saddened by the death of someone I'd never met. This book tries to paint a full picture of Harmtman, flaws and all, as told through his careers and three marriages and overall succeeds in doing so. A little disappointed at the surface level overviews of his time at SNL, Simpsons, and News Radio (it focuses much more on his personal life). I could have read 5,000 pages of stories from those three gigs. That said, it was nice to revisit Phil. I'm glad I read it.

  • Julie
    2019-05-03 05:03

    I was interested to read about the life of Phil Hartman. His murder at the hands of his wife was so painful and shocking, that it was somehow comforting to read about all the triumphs and failings that preceded that moment. Hartman deserves to be remembered for all of his talents, not just for his time at SNL or the violent way he died. The author did a good job of examining Hartman's virtues and foibles, putting his life in context. He was not a perfect man, but was an extremely talented actor, artist, and comedian, and should be remembered as such.

  • Brent
    2019-05-04 08:23

    I enjoyed remembering the focus that I enjoyed in Hartman's performances. This fine book gives more detail than we might need or want to enjoy his comedy. But I loved being reminded of his work, partly because I could not watch the SNL 40th special on TV.Hartman's flaws are well documented here. For his genius, we found the SNL skits all on Yahoo.Recommended.

  • Linda
    2019-05-21 07:22

    In all of Saturday Night Live, Phil Hartman was my favorite. I went on to watch News Radio partially because he was on it. I was subsequently deeply saddened when he died so young and unexpectedly. This book is a well researched explanation of his life but no adequate explanation of his death. Hartman comes across as mostly a decent, contented man.

  • Mary
    2019-04-24 10:27

    Other readers have mentioned that they felt like Thomas didn't really capture the essence of Phil Hartman despite great research. I think Thomas got every nuance Hartman was willing to share. So often great comedians are unknowable ciphers when you get past the laughter. Hartman was a genius, not an open book.

  • Cathy Godfrey
    2019-05-18 07:12

    Interesting bio about Phil Hartman about his life and how he came to be on SNL and beyond. Anyone who is a fan would enjoy reading this book. I found out somethings that I didn't know so I felt it was worthwhile for me to read.

  • Katie
    2019-04-26 07:20

    This book desperately needed an editor!

  • Benjamin Wallace
    2019-05-11 04:23

    I'm going to cry at the end. I know I will.

  • Teena in Toronto
    2019-05-08 02:23

    Phil Hartman (1948 - 1998) was an actor. He was born and lived in Brantford, Ontario, until his family moved to the States when he was about ten. He graduated from university with a graphic arts degree and designed album covers for bands like Poco and America. Hartman joined the comedy group The Groundlings in 1975, where he met Paul Reubens and helped him develop his Pee-wee Herman character (he co-wrote the film Pee-wee's Big Adventure and was Captain Carl on Pee-wee's Playhouse). In 1986, he joined Saturday Night Live and was on the show for eight years. In 1995, he starred as Bill McNeal in NewsRadio. He also had voice roles on The Simpsons, from seasons two to ten, in addition to being in movies.Hartman was married three times (and divorced twice) and had two children with his third wife, Britt, who he married in 1987. In May 1998, while drunk and on drugs, Britt shot Phil while he was asleep and a couple hours later killed herself. Their two young children were raised by Britt's sister.This book covers Hartman's life from the time his family was living in Brantford to his death, and includes the aftermath of his death with the investigation, tributes from his friends and family, and his memorials.I liked Phil Hartman and thought his death was tragic. I liked the writing style of this book and found his story interesting. There was a lot of information and I found it was at a good level (detailed but not too detailed). At the end of the book, there are lots of pictures of Hartman throughout the years and a bibliography. If you are a Phil Hartman fan, I think you will enjoy this book.Blog review post:

