3 Things: Ayad Akhtar, Mary Houlihan, and Sandra Allen / by Chris Duffy


Hi friends,

It's Saturday! Every week, I send out an email with my upcoming shows, one thing I think is great, one thing that made me laugh, and one thing I found interesting. 

Upcoming Shows

On every episode of You're the Expert, three comedians try to figure out what a scientist does all day and why their research is so important. Link

Friday, January 12 at 8 p.m. at Union Hall. Jo Firestone and Aparna Nancherla present "Live & Order" a comedic tribute to the true crime genre. I'll be performing a very special role. Link

Saturday, January 27 at 4 p.m. at Caveat. My variety show and low budget Oprah prize giveaway is back with comedy from Hari Kondabolu, a reading by Sandra Allen, and music from Celisse Henderson. Link

My full schedule with all upcoming dates is online here.

This week's list

"A living being before a living audience. Relationship unmediated by the contemporary disembodying screen. Not the appearance of a person, but the reality of one. Not a simulacrum of relationship, but a form of actual relationship." The acclaimed playwright Ayad Akhtar gives a defense of the power of live performance in our age of digital entertainment. He captures so much of why I love performing and watching shows live. An Antidote to Digital Dehumanization

I think the funniest impressions aren't of celebrities, but of people that we all know but have never thought twice about. Mary Houlihan is a master of catching all the tiny nuances in her comedy. The video of her "SNL audition" shows her at her very best. "Audience Member Next to Audience Plant" is perfect. Mary Houlihan SNL Audition Tape

"Sandra Allen did not know her uncle Bob very well. As a child, she had been told he was 'crazy,' that he had spent time in mental hospitals while growing up in Berkeley in the 60s and 70s. But Bob had lived a hermetic life in a remote part of California for longer than she had been alive, and what little she knew of him came from rare family reunions or odd, infrequent phone calls. Then in 2009, Bob mailed her his autobiography. Typewritten in all caps, a stream of error-riddled sentences over sixty single-spaced pages, the often incomprehensible manuscript proclaimed to be a 'true story' about being 'labeled a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic,' and arrived with a  plea to help him get his story out to the world." 

Sandra Allen's new book is a masterpiece. She takes her uncle's story and "translates" it, weaving in historical context and family history of her own. The result is unlike anything else I've ever read. It's breathtaking. I cannot recommend the book enough. A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise

Thanks for reading! Stay warm this week.

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Have a great day,