Lizz Free Or Die: Essays

Lizz Winstead, Author
Lizz Winstead. Riverhead, $25.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-59448-702-6
Paperback - 323 pages - 978-1-59463-142-9
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-58081-3
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-58248-0
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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. (May)
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