Wednesday, August 17, 2016

You'll Grow Out of It

by Jessi Klein
Grand Central     2016
304 pages            Essays

And now for something completely different! 

Comedic essays by stand-up comedian and television comedy writer, Jessi Klein. At first, when You'll Grow Out of It arrived from the publisher, I had no idea who Jessi Klein was. (I hesitate to say this because it might make me sound like an old woman and totally out of it.) But then I remembered that she is on "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me!" on NPR sometimes. She also won an Emmy for writing for the Inside Amy Shumer show. 

OK. Now we have her creds out of the way. I picked up the book because I have an enormous stack of books, and I wanted something completely different. You'll Grow Out of It is a series of essays that include some of Klein's stand up routines, and  stories that she told on The Moth, and Comedy Central. Some of the stories are laugh out loud funny, and some are poignant, including the essay about trying to become pregnant. Many of the stories speak to issues of femininity, feminism, and the feminine mystique. There are stories concerning finding someone to date and stories about breaking up. There is a charming story about how she got engaged and a delightful one about the search for a wedding dress. As a modern woman, she doesn't quite understand the whole concept of objectification of the female body and the female psyche. One delightful story talks about how she attempted to get a tighter ass—because she suddenly realized that sexy was now all about butts and not boobs. 

My favorite story is How I Became a Comedian. I have often wondered how someone chooses to enter the rather humiliating world of stand-up comedy. Even though she wanted to do comedy badly, it took her years of therapy and comedy writing in order to get up the courage to get in front of an audience. The story plays to all of our insecurities and anxieties. She found that the late comedienne Joan Rivers was her inspiration to get out there and perform her own material.

I was able to find several of the stories from the book on YouTube. A story about her sister's wedding at Disney World was told on the Moth on You Tube. She reads another of her stories on a website called Riot Live. It is called Poodle vs. Wolf and it concerns those gorgeous women (think Angelina Jolie) who are gorgeous no matter what. They are the Poodles. The wolves are those gorgeous women (think Tina Fey) who have to work a bit harder to be beautiful.

Kirkus Reviews says that You'll Grow Out of It  is a "lively irreverent collection, leaving the impression of a strong woman with a sharp eye for the ludicrous." Jessi Klein is a "gifted comedian" who "turns the anxieties, obsessions, insecurities, and impossible to meet expectations that make up human nature into laughter."

If you loved Bossy Pants, you will enjoy You'll Grow Out of It, although if I had to choose, I would say that Tina Fey's book is better.

An Interview with Jessi Klein
Comedy Central presents Jessi Klein

No comments: