Bess Kalb on How Comedy Saves Her
In Conversation with Roxanne Coady on Just the Right Book
You might not know that if you find a lipstick that looks great on you, that you should buy twenty because they’re likely to get discontinue. Or you might not know that cross country skiing, affectionately called shuffling, is too cold to ever safely do, or that it’s reasonable to assume that your grandmother would, on a weekly basis, fly back and forth from Florida to take care of her newborn granddaughter because Bess’s mom was working.
This week on Just the Right Book, from a special Zoom virtual event, Bess Kalb joins Roxanne Coady to discuss her new book, Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A True (as Told to Me) Story, where she channels her grandmother.
From the episode:
Bess Kalb: It actually goes back to a lesson my grandma taught me, and it’s a common refrain in this book. It’s something that her grandfather said to her, which is when you feel like the earth is cracking behind your feet and the whole world is going to swallow you up, you put one foot in front of the other and you go forward. I thought about that a lot during quarantine, but for me, comedy is going forward. Joking is a way of stopping the Earth from swallowing me.
Bess Kalb is an Emmy-nominated writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live. Her writing for the show earned her a Writer’s Guild Award in 2016. She has also written for the Oscars and the Emmys. A regular contributor to The New Yorker‘s “Daily Shouts,” her work has been published in The New Republic, Grantland, Salon.com, Wired, The Nation, and elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles.
Roxanne Coady is owner of R.J. Julia, one of the leading independent booksellers in the United States, which—since 1990—has been a community resource not only for books, but for the exchange of ideas. In 1998, Coady founded Read To Grow, which provides books for newborns and children and encourages parents to read to their children from birth. RTG has distributed over 1.5 million books.