  • Ghym
    2019-05-20 07:14

    [FYI: TONS OF SPOILERS.]I started watching Saturday Night Live back in 1987. It was a big deal, I was only 11, and I had to ask my mother if I could stay up for it. Glad I did, because it pretty much changed my life and rocked my world. From that night, I fell in love with the show, particularly the comedy trifecta of Phil Hartman, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey. They created some of the best characters on that show, and I think they're SO underrated every time SNL history is mentioned. (Just this year, Myers was called back to revive Dr. Evil and it was the year's best skit.)Phil Hartman quickly became my favorite of the three. To just look at him was to laugh. It's hard to describe but I don't have to because you can just watch his brilliance on YouTube and Yahoo Screen. His take on Frank Sinatra was one of the funniest things ever put on the show, so much better than Piscopo's version, and I dare you to watch Telly Salvalas' Player-with-Yourselves Club without wetting yourself. (One of his best skits that isn't mentioned in this book.) There was also the Anal Retentive Chef, Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, Bill Clinton, etc. etc. That would have been enough to call him a legend, but then he also went and did the Simpsons as washed-up actor Troy McClure, whose catchphrase "You Might Remember Me" serves as the title for this book, and had a nice run on NewsRadio as Bill McNeal, plus some movie roles. Although he was underated and never got a breakout original character like Mike Myers' Wayne or Carvey's Church Lady, he was vital to the success of the show, so much so that cast members referred to him as the glue that held them together. He stayed on for an amazing 8 years before moving on to NewsRadio and then...And then in 1998 he was murdered. By his wife.It was one of the most shocking Hollywood tragedies. Why she did it has never really been figured out. She had a drug and alcohol addiction, that was clear. She was on Zoloft at the same time, and Zoloft with alcohol is known to trigger a crazy psychotic reaction. She was also (as described in this book) supremely jealous of both Phil's talent and worried he would cheat on her. Brynn Hartman was a woman who couldn't find herself. But was she a cold-hearted murderer or merely a victim of a bad chemical combination?When I heard this book was being released, I knew I wanted to read it. I wanted to learn more about Hartman's life and also perhaps find out if his wife was motivated by a drug reaction.Thomas is an experienced arts reporter and an author of a previous book on comedy. As a result, this book is pretty well-researched with a few exceptions. It starts at the beginning of his life and takes us through that terrible last night. Much was not known about Phil's personal life while he was alive, so this is interesting in the sense that it talks about his mentally challenged sister, his job designing record covers for the likes of Crosby, Stills & Nash and America, his time in the Groundlings, spending years perfecting his craft, his work with Paul Reubens on the Pee-Wee character (and how Paul pretty much screwed him over). We learn about near-misses like a musical based on his excellent Chick Hazard character and The Phil Show, which never saw light on NBC. We hear from Julia Sweeney about what a nice person Brynn Hartman was (sort of rolling my eyes at that one), while everybody else admits she was insane. (She wrote a terrible note to one of his ex-wives early on, threatening her life.) We get the feeling the late Jan Hooks might have been in love with Phil and vice-versa (sort of subtle, you have to read between the lines). Tragically, we hear how friends warned Phil about Brynn and questioned the safety of their having a gun in the house. And we learn more about Phil's personality. Basically, he was a nice guy who had his very rare diva moments, but tried to take life in stride. He liked relaxing on his boat and smoking pot. (Sort of a shock, that one.) He tended to be emotionally distant with women, sometimes frustrating them beyond belief, something that may have been a fatal flaw for him where Brynn was concerned. He constantly fought with his wife and was very close to divorcing her, but I think he was an optimist about her at heart, and also there were finances and the children to think of if they split up. He tried to get her roles, and push her work, when he could. He desperately wanted her to be happy but that was impossible.Overall, I think Thomas did a good job, and this is definitely a must-read for Phil/SNL fans, but I took issue with a few things. One is that I didn't feel like I got enough of Phil's personality in this book. I guess I'm just spoiled because I was really expecting something along the lines of the unbelievably excellent Chris Farley Show which unpacked Farley's life and personality in such a brilliant way. We get a general sense of what Hartman was like but I wanted more interviews with friends and castmates. Lots of SNL people are missing from this one, and Thomas gets lazy at times, quoting other books and transcribing the sketches for us, as if we all don't have access to YouTube.I also felt he spent too much time on the beginning, which was kind of boring. He could have condensed that a little and focused more on Phil's career, and getting more quotes from sources who were there later in his life.And the end... was just way too dark. Of course, the murder is unfortunately a big part of this story and you can't make that "light," and you have to write about it, but Thomas just focuses on every last gory detail of the shootings, to the point where it haunted me long after I read it and gave me a nightmare. I don't know if we needed that much information. He also does not come to any conclusion about why Brynn did it, other than a lot of contradicting speculation, and I thought maybe he could have gotten better sources or cleared that up a bit. And I wanted to know more about how his children are doing now, which was not discussed at all.The title, even though I know it is a play on his McClure character, is annoying as well. You Might Remember Me sounds like he's some kind of nobody actor. No, Phil Hartman was somebody we will remember and taken far too soon.

