A Review of ‘Party of One’, a Memoir by Former MTV Contributor Dave Holmes
“Hey, I remember that guy!” are the words that rang in my head when I read the synopsis of Party of One by Dave Holmes and saw his picture on the back flap on the inside of the jacket. The name sounded familiar also. “He was the guy who tried out to be a veejay on MTV a few decades ago when the channel still played music. He should have won, but even second place landed him a job.” That last part of the dialogue I shared with my wife.
If you’re looking for a book that’s both lighthearted and entertaining, this is it. Holmes is actually a very witty writer. One of my favorite stories from his memoir involves Jesse Camp, the guy who actually won the veejay competition. As Holmes put it, they were seated on a plane together, and Holmes was half asleep when Jesse attempted to sneak past him, presumably to go to the bathroom, and in the process of doing so, he stepped on Holmes’ foot, spilled a glass of wine on his chest, and “broke wind directly into my open mouth” (as far as he could tell, Jesse was around 7-feet tall).
Dave Holmes doesn’t spend too much time on celebrity gossip, but did devote one short chapter to some quick takes and anecdotes involving musicians like Kid Rock and Eminem. Holmes recalled how a sleazy Kid Rock’s classless mouth drove a few colleagues out of a jacuzzi, and labeled Eminem as “kind of a dick”; the kind of celebrity who whines about their bottle of water being room temperature and suffers from a “tiresome persecution complex” while making millions yelling the word faggot.
A more important takeaway from the book is the author’s own experience with his homosexuality. It’s pretty funny when he talks about a “beefy forearm”, but also enlightening to hear the perspective of a homosexual who experienced society’s transformation from not being very welcoming of homosexuality (1980s) to one in which the Supreme Court defends same sex marriage as a fundamental right under the 14th Amendment (2015). He also takes on the stereotypes of homosexual men that surprisingly persist today, like the whole lisp thing, and explained with true wit the absurdity of being setup on blind dates by straight friends who assumed he’d be perfect for this or that guy simply because they shared one thing in common: they were both gay.
“’You have to meet my friend Thomas/Richard/Harold, you guys will be perfect together,’ someone would tell you, and then you’d go have a drink with someone with whom you have no chemistry whatsoever and realize: the reason this person thought we’d be perfect together is that we’re both homosexuals and there are no other reasons.”
I was really very surprised by this book. I didn’t know what to expect, and Holmes is truly a sharp, witty and skilled writer. My wife bought it for me on Father’s Day a year or two ago from the type of store most people don’t buy books from; that is to say that it was probably discounted to the price of a quality loaf of sliced bread. Which is a damn shame if I’m right, because it’s worth, well, several quality loaves.