BOOK of the MONTH: Lizz Free or Die


Lizz Free or Die by Lizz Winstead. Publisher: Riverhead (May 2012). Memoir/Essay. Hardcover. 320 pages. 978-1-59448-702-6.

Along with hundreds of other people, I follow Lizz Winstead on Twitter. She’s a smart, quick-witted, honest feminist. I know she ardently works with Planned Parenthood to raise money and awareness for pro-choice issues of sexual education, sexual freedom. Only recently I found out she created The Daily Show as well as started Air America. The Minneapolis native has been a political satirist and stand-up comedian for decades.

Lizz Free or Die is a collection of essays about family, friends and Winstead’s journey in her chosen career in the comedy world: both in stand-up and in television and radio. She’s a pioneer with her irreverent ideas and approach. She’s a leader and role model. She’s a tireless advocate for women’s rights. The essays are poignant, humorous, enlightening and insightful.

Cool things:

–Bob Mould wrote the music for The Daily Show at Winstead’s request
–In the 80s, NPR’s Michele Norris was once a housemate. Also Soul Asylum’s Dan Murphy.

Choice quotes:

I’ve never been into babies—I didn’t and still don’t have the mommy gene—yet these women talked of nothing else.” (of baby showers and other parties when she was younger)

On being raised Catholic: “Truth be told, I am not inspired to embrace beliefs that terrify me. The hands, the crucifix, the deep red bleeding heart embedded with thorns that hung next to the kitchen door—none of these symbols motivated me to do one good thing in the name of anyone.

It’s all I really ever wanted to do: figure out what I’m good at and put it out into the world. It’s astounding how many people fought me on it.

And home pregnancy tests? They are so last century. Nowadays, I think there’s an app that calls your iPhone to warn you that if you finish that third cosmo, you may wind up with a wombmate.

How could she say she was pro-life when she wasn’t pro my life?

I needed women in my life as I embarked on a career dominated by men, many who had the self-esteem of an abandoned pit bull and who weren’t shy about expressing their opinions of me, my humor, and women in comedy in general.

I have a theory about men: Any guy wearing more than one team insignia at the same time is a guy who won’t’ go down on me.

…the media’s appetite for tragedy porn was turning us into mush-brained fear barnacles. Callous barnacles, at that.

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purchase at Amazon: Lizz Free or Die: Essays

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