Academy-award winner discusses class, race, gender with new book during library discussion

By Emma Stone

Academy-award winner Jena Friedman hosted an author talk about her new book “Not Funny,” which talks about race, class and gender in a satirical fashion.

Friedman is the host of a true-crime series on AMC Plus titled “Indefensible.” She has worked as a field producer at “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and has written for the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

The author talk was available by registering online, and audience members received a link to join the webinar hosted by Library Speaker’s Consortium.

The idea for Friedman’s book started after she had made a tweet on Twitter that became viral. Her manager pitched the idea to her.

“I had been distracted with other projects and this was the first time that I had time and could finally have something really substantive to say,” said Friedman.

A Stanford professor had replied to her tweet stating, “Jenna Friedman’s tweet is not funny.” This sparked her idea for a book title.

“I feel like for a lot of female comedians, the term ‘not funny’ is like this specter in our careers where the worst heckle you could ever get is someone saying you are not funny,” said Friedman.

However, Friedman struggled with writing the book as it was more isolated than stand-up comedy where you can use the crowd as a source.

She began her book outlining her career in comedy in college after she wrote a paper on it and started improv in 2003.

“I fell in love with it,” said Friedman. “I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to find a way to keep doing it.”

The last essay kept in her book was the most recent events for her, the Oscars.

“It was the idea of making it which I feel like was a good ending to the book,” said Friedman. 

Friedman is currently on strike with the Writer’s Guild for America that is pushing for rights and higher wages for comedy writers and, even, late night show writers.

The Lincoln Parish Library partners with the Library Speaker’s Consortium for the next author talk featuring Courtney Summers, New York Times bestselling YA author on May 20.