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Lucas Mann Recommends...

Writers Recommend

Posted 2.04.14

“When I’m stuck, it’s usually because I’ve been overwriting. That’s when I take a break and watch clips of stand-up comedians. Essayists and comedians are, in my opinion, doing pretty much the same work, but most of the time comedians do it better. I watch a lot of Louis C. K. and a lot of Patrice O’Neal. There’s one Richard Pryor bit where he talks about setting himself on fire while freebasing that is so stunningly open and vulnerable. It’s the best personal essay I’ve ever encountered, without trying to be. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with this joke that Mo’Nique did during a performance at a women’s prison. It involves fellatio and grape soda and it’s just perfect. She’s a brilliant writer, but it feels like she doesn’t care at all if anybody notices that fact. She makes me remember how fun language is and that makes me want to try again, even if I’ll just get frustrated and have to redo the routine three more times before lunch.”
—Lucas Mann, author of Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere (Pantheon, 2013)

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