Comedians Turned Authors

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In recent weeks, a couple more comedians joined the ranks of comedians turned authors. Aziz Ansari examines the many ways in which advances in technology have, and have not, changed the dating world in Modern Romance: An Investigation, while Colin Quinn uses life experiences and a sense of humor in an attempt to address a serious issue in The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America (soon to be available in the library in print). As I had with Tina Fey’s Bossypants, Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns), I chose to listen to the audiobook versions of these books, narrated by the authors.

Ansari’s Modern Romance was a little more academic and a little less funny than I had anticipated. In the book, the Parks and Recreation actor discusses the benefits and drawbacks of online dating, the effect of new forms of communication on our interactions with romantic interests/partners, the influence of technology on our perceptions of relationships and marriage, and other related topics, drawing from interviews, focus groups, and his own experience. In order to lend scientific credibility to his conclusions he recruited, along with a host of other researchers, sociologist Eric Klinenberg (professor at New York University and author of 2012’s Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone). I think my appreciation of the book may have suffered from having already read and enjoyed OkCupid founder Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking), which Ansari concedes covers some of the same ground. For those interested in the audio version of this book, I might recommend borrowing a print copy, which incorporates visual representations of the data used, to refer to as you go along.

I’ve only just started former SNL Weekend Update anchor Colin Quinn’s The Coloring Book, in which he recounts his experiences growing up in a multi-ethnic New York City. Quinn is nostalgic for this New York of the past, where people were much more willing to tell it like it was. He laments the current climate of political correctness and the resultant lack of honest discussions about race and ethnicity. Quinn suggests the importance of acknowledging and celebrating differences rather than denying them. So far, the book is proving to be both funny and engaging.

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