Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Adventure Inspiration Book: The Ridiculous Race


Book: The Ridiculous Race by Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran

Setting: Around the world

Plot: Twenty-something TV comedy writers and best friends Steve and Vali decide to race around the world…without airplanes.  Departing from Los Angeles in opposite directions, they each travel by cargo ship and Segway, train and camel.  The prize?  The finest bottle of scotch Los Angeles has to offer.

I’m addicted to travel memoirs.  I own a lot and read quite a few more.  But this is, by far, the funniest travel memoir ever written.

Vali writes for My Name is Earl.  Steve writes for American Dad.  Each of them wrote a recent hilarious episode of 30 Rock (“Winter Madness” and “Black Light Attack,” respectively).  Very few books get me to laugh out loud, but while reading this one, I chortled.  I guffawed.  I had to wipe my eyes and nose simultaneously.

The Ridiculous Race is what this site is all about!  Steve and Vali don’t just go to museums and look at architecture and try unusual foods.  They party with the Filipino crew of a cargo ship!  They bribe their way out of trouble with Russian border guards!  They try to sabotage each other before they even leave the starting line!

And those are the tamest adventures in the book.  I don’t want to say much more because the surprises are the highlight of the book, but here’s a passage Steve wrote about Stockholm and Swedes in general:

Now I found myself in a fairy-tale paradise, an efficiently designed urban archipelago of dazzling architecture, full of luminous ladies and stylish gentlemen, each tall, blond, and looking as though they bicycled fifty kilometers each morning, ate nothing but Kashi, built their own end tables, and were minutes removed from bouts of loving yet experimental sexual intercourse with their sensible partners with whom they have sophisticated arrangements that go beyond marriage.

Steve goes on an epic bender with a few Swedish TV stars, meeting movie stars and tabloid fixtures along the way.  After reading the Sweden chapters, it took everything I had in me not to book a ticket to Stockholm immediately.  That’s how good this book is.

Check out The Ridiculous Race on Amazon. And again, if you decide to read it, try not to find out anything about it in advance.  The surprises are the highlight of this very funny book!

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