Lizz Winstead's 'Lizz Free or Die'

‘Daily Show’ co-creator talks comedy in DUMBO

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Brilliant social satirist and “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead is showcasing a bitingly funny book that offers a closer look at one of today’s most influential female comedians.

On July 23, she’ll read excerpts from “Lizz Free or Die,” a collection of memoir-style essays that tracks her evolution from a priest’s daughter to the big leagues of progressive comedy.

In the book, she often jumps between heart-wrenching and hilarious.

“There’s humor in serious things,” she said. “These are stories that capture moment or a lesson learned.”

Her writing recalls her Midwestern roots, working for the hit TV show and the struggle to find her voice in the male-dominated world of comedy.

It also touches on the absurdity of television news, how she hatched concept for the “Daily Show” (She was watching Gulf War coverage at a bar), and her early days doing stand-up comedy, which she said is her “calling.”

“The first time was like taking a hit off a crack pipe,” she said. “I knew immediately I had to do this with my life.”

Winstead, who also co-created the radio show Air America, said she hopes readers think the book is as honest as it is funny.

“If you’re going to tell a personal story, you need to have some perspective about why you’re telling it,” she said. “That’s art — you don’t do it in a vacuum.”

“Lizz Free or Die” reading at powerHouse Arena [37 Main St. between Water and Front streets in DUMBO, (718) 230–4530]. July 23, 7 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:34 pm, July 9, 2018
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