UNSUCCESSFUL THUG: One Comedian’s Journey From Naptown to Tinsletown, Mike Epps. Harper, $26.99 (288p) ISBN: 9780062684899
Publication date: March 27, 2018
For fans of Charlamagne Tha God’s Black Privilege, Kevin Hart’s I Can’t Make This Up, and Tiffany Haddish’s, The Last Black Unicorn, comes the must-read memoir from Mike Epps, Unsuccessful Thug. In addition to learning there will be a Meet the Blacks sequel, that he made Richard Pryor (who he will portray in a biopic directed by Lee Daniels and produced by and starring Oprah) laugh for the first time in years, and the nerves he overcame when replacing Chris Tucker in Next Friday, Epps divulges about his extreme humble beginnings, engaging in criminal activity because he was starving, his lacking of self-worth, etc., in a manner that is often humorous and always thoughtful.
Like any quality memoir, Epps is very candid in a way that is unapologetic and heartfelt. He isn’t afraid to express vulnerability, and he is sincere about struggling youth from “Naptown,” Indianapolis, beating the odds like he did.
Here are the reasons I’ve cited the aforementioned comparative titles for Unsuccessful Thug: In Black Privilege, Charlamagne, like Epps, had an on-and-off-again history with drug dealing and going to jail despite knowing it was a destructive cycle. They also adopted tough personalities, knowing they were acting just the opposite of their true identities in order to fit in. With I Can’t Make This Up, Epps conquering the standard comedic boot-camp in New York City, as well as relocating to Los Angeles in pursuit of an acting career will remind you of Hart’s, the journey of a comedian. Finally, like Haddish’s The Last Black Unicorn, there is such a raw yet funny journey readers experience when reading Unsuccessful Thug. Haddish and Epps both used laughter as a way to avoid trouble and make others smile, even when they were at some of their lowest points. Unsuccessful Thug is definitely among the most personal and riveting autobiographies.
Unsuccessful Thug is available Tuesday, March 27, 2018.