Jeff Nichols
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Jeff Nichols

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
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The best kept secret in music


"New York Times overview" - The New York Times

"TrainWreck MY life as an Idoit"

Trainwreck: My Life as an Idoit
'Trainwreck: My Life as an Idoit'

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A Chicago Pictures Distribution release of a This Is That Prods. production, in association with TruEntertainment. (International sales: This Is That, New York.) Produced by Anne Carey, Robert Delp, Daniel Sadek, Elie Samaha. Executive producers, Al Hayes, Jennifer Roth, Tod Williams. Co-producer, Graham Larson. Directed by Tod Harrison Williams. Screenplay, Williams, based on the memoir "The Little Yellow Bus" by Jeff Nichols.

Jeff - Seann William Scott
Lynn - Gretchen Mol
Lenny - Jeff Garlin
Mommy - Dierdre O'Connell
Mike - Denis O'Hare
Bert - Kevin Conway
A startlingly funny look at life in the messed-up lane, "Trainwreck: My Life As an Idoit" -- misspelling intentional -- might be dismissed as cinematic tomfoolery if it weren't based closely on events recounted in comic Jeff Nichol's memoir. Beautifully put-together pic's main appeal is a far-ranging central perf from Seann William Scott, who doesn't try to ingratiate, yet comes off as far more likable than in his many fratboy roles. Fans of "American Pie" might find this one a bit arty, but "Trainwreck" is anarchic enough to win over younger auds if smartly approached.
With buzz cut, beard and quietly maniacal stare, Scott plays a dyslexic, alcoholic, ADD-addled New Yorker with a strong need for attention and a mild case of Tourette's (although that affliction isn't convincingly portrayed). Scripter-helmer Tod Harrison Williams' most brilliant touch is to have Jeff join an endless round of AA-type groups -- some completely unrelated to his issues -- the better to explain his problems at annoyingly hilarious length. Pic mostly consists of flashbacks that illustrate (or refute) the points he is making in public.

Main troubles seem to connect back to Mommy, as he always calls her, although scenes with his mother (Dierdre O'Connell) and stepdad (Denis O'Hare) show them to be nothing worse than self-absorbed upper-crusters who reach for their checkbooks a little too easily. Somehow, their guidance has given him the skills only to sink boats, lose jobs and burn down the family mansion. But he does like to fish. And talk.

Palavering skills are what get him involved with Lynn, a sexy socialite from one of his many meetings. Played by Gretchen Mol in what may be her most poignant perf to date, the woman is a conflicted nightmare regarding relationships, but her extreme patience with Jeff's foibles (at one point, he soils her sheets) eventually helps him discover a few key things about normal living.

Along with superb support from Mol, Scott gets memorable assistance from Jeff Garlin ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"). And there's a terrific cameo from Kevin Conway as an upstate man (whom Jeff calls Uncle Popcorn) who tries to set the lad straight while kicking him out of his garage.

Handsomely shot and edited pic doesn't try too hard to fix its protag by the end, but it does cover enough emotional territory, supported by spare original music and well-chosen pop songs, to satisfy auds while making them laugh. Real-life Nichols is glimpsed doing standup comedy during end credits.

- Variety magazine

"TrainWreck review"

Trainwreck: My Life as an Idoit

By T.J. Clemente

There are certain books you read to gather wisdom. There are others that you read and gain wisdom from by drawing on your own life experiences. Then there is Jeff Nichols' new book, Trainwreck: My life as an Idoit. This book is the story of a well-heeled wasp boy with dyslexia, ADD, and a touch of Tourette's syndrome, who still has the ability to stumble through life like Mr. Magoo and get it done. He traces his privileged education through various schools his parents spent good money on, and rolls out a pattern of events that happen when you have handicaps and are misunderstood.

Because Nichols tells his story with the cadence of a stand up comic, this book will provide you with some really good belly laughs and many chuckles. Nichols' tongue in cheek delivery of everything from job interviews, prep school events, sub-teaching assignments and his time at Hobart College would translate perfectly to a John Belushi film.

