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Author of 'Assholes' shows off more ego than wit

By Matt Yost
On October 4, 2010

After reading "Assholes Finish First," my perceptions about Tucker Max have changed completely. Last year, I was under the impression that he was a genius, a master of his trade. Now, after suffering through his latest narcisstic work, Max demonstrates that he is absolutely nothing more than an outspoken asshole with nothing clever left to say.

While the analysis would seem harsh for any other author, Max welcomes the criticism and embraces the fact that he embodies it. But, in "Assholes Finish First," he is over-indulgent with the image he has created himself to be. The shtick that made "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell" so shocking and original is now tired and boring: short stories that are intended to leave the audience in stitches will instead find them rolling their eyes at Max as he further fans the fire that is his overblown ego.

What made "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell" so special was that it was cleverly written and found choice stories that were best saved between close friends. Max didn't hold back when writing his first biography, writing his absolutely ridiculous stories with impeccable comedic timing while completely disregarding his own dignity.

His previous work was fresh and inspired, with no need to be reproduced. "Assholes Finish First" feels like a collection of stories that didn't make the cut for the previous biography. Many of the stories are simply rehashed nights of Max going out and finding new women to sleep with, with slight variations on what makes each woman eccentric and disposable. Max's adventures would make for an entertaining hung over breakfast shared with close friends, but became simultaneously dull and offensive reading for a wider audience.

A collection of short stories such as these should be able to leave the reader with distinct memories of what made the book such a fun read. "Assholes Finish First" has trouble creating any distinguishing factors between any of the short stories, whether it be shock value or entertainment. All of the stories blend together, creating essentially a 400-page narrative about Tucker Max's weekend. Any reader could realize, about halfway through this novel, that they could have written a weekend comparable to Max's experience with enough shots of Dubra and a few frat parties. Surely it wouldn't be as regrettable as sitting through reading about Tucker Max being a professional dirtbag.

In his first book, Max's over-the-top and repulsive personality was somewhat endearing for comedic purposes. In "Assholes Finish First," it's insanely irritating and impossible not to loathe. Much of the material is simply a love ballad Tucker Max writing about how much he loves Tucker Max. The fact of the matter is that, as the stories trudge on, the reader sees no reason to love Tucker Max, or even consider him interesting enough to sustain a whole book.

That said, I encourage Max to continue to make efforts toward being a comedian. Despite the fact that "Assholes Finish First" is trash, it still has brief flashes of humor that show that Max isn't as half-witted as the stories draw him to be. "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell" is a great example of how the man has the potential to be an excellent comedian.

If he had some variation in the stories he was telling in his books, he could be comparable to Chelsea Handler, who writes similar material but is successful in creating hilarious and distinguished biographical collections of short stories. But if Max continues along the path he is writing, the general public will catch on that his routine simply isn't funny or entertaining.

 


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