JOHN LEGUIZAMO (autobiography review)

So I finally finished reading the book called Pimps, HOs, Playa Hatas, and all the rest of my Hollywood friends: A Life by the great actor called John Leguizamo. You may remember him from films such as Romeo and Juliet as well as Moulin Rouge where he played troubled Frenchman Toulouse-Lautrec. The actor is charismatic and enigmatic, and it’s no secret his impro’ technique has riled many famous actors. If you buy his book looking for Hollywood news and inside info, you may be disappointed, in the prologue he admits that legal reasons have affected the way he portrays the truth.

The book is a great read in itself and demonstrates his talent as a writer, and it certainly blends a light comic touch, with the obvious streak of self hate, that is rife through most comedians; and he thoroughly explores it within the publication.

The strengths of the book lay (or lie?) in his description of the Hollywood business, and the machinations behind the camera. He ably explains that the well payed actors (certainly in the public’s eyes) are the ones who look great and know how to play the system, understanding that business acumen goes far further than talent.

As a funny publication it rates highly with some entertaining and genuine laugh out loud hilarity for the film buffs amongst us. His antics on the set of some of his earlier films, would make good films if documented themselves. It has to be said however that when you compare the writing to some more weightier biographies within the world of Hollywood, such as the great Sir Peter Ustinov’s or some of the works published by David Niven (still not much bettered in the last 30 years for what my opinion is worth) it falls short of being memorable.

It’s a highly entertaining read, and for that worth buying, but I feel the author doesn’t live up to the excellent work he has done in stand up and in script writing (truly underrated and perhaps not understood in the UK), he would be better suited to writing a fictional piece based on his misadventures. In a world where the lawyers would have a field day with his truth, I advise him to turn to fiction and with his skills for comedy and audience empathy he would prove very successfull.


  1. Thanks for your comment BTW.

    I would imagine that some of John's stand up would miss the mark a bit in the UK because there isn't a sizable latin population for the audience to draw on. Kind of like how a UK show like Goodness Gracious Me would be over the heads of most Americans in regards to the Indian culture. Much of his act is based on the stereotypes and misconceptions of the latin community here. But even without that he is, indeed, a funny man.

    I'd say that as a whole John is an underrated performer in acting, writing and stand up even here in the US. He's someone that will become a legend in time which is much better than overnight. The overnight successes ted to be forgotten quickly. We need John to stick around.

  2. I quite agree, having managed some web recordings of him, he is spot on. And very good point about Goodness Gracious Me.

  3. I quite agree, having managed some web recordings of him, he is spot on. And very good point about Goodness Gracious Me.




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