  • James
    2019-05-21 08:10

    Very nice biography of Phil Hartman and tribute to Phil Hartman. Never knew the comedy troupe he came up through however, I did know him from Saturday Night Live and post SNL. His roles as caveman lawyer and many others were very memorable and funny.

  • Tony Christ
    2019-05-19 06:12

    A sad story. The author does a good job of telling Phil's life and struggles. It seems like Phil was always trying to find himself and he wasn't satisfied with what he had.The author's tracking of the last hours of Phil's and Brynn's life was the best part.

  • Robin Gaylord
    2019-05-10 09:25

    The book tells you of the good times & bad times of Phil Hartman. He had a hard life & his death by the shooting of his wife & her suicide is very sad.

  • Margaret
    2019-05-22 06:59

    I'll never forget the moment I learned about this man's death. It was the tail end of my freshman year at college, where I was an optimistic Theatre major, just about to head to one of my acting classes. My roommate was in the living room watching TV, and called out, "hey, who's Phil Hartman again?" I replied he was on "Saturday Night Live" and did voices on "The Simpsons." "Oh, yeah," she said. "Why?" I asked, a big fan, hoping to hear something cool. "He's dead." My first thought was a car accident, or worse, a drug overdose. I joined her at the couch, and said, "what?.. how?" "His wife killed him and then killed herself." It was insane and nonsensical. I headed to class, walking somberly across the river, joining my classmates at the theatre building, all of them already in the loop, looking really bummed. I saw my crush, and said to him, "Phil's dead," not even needing to say his last name. He looked at his shoes and said, "yeah. What the fuck?" This was one of those celebrity deaths that really hit my generation hard. We were teenagers when this guy was a cast member of two of the coolest shows around, and we loved his impressions. Even nowadays, when people do a Bill McNeal, Troy McClure, or Lionel Hutz line, I feel an undercurrent of sadness in the following laughter. This man could've had a much longer career. Perhaps he could've gone beyond his voice-work and sitcom work; but if he'd stayed there, it still would've been a memorable, satisfying career. He would only be 65 right now. Most importantly, he could've been there for his two young children, orphaned in the course of one terrible night.This book was a long time coming. Phil Hartman was killed 16 years ago, but he's so ubiquitous it feels like just yesterday. I feel the same way about John Candy, now gone for 20 years; but because his output was so incredible, it's mind-boggling to realize he's been gone for so long. Author Mike Thomas gained intimate access to some very important people in Phil's life: his beloved brothers John and Paul, his first and second wives, Gretchen and Lisa, and of course many friends and co-stars who were willing to share "warts-and-all" revelations about this lovable man. Cassandra ("Elvira") Peterson, Jon Lovitz, Julia Sweeney, and the late Jan Hooks all shed new light on his relationships to his friends, cast members, children, and of course, Brynn. The troubled, misunderstood Brynn Hartman made a terrible decision in a fit of rage--one she instantly regretted, running to a friend's home in the middle of the night to confess and beg for help. Most of the people interviewed seem to have forgiven Brynn over the years. They think she had a lot of psychological issues that were only exacerbated by on-and-off drug and alcohol abuse, and she didn't feel in control of her own life. She was a stay-at-home mom who wanted to be an actress, a woman who often felt bored and stuck in the shadow of her famous husband, and who, it is alleged, didn't feel very appreciated or respected by Phil for keeping the home fires burning, the kids fed and cared for, or any of her own artistic or creative endeavors. We never really know what's going on in other people's marriages, and even though everyone who knew the Hartmans knew there was trouble, they never would've guessed it would end in a grisly murder-suicide. God, how could they?My only gripe with this book is much of it was a rehash of all the same old stories we've heard since 1998. If you've ever read any article about Phil Hartman, or watched any sordid E! or Bravo! programs about THAT NIGHT, most of this information is repetition. I'd heard many of these anecdotes before, so I found myself skimming. The best parts were when Thomas pulled stories and musings from Phil's brother John and longtime, non-actor friends--people who watched Phil grow up, or watched him grow into his 30's and 40's. He loved Brynn. She loved him. They loved their children. It's still a sad story, and I still went, wow, it's been 16 years?

  • Lenny Husen
    2019-05-03 08:14

    Ironically, I never heard of Phil Hartman until after he was killed.I became an instant fan after I watched Saturday Night Live, The Best of Phil Hartman, which is among my favorite DVDs ever. I have loved him ever since. I never will forget this hugely talented mimic. I actually think of him quite a bit as there was something about his style that resonates with my psyche. He was a bit Aspie. I am delighted that someone wrote a Biography about him.I am giving it 5 stars, even though it is a 3.5 star book, for 3 reasons:1. I so appreciate that a Biography WAS written and Mike Thomas did the best job he possibly could have done. Not saying that someone else couldn't have done it better, but no one else did. Thomas put in a lot of effort to research the material of a man's life and he tried to interview literally everyone who knew Hartman well during his 49 years upon this Earth. 2. This is a Must Read for anyone who was or is a fan of Hartman's work. He was actually an even cooler person than I realized and lived a very full life up until he was murdered by his crazy narcissist Blonde Bombshell wife. 3. The last few chapters about Phil Hartman's murder are outstanding and make up for some of the weaker parts of the book (which delineate every single part or bit-part or voice-over or almost-role that Hartman ever did or thought about doing and were a little tedious). I was finally able to forgive his wife, Brynn for what she did. She was a terribly unhappy person. But why couldn't Brynn just leave? Or do anything else except murder someone and then herself? Talk about fucking up.Thanks to the extremely sensitive treatment of Hartman's death by the author of this book, I was able to let go of my anger toward her which I have felt ever since I heard about his death in 1998. I hated her with a passion even before I knew who Hartman had been.I think there is something about "I will kill someone else who I used to love but now hate and then kill myself" that really rubs me the wrong way. It even happened to a sweet nurse at my hospital. Her husband shot her and then himself with their daughter in the house. It is usually men who do this so when a woman does it, it seems worse (but it isn't, of course). Thanks to Mike Thomas, I was able to find compassion for this deeply ungrateful and unhappy alcoholic narcissist who literally destroyed her life, and caused immeasurable harm to her young children and Phil's friends and family. Not to mention depriving the world of an entertainer who actually made it a better place and life more tolerable. He was actually a kind, quiet, gentle man who loved life and being outdoors. This is a fascinating story about human nature.Here are the morals:1. If you are ungrateful and you hate your life, try to do something else with it except kill yourself. Especially if you have any kids. Get help. Please, please, please, get help. 2. If you hate your husband and decide to kill him in a fit of rage while drunk and on cocaine, just turn the gun on yourself first and shoot yourself in the head first. That way, your kids will still have one parent left alive.3. If you have to decide to marry either a beautiful narcissistic woman who is high maintenance and bitchy and another woman who isn't as beautiful but is nice, PLEASE opt for the second one. 4. Guns Bad, People Good.

