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Lizz Free or Die: Essaysby Lizz Winstead
Synopses & Reviews
The hilarious and poignant account of how one woman found her comedic voice.
Growing up in the Midwest, the youngest child of Catholic parents, Lizz Winstead learned early that the straightforward questions she posed to various authority figures around her—her parents, her parish priest, even an anti-abortion counselor—prompted many startled looks and uncomfortable silences, but few plausible answers. Her questions rattled adults because they exposed the inconsistencies and hypocrisies in the people and institutions she confronted.
Yet she didn’t let that deter her. In Lizz Free or Die, Winstead vividly recounts how she fought to find her own voice, both as a comedian and as a woman, and how humor became her most powerful weapon in confronting life’s challenges.
Uproarious and surprising, honest and poignant, this no-holds-barred collection of autobiographical essays gives an in-depth look into the life and creativity of one of today’s most influential comic voices. In writing about her naive longing to be a priest, her role in developing The Daily Show, and her often problematic habit of diving into everything headfirst, asking questions later (resulting in multiple rescue-dog adoptions and travel disasters), Lizz Winstead has tapped an outrageous and heartfelt vein of the all-too-human comedy.
"Co-creator of Comedy Central's The Daily Show and all-around champion of smart, topical humor, Winstead's debut is an intelligent and witty collection of essays cataloging her trajectory from a Catholic childhood in Minneapolis to her current work as comedian and television producer. The book starts off a bit slow, strolling through Winstead's precious but mostly generic youth. Arriving at young-adulthood, the essays become immediately funnier and more compelling. Stories from Minneapolis' 'Punk Rock Ghetto'-about rooming with a very young Michele Norris (of NPR fame), witnessing the early moments of Rosanne Barr and Tom Arnold's romance, and listening to Prince perform hometown shows at a local club-are vicarious fun. An essay about an early, disastrous gig is hysterically funny, and her first-hand accounts of the early days of The Daily Show and Air America Radio are fascinating. The collection is inconsistent, and Winstead acknowledges that the book is an experiment of sorts, but frankness about your intentions and experience doesn't save you from the duds. That said, the good ones are very good, addressing the ups and downs of career, family, and friendship with honesty and humor. "
Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Lizz Winstead is co-creator and former head writer of The Daily Show and one of the founders of Air America Radio. A performer and stand-up comedian, she frequently appears on MSNBC, CNN, and Comedy Central. She lives in Brooklyn. Learn more at www.lizzwinstead.com or follow her on twitter @lizzwinstead.
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