3 Things: Krista Tippett, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, and Jack Gilbert / by Chris Duffy

Happy 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

The current episode of You're the Expert features Dr. Lauren Nolfo-Clements and her research on giant swamp rodents. Link

Sunday, August 26th at 5:30 p.m. I'm teaching a workshop at the Vermont Comedy Club on writing for television and then telling some jokes at the club afterwards. Come join for one or both! Link

Saturday, August 11th at 6:00 p.m. in Prospect Park. Comedians in a Blanket is a combination of a picnic and standup show. It's always delightful. Follow the giant white balloons to get to the show. Link

Monday, August 26th at 7:30 p.m. at The Wild Project. A short play I wrote is making its debut as part of Cherry Picking, an annual festival of new work. Tickets are already almost sold out, so if you want to come, don't delay. Link

I'm going to be announcing a lot more show dates soon. As always, you can find my schedule with all upcoming dates online here.

This week's list

This summer, I've spent a fair amount of time outdoors in natural places where I couldn't get cell service or check email even if I wanted to. And that's led me to think more deeply about how I engage with the news, politics, and current events. I know it's irresponsible to shut everything out and live in ignorance, but taking in the full firehose of misery, corruption, and despair sometimes feels like more than I can handle. I don't know the right answer, but I loved hearing Krista Tippett (from NPR's On Being) wrestle with that same conundrum. I think her response is beautiful and important to take in. "Hope is a muscle" and "joy is a piece of basic human resilience." How Can We Be Present to What's Happening in the World Without Giving in to Despair and Hopelessness?

The profile of Gwyneth Paltrow in The New York Times Magazine went viral and deservedly so. It is hilarious and provocative and a pleasure to read. But the star here isn't Gwyneth (although, WOW, Gwyneth), it's Taffy Brodesser-Akner, the writer. She is so funny and so sharp. Here's one of my favorite passages, where she describes exactly what the GOOP newsletter is:

"The newsletter was at first kind of mainstream New Age-forward. It had some kooky stuff in it, but nothing totally outrageous. It was concerned with basic wellness causes, like detoxes and cleanses and meditation. It wasn't until 2014 that it began to resemble the thing it is now, a wellspring of both totally legitimate wellness tips and completely bonkers magical thinking: advice from psychotherapists and advice from doctors about how much Vitamin D to take (answer: a lot! Too much!) and vitamins for sale and body brushing and dieting and the afterlife and crystals and I swear to God something called Psychic Vampire Repellent, which is a 'sprayable elixir' that uses 'gem healing' to something something 'bad vibes.'"

After reading her Gwyneth profile, I went down a Taffy rabbit hole. All her work is amazing, but if you liked this one you might also enjoy Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle. I'm ready to declare myself a full Taffy-Head. Taffy Brodesser-Akner

I recently discovered the poet Jack Gilbert and, like the Krista Tippett interview, it spoke so directly to everything that's going on in the world today. For about six months in 1962 he was one of the most famous writers in the world, but then he turned away from fame and chose to live in semi-obscurity in Greece, Japan, and rural Massachusetts. He kept living and writing about the importance of living and beauty and joy in the midst of the darkness in the world. A Brief for the Defense by Jack Gilbert

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Have a great weekend,