Synopses & Reviews
Renowned humorist Bill Scheft stretches comedic singles into stand-up triples through the oddest of couples in this hilarious debut novel.
Morton Martin Spell, a once-brilliant, now-infirm seventy-five-year-old writer has begun to slide into a state of delirium. He thinks Mount Sinai Hospital is an exclusive golf course and his catheter is a gym bag. His only link to reality is his terminally unambitious thirty-five-year-old nephew, who makes his living as a hired gun for thirteen softball teams and still goes by the name College Boy.
But College Boy's body has begun to betray him -- almost as much as his lack of ambition. (His only legitimate paycheck comes from a once-a-week gig as an in-studio laugher on a drive-time morning radio show.) Not only that, The Dirt King, a small-time gangster who controls all the replacement soil in Central Park, is after him. As their lives collide, College Boy takes refuge in the arms of Sheila, his uncle's cleaning woman and a part-time call girl. And then it gets weird.
"Scheft has succeeded where more celebrated cutups like Al Franken and Michael Moore have failed. He has written a book that is actually funny....Though Scheft seems to have written The Ringer with the idea that the guy who writes the most jokes writes the best book, he has indisputably written a lot of good jokes....Scheft keeps the material coming at machine-gun pace, adhering to the time-honored comic principle that if you tell enough gags fast enough, no one will remember the bad ones." Joe Queenan, The New York Times Book Review
"Scheft hits a ground-rule double....Scheft occasionally sacrifices plot to get to a punch line, and his overly snappy dialog smacks of sitcom cuteness, but slap our butts and send us to the showers if The Ringer isnt damn funny and ultimately moving." Paul Zimmerman, Maxim
"Frankly, I'm not at all surprised that Bill Scheft would plagiarize my work and try to pass it off as his own. When you see how funny, insightful, and profound this book is, you no doubt will put two and two together. I'm outraged." Larry David, co-creator of "Seinfeld" and creator of "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"Neither Bill Scheft nor his story ever sits down to rest from the first page to last. The jokes fly so fast you'll have to read the book twice to get them all, but beneath the banter and the pratfalls is a moving story about love between wounded souls that will linger in the mind far longer than the laughs. If The Ringer were in French, it would be a tour de force." Bruce McCall, author of Zany Afternoons and The Last Dream-O-Rama
"Put down that sandwich before you pick up The Ringer. Bill Scheft's novel produces the kind of explosive laughs that can create an unsanitary condition. The strange, pill-popping cast emerges in a story that is more than the sum of its yucks. The modern world may offer a pharmacological smorgasboard, but in The Ringer, love is still the best medicine of all." Jeffrey Toobin, author of A Vast Conspiracy and Too Close to Call
This debut novel from David Letterman's monologue writer introduces 35-year-old College Boy, an unambitious hired gun for 13 softball teams. When a small-time gangster who controls all the replacement soil in Central Park comes after him, College Boy takes refuge with Sheila, his uncle's cleaning woman and part-time call girl. And then the story gets weird.
About the Author
Bill Scheft is the author of The Ringer and The Best of the Show: A Classic Collection of Wit and Wisdom. He spent eleven years as head monologue writer for David Letterman. He lives in New York City.