3 Things: Crosswords, Josh Gondelman, and Hong Kong / by Chris Duffy

Happy Saturday!

Every week, I send out an email with my show dates and recommendations of things I think you might enjoy. I also try to include a little bit of a life update or at least some thoughts. But I don't have much to report this week. I've just been trying to put myself out there and meet new people here in LA. It's such a strange, awkward process to make new friends as an adult. I meet someone who seems interesting and all of a sudden, I'm thinking "Should I get his number? Is it weird to give her my email?" And when I finally get up the courage to do it, sometimes the other person is like "Oh thank god! I was trying to figure out if it would be weird to give my info to you!" That's how I know I've made a new friend. Two identical sets of neuroses colliding. 

Upcoming Shows

Both full seasons of Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas are streaming online and on HBO Go. Link

You can listen to all the episodes of my podcast You're the Expert on any podcast app. Three comedians interview a scientist about her work and why it matters. Link

Pop-Up Magazine's Escape Issue starts September 20th. "A night of live storytelling, music, art, and performance devoted to escapes big and small, daring and mundane, physical and mental." If you haven't bought tickets yet, you can get $5 off with the code "CONTRIBUTORGUEST"

SOLD OUT San Francisco: Friday, September 20th at the Sydney Goldstein Theater
Oakland: Saturday, September 21st at the Paramount Theatre
San Diego: Monday, September 23rd at Observatory North Park
Los Angeles: Thursday, September 26th at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel
Vancouver: Saturday, September 28th at the Vogue Theatre
Washington, DC: Monday, October 7th at the Lincoln Theatre
New York: Thursday, October 10th at Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall
Chicago: Saturday, October 12th at the Athenaeum Theatre

Tickets for all shows on sale here

This week’s list

I'd never been into crosswords before this summer, but then my friend Gary introduced me to the NYT Daily Minis. Gary told me it's the first thing he does every morning. Taking a minute or two to solve a mini puzzle gets his brain working and productivity flowing. Typically my morning routine has been wake up, open Instagram, check email, check texts, re-open Instagram, re-check email, check my calendar, and then re-re-open Instagram once more for good measure. But Gary sold me, so I've switched over to the minis. My mornings have been much better.

On a related crossword note, this week I saw one of the funniest and most mind-blowing comedy performances of my life: Zach Sherwin's Crossword Show. It is indescribable, but if you get the chance to see it live, you absolutely have to go. It's monthly in LA but also tours the country and you can find out when it's coming to you on their website.

Josh Gondelman is a master joke writer and has the Emmy awards and Peabodys to prove it. He's also a man who worries about being pranked, being stabbed, and being humiliated by footage of his high school musical. In other words, he's very relatable. I love Josh and I loved this piece: A Few of My Greatest Fears, In No Particular Order

I've been following the protests in Hong Kong, and while I feel very uninformed about the history and geopolitical context involved, I also admire the courage and dedication regular people are showing in standing up for themselves. I found this essay by Karen Cheung particularly moving, especially since she's clearly putting herself at risk by publishing it under her real name. The Mask I Wear on the Weekends

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Stay safe out there,