What makes this book relevant, besides its ability to make the reader laugh, is its invitation into the world of dealing with dyslexia and trying to fit into normal life. Too often too many take for granted their ability to do the simple functions within a job, taking an aptitude test, or just filling out forms correctly.

Nichols, with his wit, laughs you through the tragedy his early life could have been had it not been for his perseverance and luck. He was blessed by parents who could, and did, spend money to help their son with his learning disorders - and actually succeeded. Often people with learning disabilities don't have the option of going to prep school.

Nichols turns the horrors of his life into humorous stories for others to relate to and draw knowledge from, only to have his punch line bring out the laughter. Beware when reading this book in public - you will laugh out loud. Stories of drinking in college, frequent drug-taking, and the stumbles one takes, bumbling through life, remind us of those moments when we too were idiots, stars of our own tragic comedy.

The gift to be able to laugh about your misfortunes and get others to laugh too is perhaps Nichols' calling. Many know Nichols as a Montauk fishing captain, others as a comedian, but after you read this book, you will always remember Jeff Nichols as a survivor who won when the odds where stacked against even a privileged boy. Trainwreck, published by Touchstone, will never be confused with Melville's Moby Dick. But it'll make you laugh a lot more.

- Dans Paper's

"Crazy Train"

Onetime stand-up comic channels his life experience and misadventures into autobiography

Jeff Nichols’ autobiography, “Trainwreck: My Life as an Idoit,” [the misspelling is intentional] could be a surefire cure for depression -- once you start reading about his misadventures, you’ll think, “gee, at least I’m not that much of a screw-up.”

A onetime stand-up comic, Nichols labored through his formative years with learning disabilities, ADD, mild Tourette’s and rampant drug and alcohol abuse. How bad did it get? At one point, he fell asleep in his parents’ vacation home after turning on a space heater, proceeding to accidentally burn down the entire property.

That kind of sums up a lot of Nichols’ errant behavior. All of this is told, unsparingly, in “Trainwreck.” But in the telling, Nichols does make it all entertaining somehow, mainly out of self-aware self-deprecation. Moreover, his brisk prose and short entertainingly titled chapters keep one turning the pages out of curiosity about what rude outrage Nichols will commit next.

Even with that brevity, Nichols’ writing also has a stream-of-consciousness quality, befitting his mindset, that carries the reader along. He does tend to jump around between phases of his life, from stories about his high school and college years, to woeful incompetence as a sailor and commercial fisherman, as well as bombing as a stand-up comic.

But somehow, it all feels like pieces of a coherent whole. Slowly but surely, entertaining all the way, we do see that Nichols is finding his way out of these messes of his own making. And by the end, readers will be surprised to see that despite all of this, Nichols has become a responsible, functioning adult. Kind of gives some hope to those of us who weren’t as bad off to start with.

- THe Jester Junnal

"Train Wreck MY nlife as an Idoit Review"

Trainwreck: My Life As an Idoit
Comedian Jeff Nichols holds nothing back in his shocking, candid memoir about life with ADHD and dyslexia.

by Jeff Nichols
Touchstone; $15
Purchase Trainwreck

This book is an irreverent, expletive-filled romp through the author’s life. From youth to adulthood, Nichols relates ADHD-fueled adventures that made him the person he is today.

Along with ADHD, Nichols also struggled with dyslexia. He was detached from the organized world around him, and he wandered into a life of drug and alcohol addictions, rebellion, and sexual escapades. Is it any wonder that his life was made into a movie?

Later in the book, Nichols details his years working as a stand-up comedian. His anecdotes are funny and the pacing makes for an entertaining read. Many adults with ADHD flounder in their early twenties—Nichols was no exception—but Nichols got his feet under him and hit his stride, eventually becoming a commercial fisherman and sea captain.