  • Geof
    2019-05-01 01:59

    To Thomas' credit, this was a page turner. I think I read the last 200 pages in a sitting. So he was doing something right. However, the book has two major flaws:1) It appears that a lot of people didn't talk to Thomas. Page 303 features a long list thanking the people it looks like Thomas spoke with. Some notable omissions include: Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz, and Lorne Michaels. As is, the book is a collection of disjointed anecdotes that produces the effect of "Phil was a laid-back down-to-earth guy ... except when he wasn't."Some of the people who talked to Thomas seemed tangentially acquainted to Hartman at best. For instance, Thomas highlights how Ed Begley Jr. reacted to Hartman's death by immediately turning Begley's personal shotgun into the police. I read that and thought, "Who cares?" Begley knew Hartman better than I did, but they didn't sound terribly close, and the gun anecdote came off as an irrelevant political aside.Part of the appeal of reading a book like this is hearing stories from someone's famous friends. On that score, Thomas disappoints.2) There is a damning passage on page 76 that says of Hartman, "There was no there, there." With some people, what you see is what you get. But they don't make great biographical subjects.I read the book because I'm a fan of Hartman's and I loved "The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts." I was hoping to learn more about Hartman's career, his time at SNL, and his untimely death. By those standards, Thomas doesn't disappoint: Hartman grew up in LA and joined the Groundlings, one of SNL's famous feeder troupes. The SNL stories were somewhat sparse, especially since Thomas didn't talk to many people there. Hartman's murder is fleshed out in greater detail than I previously knew. Hartman had a history of volatile, operatic relationships. His wife sounded bipolar and was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.I'm reminded of "Inside Llewyn Davis." Hartman was a great talent, an outstanding SNL cast member, but he was not fated for the Adam Sandler/Mike Myers/Will Ferrell track. He didn't have the magnetism of those stars. Perhaps Thomas' underwhelming book is a fair reflection of his subject.

  • S.J. Tyson
    2019-05-13 03:16

    Phil Hartman is best known for his eight seasons on Saturday Night Live, as well as starring as pompous radio broadcaster Bill McNeal in the NBC sitcom NewsRadio and numerous voice roles — most memorably washed-up actor and commercial pitchman Troy McClure — on Fox’s long-running animated hit The Simpsons.But Hartman’s seemingly charmed life was cut tragically short when he was fatally shot by his troubled third wife, Brynn, who turned a gun on herself several hours later. The shocking and headline-generating turn of events stunned those closest to the couple as well as countless fans who knew Phil only from afar. The years and moments leading up to his untimely end are described in illuminating detail through information gleaned from exclusive interviews with scores of famous cast mates, close friends and family members as well as private letters, audio/video recordings, extensive police records, and more. Both joyous tribute and serious biography, Mike Thomas' You Might Remember Me is a celebration of Phil Hartman’s multi-faceted career and an exhaustively reported, warts-and-all examination of his often intriguing and sometimes complicated life—a powerful, humor-filled and disquieting portrait of a man who was loved by many, admired by millions and taken from them far too early.I was a fan of Phil Hartman's prior to reading this book, but I have to say there was quite a bit of information provided that I was not aware of. I had always perceived him as a settled, down-to-earth personality, but that wasn't always the case. Though everyone on Saturday Night Live looked up to him and considered him the "glue" of the cast, in some ways he was very naive in his perceptions, in others he was very much a leader with a maturity that had most of his peers looking up to him. He could be a dichotomy of people, much more complicated than I previously perceived him. The book takes you from his birth in Canada to his death (and beyond) in 1998. A thorough personal and professional narrative - sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking - of the life and times of the brilliant and sorely missed Phil Hartman.

  • Josh Skinner
    2019-05-03 10:08

    If you are not familiar with the works of Phil Hartman, I pity you. No, seriously, I do. “Genius” is most definitely a term that gets tossed about too frequently when describing those who excel in the arts, especially those whose light is snuffed out much too soon. But Hartman was, undoubtedly, a master of his craft. And his demise was far too tragic and far too soon.Other than admiring much of his work and being shocked and saddened by his death, I really knew little about Phil Hartman. In his new biography of Hartman, Thomas presents Phil as well-rounded and complex. Nuance is not replaced with a veneer of perfection or a caricature of dysfunction, as so often can be the case in biographies—especially those with the aspect of sordid tragedy. Instead, Thomas seeks to give the reader a genuine look at a real person. This leaves the reader with a sincere affection for Phil the person and causes the tragic ending of his life to be felt that much more.A surprise for me about this work is that it did not seem overly back-heavy. While the murder-suicide casts a shadow over the whole work(whether in the work itself or in the mind of the reader, it is hard for me to distinguish), this is not a “famous murder let’s make a book out of it” paperback that makes an appearance far, far too often. This is an honest portrayal of a fascinating and tragic life and offers insight into the lives around him as well. This is a tragic book. There is a feeling of watching a tragedy slowly unfold before your eyes with the knowledge of how it will end plus the angst of being utterly impotent to effect any change. It was sad to me to read how unprepared for eternity the Hartmans were and many of those connected to Hartmans still are. As much laughter as Phil Hartman brought in his life and career, his death brought that much pain and sadness-even to those of us on the periphery.If you are an SNL fan, this is a work for you. If you are a fan of a good story, this is a book for you. If you are a Phil Hartman fan (which, again, you should be), this is most definitely a book for you.*I received a review copy of this book.

