Every time a comedy writer writes a book, I’m on it. Bossypants, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People… Comedy writers are FUNNY. And oftentimes SILLY. And sometimes POLITICALLY CHARGED. And, in BJ Novak’s case, very intellectual. As Mindy Kaling puts it in Novak’s book preview, “But people already think your pretentious.” (*Before I go on to review this book, I’d like to point out that Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak should write a book together just as much as Amy Poehler and Tina Fey should write one together. The world would be a much more beautiful place!*) And, yes, there were some short stories in this collection that seemed a little too intellectual (many HAVE been featured in the New Yorker, after all), but mostly they were sharp, witty and entertaining.
BJ Novak: he is a beautiful person and he’s written for both The Office and The Mindy Project. He’s also accumulated so many of his short stories into a collection for his book debut earlier this year. I didn’t love everything about it, but One More Thing was a good read. It houses many unique stories and perspectives and thoughts.
What was especially enjoyable? Novak put some good book club material, some funny discussion questions. For example, one story he write was a very short ditty: a woman goes on a blind date. She is slightly intoxicated. Her date comes. He’s a warlord, and she responds like he said he was an IRS agent or telemarketer. Like, “I don’t approve of what you do but it’s not like you’re Hitler.” This guy basically is though. She doesn’t seem to be reacting appropriately. He casually answers questions about genocide and murder and general crimes against humanity. He points out that she can’t judge because look where her clothes come from. Does she know who makes those clothes? International cheap labor! She drinks more. Bad date, right? The discussion question at the end is something like, “Should she go home with the warlord?” And for a second, you might think of the intellectual answer, like, “Hm, maybe she’s just as bad as he is if, you know, she’s consuming products like this! Maybe it’s a political statement!” And then you realize, “Wait a second. Of course she shouldn’t. He’s a freakin’ warlord. No. Get away from him NOW!” The story is funny. A bad date in steroids.
What also as enjoyable was the title story, “One More Thing…” This story was about a man who bought a sex robot and was very shocked when it fell in love with him. Does it sound like “Her” to you at all? It’s not. For example, this guy doesn’t want anything to do with his purchase now; understandably he’s freaked out. It’s no a person. It talks too much. It starts talking, and then says “And one more thing…” and then says 10 more things. This guy is annoyed. People know his deal, they’re harassing him, they’re asking him questions he doesn’t want to answer, they’re judging him… and in the end he comes to miss those three words, surprisingly enough. He misses hearing “One more thing..” twenty times and having something that seemed relatively human love him. In an odd way, this was a very sweet story of love lost.
So. That quick look at two of the more unique stories in this collection. Other stories explore other cool questions and concepts (What’s the difference between WHY and WHY NOT? How do you give the best advice? When do you fall in love?), and for anyone who likes the whole short short experience (reading for 5 minutes and then thinking for way longer), I would recommend this.
And One More Thing…
Celebrity writers/actors/funnypeople who should write books next? Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, Jon Hamm, to name a few. Also: Jason Segel, Alec Baldwin, Louis C.K.