Nichols’ self-deprecating humor has a comedian’s ease. Still, the book is rough reading—a virtual bloodletting. Nichols doesn’t spare a detail. His was not a charmed or noble life, but many readers will appreciate his honesty
- Additude magazine

"Writers Round up TrainWreck"

Train Wreck: My Life as an Idoit
By Jeff Nichols

Jeff Nichols is a walking, raving lunatic. A former drug and alcohol abusing stand-up comic, he suppresses his raging inner-demons, the byproduct of these former addictions, through excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar, compounding his diagnosis of attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, Tourette syndrome and God only knows what else into an eternal state of manic rambunctiousness. His admitted madness, laziness and warped sense of values have not equated with the traditional societal benchmarks for success. Living a step away from homelessness and in relative obscurity for much of his adult life, Nichols alerts his readers that his memoir is not about overcoming disabilities to achieve greatness. This type of honesty permeates throughout all of Train Wreck, with the one exception being the title, where Nichols refers to himself as an “idiot,” misspelled intentionally. His witticism, knack for storytelling, and exploration of the human psyche and social interaction are surprisingly profound, hilariously capturing a perspective of the human experience that is rarely available for public consumption.

101 Glimpses of the North Shore

Author: Zach Napolitano
The grandeur of Zach Napolitano's physique, the complexity of his worldview, the decency and taste implicit in his carriage, the grace with which he functions in the mire of today's world—all of these confuse and astound.Did you enjoy this article? Share it with others.

Reader Comments | read reactions to this article
muriel weinstein wrote on August 16, 2009
Excellent idea to have books reviewed as it is the reading of books that makes us an intelligent civilized society.
It is the book review that motivates a reader to read the book, motivates him/her to buy it or makes a library buy it so it aids the economy too…specifically, the publisher & the writer. Another facet, it can inspire younger readers to write, it plants seeds, it encourages new writers, new readers and even those who are on the fence about reading and writing. So the book review has many facets and should be alive and well in all newspapers & magazines. Yes, and & how wise the editor of a paper who who insists on book reviews.

James wrote on August 01, 2009
well done

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- Long Island Post magazine

"Author Interview Train Wreck"

Guide to Manhattan
Comedian Jeff Nichols explains why he ended up as a dog walker instead of on Wall Street
By Heather Peterson
. .

IN JEFF NICHOLS’ memoir Trainwreck: My Life as an Idoit, the stand-up comedian divulges his problems growing up with ADD and dyslexia—before he gets into the dirty bits about bong smoking and prostitutes. His story—both troubling and funny—was optioned and recently made into a movie. Sounds like he’s made the most of his dysfunction—but then it turns out the film might not be released. “The economy is in the shitter,” explains Nichols. But he was still happy to speak to us about The Odd Couple, his transsexual eye doctor (and tennis pro) Renée Richards and why he’s glad he didn’t end up working at a hedge fund.

Back when you were growing up with dyslexia and ADD, these conditions weren’t readily diagnosed or treated like they are now. How were you diagnosed?

I grew up on the Upper East Side. My dyslexia wasn’t detected until I was in the first grade at the Trinity School (this was around 1973). I was put in the worst reading group, and when I started slowing that group down, they told my parents I should be evaluated.The school psychologist thought that I might have this thing called dyslexia but not to worry because Albert Einstein had dyslexia. My mom, excited about the prospect that I might be a genius, had my IQ tested. But I wound up testing slightly below average. I was ultimately diagnosed with dyslexia by my eye doctor, the transsexual Renée Richards. I don’t think I was diagnosed with ADD until I was an adult.

Related contentBash Compactor: North Poles Pawing and Snorting Down on the Lower East SideIntroducing Lexi LoveBash Compactor: Tender Isn't The NightGrim IlluminationBack on the Chain GangRelated to:
nypressnew yorktrainwreckidoitjeffnicholsdyslexiawereaboutmadepeopleoscarhadaddNowadays, people argue that Ritalin and other drugs used to treat these conditions are overprescribed and sometimes abused. What are your thoughts on this?

