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Robert Schimmel, Cancer on $5 A Day, Book Review

Updated on January 17, 2009

Robert Schimmel's Hilarious, Gritty, Educational Cancer Story....

“Cancer On $5 A Day” is a hilarious, gritty, educational and occasionally raunchy account of comedian Robert Schimmel’s recent battle and recovery from cancer. His love of using f-bombs and constant commentary on the impact of cancer on his sex life, keep the book lively and from becoming another medical text book. You can also learn a lot about what chemotherapy is really like. The famous quote “I laughed, I cried”, is very applicable to reading Schimmel’s book.

I actually brought this book and two others on my honeymoon, as part of my “beach reading” selection. The other two were the traditional chick-let style and this book was the outlier. I started this one on the plane and simply could not put it down. After I read it, my husband read it. The book is less than 200 pages and what I would call a very quick read.

I first discovered Robert Schimmel when I listened to the Howard Stern radio show in the 90’s. He was a frequent, very funny guest whose humor could be described as an intelligent version of the “bathroom”, immature, high school, sexual kind. I loved it! In fact, I went to see Robert perform twice at the Comedy Connection in Boston, MA and was in tears laughing at both shows. There is one famous, kind of disgusting joke that Robert would often tell about using airport bathrooms and what happened. I can’t repeat it on Hub Pages, but it left everyone in hysterics.

Buy The Schimmel Book on Amazon. Only $11.88. Click on The Photo Below

Book Highlights.....

  • Medical marijuana panic attack
  • Sex during chemotherapy
  • Pubic hair toupee- The Merkin
  • His True Love- Melissa
  • His rubber “fake ball”

Events That Led To The Book

In the Spring of 2000 Robert had finally “made it” as a comedian. He’d just won stand up comic of the year, his HBO special, “Unprotected”, was a huge hit and his Fox sitcom had been picked up. However, in June of 2000 he was diagnosed with stage III Non-Hodgkins lymphoma and his life changed immediately. He had to turn down the television series and instead focus on his chemotherapy treatments, long stays in the hospital and his overall recovery from the disease.

As the book cover describes; “Alternately laugh out loud funny and deeply moving, Cancer on $5 A Day is an honest account of how one man’s face off with a deadly disease helped him better understand himself.. and ultimately changed his life”. This description is what led me to the buy the book, and after reading it, I confirmed that the description is right on.

Schimmel on Medical Marijuana- PG13

A Little More About Bob

Schimmel was born in 1950 in the Bronx, New York. He was voted class clown during High School, but his comedy career didn’t officially begin until he performed at a comedy club’s open mike night. Bob eventually moved to LA and with some help from the famous, now deceased comedian Rodney Dangerfield, Bob's comedy career began to take off. He wrote material for some television comedy shows including In Living Color and for other comedians such as Yakov Smirnoff.

Bob married his first wife, Vicki, in 1977, and they had four children together including a son, Derek, who died of cancer at age 11. Schimmel often refers to his son's experience while writing about his own, in the book. Schimmel is now married to his second wife, Melissa, with whom he has two children.

Schimmel is listed at #76 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Standups of All Time. If you want to sample some of Bob’s comedic talents, You Tube has a great selection of clips from his live shows. Warning, these are for adults only! You can try First Time, Teenage Boys or Dog Care.

Schimmel Today

Since Schimmel’s recovery and remission from cancer he is on tour again, has continued to make guest appearances on television and radio shows and has published some new comedy cds and dvds. You can find more information on tour dates, what he’s up to and listen to live clips of some new jokes on Schimmel’s website.

Schimmel Fans Speak Up Here!!

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    • Caterino profile image


      8 years ago from Greenville South Carolina

      Saddened by his passing moments ago- Comedian actor Robert Schimmel passed away not from Cancer but from a fatal car accident.

    • Reynolds_Writing profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Great to hear.. It is an easy read!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I read this book too and it was a great read. I read the entire thing in one day.


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