“I’ve been so busy being Ron Burgundy the legend that
I never stopped to really get to know Ron Burgundy the man,” explains the anchorman/icon/walking moustache at the beginning of this legend-inflating autobiography. He proceeds to dash off a brief passage about his parents, before lavishing an entire chapter on his hair, including a warning against something called Harmon Killebrew’s Head Goo. Written by Andrew Steele (scriptwriter for Casa De Mi Padre), with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay supervising, this Anchorman 2 tie-in is every bit as monumentally silly as you’d expect. Following the lead of classic in-character comedy books I Am America (And So Can You!), which lays out the global vision of bear-phobic blowhard Stephen Colbert, and We Need To Talk About Alan, which charts Alan Partridge’s journey around the ring road of mediocrity, Let Me Off At The Top! packs in more unbridled egotism than both put together. To prepare, Burgundy claims he spent more than 1,000 hours having conversations with himself around San Diego. He also had frequent consultations with Lincoln biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin, whose “dogged enthusiasm for the project was only outpaced by her enthusiasm for lovemaking”. The character’s braggadocio is best taken in small doses, and a few segues (like Ron’s guide to Mexican history) fall flat. But other detours into absurdity instantly qualify for the Ron Burgundy Hall Of Fame. The description of his childhood, in a hellish mining town called Haggleworth, is comedy gold, but the book is funniest when it slips into non sequitur think-pieces like ‘Breaking Horses The Burgundy Way’ and ‘What Kind Of Breath Turns A Woman On?’
--For fans, this is a trove of fresh Anchorman lore. There are countless brags (“I invented the Wonderbra and the Super Soaker on the same day”), confessions (“I once ate a ham dinner and then realised it was not ham”) and statements not easily categorised (“I have mixed feelings about bicycles”). There are even historical moments, such as the day Brick entered Ron’s life with the words, “My name is name.” If anything, there’s not enough of the rest of the gang. Maybe Ferrell and McKay are holding back for a Brick autobiography. “I Love Book”?
Reviewed by Nick De Semlyen