  • Kate
    2019-05-22 02:25

    After reading this book, I feel like I have a solid understanding of Phil Hartman and his life. However, the book suffers from poor organization, the occasional (unforgivable) grammatical error, and a surfeit of material. The author tries to do too much with this book and it overwhelms the already-shaky narrative. Do we REALLY need to see excerpts of his term papers from high school? (No. No we don't.) So much time is spent on bits of his early-life trivia that don't go anywhere or help the larger story that you could skip the first third of this book and frankly get a more satisfying read. The timeline is also messy, overwhelmed by constant foreshadowing--not just of Phil's career, but of the careers of Phil's friends and relatives. It's tough to keep track of who is doing what when. (Also: almost every chapter ends on a cliffhanger-type sentence, or at least one heavy with foreshadowing, and that's both unnecessary and obnoxious.)Fans of Phil Hartman know that a tragic ending is coming. While the author does a decent job of covering the crime, its aftermath, and the tangled questions of WHY, the narrative needed to be streamlined and tightened up. As it stands, it wanders all over the place, from person to person, from 1998 to 2013, back and forth and back again, and hence it reads like the author typed up his notes in random order and walked away. There may not be any definitive answers, but that's no excuse for not organizing your findings and giving them;dr If you're a Hartman superfan, read the whole book. If you're a regular fan, skip the first third. If you edited this book, what the hell?

  • Stacy
    2019-04-26 05:17

    Phil Hartman was the man who first introduced me to the term "anal retentive". I didn't know what it meant, but I thought he was funny anyway, with his fussy manner and his double bagging. Those years, with Phil and Dana Carvey and Mike Meyers and Victoria Jackson and Jan Hooks, were my favorite SNL years, and I dumped it not long after they all left. I was also a big fan of News Radio. So I was intrigued by this book when I saw it on the shelf. I will say it was interesting, if for no other reason than the stories about Phil's time on SNL and his earlier years with the Groundlings. For instance, I had no idea that he was such a big part in the development of the Pee-Wee Herman character and the movie that brought him wide recognition. Unfortunately, I can't truly say it was compelling, though. There were times where it felt like the author was just throwing everything plus the kitchen sink at us; every teeny tiny recollection from the many friends and family who contributed to the cause were here, from Phil's grades in middle school to his penchant for feeding spray cheese to fish. It also felt like he was building a false sense of drama, with his many forced references to Phil's various gun purchases ("Hey people!! See what I'm doing here?? This is called 'foreshadowing'!!!! Phil had a gun...Phil's wife shot him with a gun 20 years later...see?? See???")So, I learned quite a few interesting things, but there were many times that I found my attention wandering off, as well.

  • Dustin
    2019-04-30 07:23

    It took me a little while to digest Mike Thomas' book "You Might Remember Me," a biography on Phil Hartman. I sort of know Mike because he both worked at the Chicago Sun-Times together. We're not best friends or anything, but I respect him a great deal. "You Might Remember Me" is an incredibly well-written and researched book, but I was initially disappointed with the lack of new interviews from SNL alums, etc. sharing perspectives on Hartman. If you're an SNL nerd like me, a lot of the quotes from that lot seem familiar because they appeared elsewhere. Yet, the more I think about the book the more I really like it. Mike turns Phil Hartman into a person instead of a character. I wanted SNL people praising Phil's talent because that would be comfortable. What Mike provides is the opposite. There are lots of insights from friends and family that put Phil Hartman into perspective; he's complicated and not always likeable. Hartman died when I was a teenager and I remember sitting on my porch and listening to Led Zeppelin's "Rain Song" and crying after I heard the news. It was the first time in my life that the concept of a "senseless death" entered my orbit. So, this book meant a lot to me. I think Mike Thomas has written a brilliant biography about a complicated man, but if you put Hartman on a pedestal (like I did), be prepared for him to be knocked down a few pegs.