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Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not…

Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not

by Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello

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573917,309 (3.41)5



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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Love the authors. Didn't love this project. ( )
  brianinseattle | Oct 1, 2014 |
We bought this audiobook on the chance that it would keep us entertained during some long drives. I remember chuckling at a few jokes near the beginning, but we soon became bogged down in the one-trick-pony nature of this humor. If you like Colbert-style humor simply because it is Colbert-style humor, you might enjoy this, but for us, this was just too repetitive. By the time we'd met the tenth samey redneck character, we'd gotten the point. Enough already. ( )
  climbingtree | Jan 23, 2011 |
At the time this book was written, Amy Sedaris, sister to writer David, was probably the best known member of the three writer-performers behind the bizarre Comedy Central show, Strangers with Candy. Of her cowriters Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert, it was the latter, later on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, then his own show, the satire of rightwing talk, The Colbert Report, who has moved into the ascendant. His recent showing at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, in a merciless skewering of both the President and the press has, if anything, increased his stock.That flair for comic genius is on show here in Wigfield: The Can-Do Town That Just May Not, the three writers’ novel about a small town that just might not even be a real town. When you put three comedians together, you most commonly get some kind of sketch comedy, and that’s what we have here, tied together by a supposed writer who is writing a profile of the small town about to be disbanded when the local dam was scheduled for demolition. Sedaris and Dinello take turns portraying the dirtbag denizens of Wigfield while Colbert plays the kind of ethics-free, self-absorbed fake journalist that is now his full-time gig.In situations like this, the common assumption is that each writer wrote the bulk of the lines for their character, with some assistance from the others. Thus in a town like Wigfield, with its string of clubs with names like Twat Shop and Tit Time, Sedaris plays a number of women of easy virtue, while Dinello picks up the DJs, the bouncers, the customers, and all three of the town’s competing mayors. Wigfield is also the kind of town with two competing oldest resident, neither above the age of fifty, and an art scene for which the term "dying" would imply more life than it really has.Settled at the foot of the completely useless Bulkwaller Dam, built so as to demonstrate “our country’s ability to construct monolithic concrete structures in the midst of adverse conditions,” Wigfield’s residents are seeking from the government compensation for their losses when the dam is blown. We likewise learn from an informational pamphlet that the dam was designed as to be “a structure so magnificent that it rivals any creation that God has put on this earth, thereby causing angels to weep with the knowledge that our Savior has been bested.”Russel Hokes, our unscrupulous narrator, has a dream, to write a book “like a sword of swift justice in service of the truth, but in an easy-to-read, highly marketable way.” But first he needs “an idea and a healthy advance.” In one scheme after another to pad out his manuscript to the golden requisite fifty thousand words (including at the beginning of each chapter the heading “One – Chapter One”), Hokes interviews members of the “town;” quotes liberally from the local paper, court transcripts, high school poetry, and “off the record conversation[s] that I thoughtfully recorded.”Along the way we meet out of work employees of the shut-down plutonium ditch, strip club managers and employees, the local Wiccans, the owner of Mack Donalds, each of Wigfield’s mayors (including the brain-damaged Charles Halstead, a fudge fanatic man-child kept in power by “appointed” pyromaniacal chief of police), the psychotic town taxidermist/morgue attendant (“One of the things I do over there is to make sure that all the bodies that come in are dead. Here’s my test: I just do things to them that no living being would allow, and if they don’t react, then I know they’re dead. And if they do react, well, the severity of the test usually makes that moot.”), among others.“And of course there’s those stories about the Wigfield maniac, how there’s a madman in town, but I don’t believe it’s real. I think somebody’s killing folks just to scare people,” as one resident puts it.The town’s fortunes take a possible turn for the better when the local State Representative convinces the authorities to blow up the dam, and all of the citizenry hope to cash in on sizable handouts. When this plan runs into a snag, as the town has no articles of incorporation, no sewers, sidewalks, real streets, or facilities, when it becomes clear through court testimony that they are not a real town but a collection of shanties filled with nutty squatters, the “citizens” of Wigfield are promised absolutely nothing. A tenderhearted judge provides them with a stay of execution to prove themselves an actual community, and Hokes convinces the town members to hold non-stop parades and public functions to prove they are indeed part of America’s small town fabric, leading to the novel’s climactic bit of hilarity.Each author takes his or her turn narrating the various characters, Dinello and Sedaris demonstrating a keen knack for accent, characterization, and delivery, while Colbert provides us with the kind of quick speaking double-talk that is his hallmark. “In short there was no downside, but at what cost?” he asks at one point, then later, as the court case begins: “I have to say, the idea of the legal system being fair and impartial always rang a little hollow to me, considering the number of times I woke up in handcuffs.” The three of them together provide something a little different from the average audiobook, a project that comes off as part book, part play, and wholly entertaining. ( )
  TheDigitarian | Jun 14, 2010 |
Oh what a great laugh. I cannot explain the plot in a way that will do it justice. Eminent domain, strippers, and wrecking yards somehow get woven together in a cheery tale of investigative reporting. These writers should be committed, Preferably together so they will write Wigfield 2, or somesuch. ( )
  Oreillynsf | May 23, 2010 |
I actually didn't read the book ... I listened to the audio and it was hilarious. I suppose I really should read the book, but listening to the authors camp it up was well worth the time it takes to get through the audio. The humour and sarcasm is fantastic throughout. If you liked Strangers with Candy, you'll love this book. ( )
  Arixphi57 | Mar 29, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Amy Sedarisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Colbert, Stephenmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Dinello, Paulmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 078688696X, Paperback)

Wigfield is in peril. The Bulkwaller Dam, which towers over the tiny town, is scheduled to be destroyed which would in turn wipe out Wigfield. Journalist Russell Hokes travels there to profile the brave and honest citizens who are struggling to save their community. Well, sort of. Actually, Wigfield is not so much a town as a series of ramshackle strip clubs and used-auto-parts stores, lacking any kind of civic infrastructure whatsoever. And its people are not so much "brave and honest" as "brutal," "homicidal," and "lacking any redeeming virtue whatsoever." Similarly, to call Hokes, who narrates his own struggles to gather accumulate 50,000 words, a "journalist" is at best an exaggeration and at worst an abomination against the institution of journalism itself.

The world of Wigfield, as concocted by the brilliant Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, and Amy Sedaris (creators of the Comedy Central series Strangers with Candy), is somewhat reminiscent of the slice-of-life small-town humor of Christopher Guest's Waiting for Guffman. But instead of putting on a musical, as the Guffman folks did, the people of Wigfield busy themselves trying to acquire government handouts and stabbing each other to death. When the government rebuffs their efforts, based on the fact that they're not technically a town, they come up with a plan to get paid anyway. Wigfield's residents (as played by Colbert, Dinello, and Sedaris) are portrayed in a series of compellingly grotesque portraits by renowned designer and photographer Todd Oldham. The humor of the book--much like the town's mentality--is dense, as nearly every sentence contains one or several grimly hilarious references. Fans of feel-good whimsy are advised to navigate toward lighter fare but social pariahs, disgraced journalists, brooding malcontented sociopaths, and anyone who enjoys dark, twisted, and profoundly funny writing will find a home in Wigfield. --John Moe

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The town of Wigfield will soon be flooded when the nearby massive dam is torn down by the state to restore the salmon run. Self-righteous journalist Russell Hokes arrives, hoping to capture the quiet dignity of a simple small town. However, Wigfield is neither quiet nor dignified. Hokes casts around to find something about Wigfield worth saving, in this satirical novel.… (more)

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