Parents are tormented about whether to put their kids on Ritalin.There’s a play out now with Cynthia Nixon called Distracted that illustrates how difficult this decision is. It’s a phenomenal drug, but it has huge side effects, including transformation of personality. I always think of it this way: Oscar Madison, one of the characters in The Odd Couple, was a huge slob, which is sometimes a symptom of ADD. If Oscar Madison were on Ritalin, he wouldn’t be a slob anymore. Ritalin makes you clean, focused and very aware of the order of things.The problem is that Oscar Madison wouldn’t have been Oscar Madison any more; he would probably just want to get his hands on more Ritalin.

It seems that you sometimes used drugs and alcohol to help you compensate for your learning disabilities—to fit in socially or make you more confident.

Life is generally a pain in the ass. It’s all paperwork. I have a chapter on all of the mundane.The basic stuff that comes at people: the bills, the paperwork, the applications.

People with learning disabilities struggle with that stuff. Other people probably do, too, but when you have a learning disability, it makes it that much harder. Drinking and drugs give you solace from that kind of stuff. I have been dry for 20 years now.Your problems just get bigger when you use drugs and alcohol as an escape.

So was writing the book therapeutic for you?

I thought it was a good story to make a memoir out of. Believe me, it was not initially embraced by the literary community.

David Eggers thought it was terrible and that it should go through the shredder. A friend of mine is the one who said that I should call it “My Life as An Idoit,” and then that got added to the title. But by the time the movie was made, I had kinda given up. But then, [my agent] made a bidding war for it between HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster.The book sold in a day and a half. So it’s not really a happy ending,
- THe NY Press

"Cindy Adams Colum NY POST "local faces""

Jeff Nichols has a movie based on his funny/intersting Memior TrainWreeck MY life as an Idoit, Starring Gretchen Mol and Jeff Galin IN the Hapton's film festival this weekend. - NYPOST


Still working on that hot first release.



Jeff Nichols is a humorist, and critically a claimed author.
His program is unique, relevant and necessary because he specifically addresses the abuse of A.D.D medication, (Aderall and Ritalin) on college campus. Katie Couric from CBS news recently called, “ADD medications abuse a top health issues on campuses today”.
Jeff travels with a never released feature film based on his memoir, Train Wreck My Life as an Idoit . . The film, which stars Seann William Scott aka “Stifler”, depicts his experiences with learning disabilities and how drugs and alcohol played havoc with his life.
Jeff augments his funny/informative lecture of how he overcame his learning disabilities and substance abuse problems with a PowerPoint presentation and clips from movie. Though some of it is disturbing (kids will scared by the facts) – it is also the inspiring true tale of how a Special Education student inspired a Hollywood movie.

From the Simon & Schuster website:

Growing up a privileged Manhattan kid, Jeff Nichols should have had it all. Instead, he got a plethora of impairments: learning disabilities, a speech impediment, dyslexia, ADD, and a mild case of Tourette's syndrome.

In Trainwreck, his weird and witty memoir of utter dysfunction, Nichols gives an irreverent look at how one "idoit" made good. Bounced from elite private schools, he limps through college, earning the nickname "Iron Lung" for his uncanny ability to inhale from a four-foot bong without coughing. By the skin of his teeth, he graduates and lands a job on Wall a moving target for coked-up traders tossing order cards at his head. Bumming money from his parents to pay for drugs and prostitutes, Nichols hits bottom before he discovers Alcoholics Anonymous, the perfect place to develop material for his new career in stand-up. Several disastrous twists and turns later, he finally makes good when a crazy stroke of luck leads to his story being turned into a feature film by the same production company behind indie hits like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Savages.

Hilarious and oddly inspiring, Trainwreck is proof that a life disastrously lived can still turn out beyond anybody's wildest imaginings.