From childhood to motherhood, comedian Klein’s fresh takes on the perplexities of womanhood in America.
Head writer and executive producer of the Emmy Award–winning Inside Amy Schumer, the author demonstrates storytelling verve and instincts for the absurd as she targets outlandish ideas about and expectations of women. With her polished skills, honed on the gritty comedy club circuit, The Moth radio series, and as a TV writer, Klein crafts spirited gems that run through readers’ heads like a sharp sitcom. In “How I Became a Comedian,” the author tracks her career in vignettes of ambition, insecurity, and fear of performing. She has been told that doing stand-up is a brave act, but she disagrees. Any courage she has found grew out of a “desperate, aching need,” and it took her years of therapy before she could get onstage. In the meantime, she was successful writing comedy for other people. Joan Rivers’ “force and lust and decisiveness” were inspirations for Klein to finally make the leap. Throughout the book, there is no shortage of ludicrous behavior to riff on. Having never quite outgrown her tomboy spirit, she’s confounded by the objectified images of women that persistently invade the female psyche, hers included. In “Bar Method and the Secrets of Beautiful Women,” Klein chronicles her suffering through tortuous exercise in hopes of a tighter backside. In the hilarious “Lingerie Dilemma,” the author, a cotton underwear sort of gal, prepares for a date with a new paramour by braving a French lingerie store where she tries on scanty undies under the watchful eyes of the “impossibly thin and beautiful” Frenchwomen who all look like Charlotte Gainsbourg. Ultimately, she writes, “lingerie is never really worth the agita.” In the end, though, all the aggravation that comes her way pays off in this lively, irreverent collection, leaving the impression of a strong woman with a sharp eye for the ludicrous.
A gifted comedian turns the anxieties, obsessions, insecurities, and impossible-to-meet expectations that make up human nature into laughter.