3 Things: Kurt Vonnegut, Todd Barry, and Meghan O'Hara / by Chris Duffy

Hi friends,

It's Saturday! Every week, I send out an email with one thing I think is great, one thing that made me laugh, and one thing I found interesting. Feel free to spread the word and share these emails with friends. If you're checking this out for the first time, you can see the archive and sign up to get these emails here.

 Upcoming shows

The final You're the Expert episode of this season just got released and it's one of my all-time favorites. Dr. Nancy Pokrywka tells us about all about the surprisingly beautiful mysteries of the fruit fly.  Link

It's Tax Day, and if you're looking for some IRS-related jokes and information, you know I have you covered. The latest episode of The Payoff is all about a tax mystery and the advice I never knew I needed to know. Link
Sunday, April 23rd at 4:00 p.m. at the Brattle Theater. I'll be hosting You're the Expert live with Aparna Nancherla, Jo Firestone, and Marina Franklin. Link

Thursday, May 4th at 9:00 p.m. at UCB East. I'm telling jokes on Fresh Out! a great standup show hosted by the hilarious Ashley Brooke Roberts and Jim Tews. Link

Tuesday, May 16th. Time and location TBA. I'm leading a walking tour of NYC's most hilarious signs and graffiti as part of a series put together by filmmaker Bianca Giaever.

Saturday, July 22nd at the Kennedy Center. Tickets aren't on sale for this yet, but mark your calendars because Jo Firestone and I are opening for Aparna Nancherla at the Kennedy Center and it's going to be an incredible night.

My full calendar with all upcoming shows is online here.

 This week's list

1 Thing I Think Is Great:

I've had time this week to get back to my own writing and work on some projects that I'd been meaning to finish for quite a while. Anytime I get stuck, I find myself going back to Kurt Vonnegut's advice for writers. I love his books, but he was also so thoughtful about his process and generous in sharing what he'd learned.

This is a response he sent to a high school English class who'd written him. "What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow."

Read that whole letter here  or another favorite, Vonnegut's "How To Write With Style" (note, this is a PDF). 

1 Thing That Made Me Laugh:

Todd Barry is understated and hilarious, a master joke writer, but also just as good at improvising and working a crowd. I just finished his new book, Thank You For Coming To Hattiesburg, a travel diary of "secondary markets," all the slightly off-the-road places he could find to perform. Todd's so good at seeing very strange details and making them hilarious. A perfect example of this is the section on his website he maintains as a "Receipt Museum." It makes me laugh so hard. It's basically Todd roasting weird receipts that he's gotten from restaurants. Make sure to scroll down and read them all. Todd Barry's Receipt Museum

1 Interesting Thing:

Meghan O'Hara's documentary The C Word is out now on Netflix. It's both a personal story of her diagnosis with cancer and a very interesting look at the factors influencing illness and health in America. The topic sounds like it could be depressing, but it's not, and I was amazed at what she uncovered. I had no idea that Philip Morris and other tobacco companies own and produce nearly all the processed food in the US. It's unbelievable when you see the similarities between how they sell Kraft and how they sold cigarettes. If you have Netflix, it's definitely worth a watch. If you're still not sold, Morgan Freeman narrates. The C Word

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend,