by Tracey Ullman
Australian stuntwoman Rayleen (“I’ll Tumble For Ya”) Gibson—one of Tracey Ullman’s many antic voices in this print spinoff from her HBO comedy series—is still angry about her old school classes in royal family history. Instead of William I or Charles III, the British TV comedian muses, “they’d be easier to remember if they had names that showed their real character,” like “George the Nutcase, Henry the Serial Killer, [or] Edward the Shirt Lifter.”
Rayleen is joined by a fine comedic cast that includes the gay airline steward, Trevor Ayliss; the charmless Beverly Hills attorney, Sydney Kross (“You name it, I’ll sue it”); and the garrulous doughnut shop proprietor, Mrs. Noh Nang Ning. Blithely interspersed with these creations is the voice of the Emmy-winning Ullman herself, offering autobiographical tidbits on childhood, fame, movies, politics and everyday life.
Altogether this doesn’t quite add up to a Real Book, but rather a kind of Words-and-Pictures Album—there’s even a cutout doll with outfits for all of Tracey’s characters. It’s not for sensitive souls who are put off by gross and politically incorrect humor. But Tracey Takes On, like its wildly talented author, is very funny. (Hyperion, $24.95)