3 Things: George Saunders, Jim Jefferies, and Les Blank / by Chris Duffy

Hi friends,

If you're new to these emails, welcome! Every Saturday, I send out a short email with three great things. If you feel like you haven't gotten these emails in a while, try checking to make sure this email is a trusted address so they aren't getting filtered to spam. For live shows, I've got a bunch featured below and a complete list on my website. Feel free to spread the word about these emails! Anyone can sign up for the mailing list online and/or check out the archive with all past emails here.


There's a new episode of You're the Expert out now. On our latest episode, we talk to Boston's official city archaeologist, Joe Bagley, all about his passion for discovering ancient bathrooms and the secrets they hold. Featuring the hilarious Myq Kaplan, Steve Almond, and Bethany Van Delft. Listen online here!

A short play I wrote is debuting on Monday in NYC as part of a new works festival called Cherry Picking. Tickets are sold out but if you didn't snag one, you can put your name on the waitlist here.

On Labor Day, Evan Barden and I are teaming back up for the next edition of the Most Incredible 1-Hour Language School. This month's language is Modern Greek! Come learn how to heckle a comedian, sing a song, and tell a joke over the course of a hilarious hour of games and sketches. Reserve your spot here!

Tickets for the next You're the Expert taping in NYC are going fast! Many of the other shows at the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival have already sold out and we just announced that our panel includes Jo Firestone and 30 Rock's Scott Adsit so don't miss outGet tickets here

Lots more show dates in Boston, DC, Virginia, and New York up on the website now.

Ok, on to this week's list!

1 Thing I Think Is Great:

George Saunders is more than just a writer and a MacArthur genius. He's also a genuinely good person. That's made abundantly clear in this lovely speech he gave at Syracuse University on the importance of kindness. This really resonated with me this week. It's so easy to get caught up in the daily struggles of work and stress and the future. But Saunders cuts right through all of that. "It's a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I'd say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder." Life Advice from George Saunders


1 Thing That Made Me Laugh:

Comedy can be a wonderful escape from the seemingly endless onslaught of tragic, heartbreaking news. There's nothing wrong with taking a break for a few minutes to bring some laughter and joy into your life. But the most inspiring comedians are able to confront the darkest topics head on and make them hilarious while also illuminating them. That's exactly what Jim Jefferies does in this standup tour de force from his special taped in Boston. It's so thoughtful, hilarious, and spot on, that it actually stops me from being cynical about the possibility of breaking the cycle of violence. Jim Jefferies: Gun Control


1 Interesting Thing:

I love the films of Les Blank for how idiosyncratic and positive they are. Blank made movies about things that he personally loved. Who else makes a documentary about the deliciousness of garlic or how beautiful women with a gap in their front teeth are? His films are all infused with a palpable sense of joy and excitement. They almost all have a scene where a crowd eats some tasty food and they always have great music. When I read a nonfiction piece by John McPhee or watch a documentary by Les Blank, I'm struck by how broad their interests are and how vividly they're able to make a story out of the smallest topics.

Here's a taste of a film Blank made about a tea importer named David Lee Hoffman, who is obsessed with finding the world's best tea. "During his youth he spent four years with Tibetan monks in Nepal, which included a friendship with the Dalai Lama, and was introduced to some of the finest of teas. Unable to find anything but insipid tea bags in the U.S., Hoffman began traveling to China, the homeland of tea. There, he struggles against language barriers and Byzantine business codes to convince the Chinese that the farmers make better tea than the factories and their craft should be honored and preserved." All in This Tea

Ok, thanks for reading! More details on shows and my full schedule online at www.chrisduffycomedy.com/calendar/

Have a great weekend,