Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama 

“Bob Odenkirk’s career is inexplicable,” writes Danielle Dresser of Anderson’s Bookshop where Oldenkirk will be signing copies of his new book. “And yet he will try like hell to explicate it for you. Charting a “Homeric” decades-long “odyssey” from his origins in the seedy comedy clubs of Chicago to a dramatic career full of award nominations—with a side-trip into the action-man world that is baffling to all who know him—it’s almost like there are many Bob Odenkirks. But there is just one and one is plenty.

Dresser goes on to say that Bob embraced a life in comedy after a chance meeting with Second City’s legendary Del Close. He somehow made his way to a job as a writer at Saturday Night Live. While surviving that legendary gauntlet by the skin of his gnashing teeth, he stashed away the secrets of comedy writing—eventually employing them in the immortal “Motivational Speaker” sketch for Chris Farley, honing them on The Ben Stiller Show, and perfecting them on Mr. Show with Bob and David.

In Hollywood, Bob demonstrated a bullheadedness that would shame Sisyphus himself, and when all hope was lost for the umpteenth time, the phone rang with an offer to appear on Breaking Bad—a show about how boring it is to be a high school chemistry teacher. His embrace of this strange new world of dramatic acting led him to working with Steven Spielberg, Alexander Payne, and Greta Gerwig, and then, in a twist that will confound you, he re-re-invented himself as a bona fide action star. Why? Read this and do your own psychoanalysis—it’s fun!

Featuring humorous tangents, never-before-seen photos, wild characters, and Bob’s trademark unflinching drive, Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama is a classic showbiz tale told by a determined idiot.

From Comedy to Drama with Bob Odenkirk

Actor, comedian, writer, director, producer and Naperville nativeBob Odenkirk will be at the Yellow Box Theater at the Community Christian Church (1635 Emerson Lane, Naperville, IL) on Thursday, March 3rd at 7pm CT, in conversation with Kim “Howard” Johnson, to discuss his new memoir, Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama. In this “essential” (Entertainment Weekly), “hilarious” (AV Club) memoir, the star of Mr. ShowBreaking Bad, and Better Call Saul opens up about the highs and lows of showbiz, his cult status as a comedy writer, and what it’s like to reinvent himself as an action film ass-kicker at fifty.

Tickets are now available, with limited quantities available! For more information, please visit https://OdenkirkAndersons.eventcombo.com. Book details are listed below.

F*ck Your Diet and Other Things My Diet Tells Me

“Our food choices and our image of ourselves are part of our culture.,” says Chloe Hilliard.

        “I didn’t come out of the womb  craving Oreos,” says comedian and journalist Chloe Hilliard, who is launching her new book, F*ck Your Diet and Other Things My Thighs Tells Me, this Monday and Tuesday at Zanies Comedy Night Club in Chicago. “Our food choices and our image of ourselves are part of our culture.”

        Hilliard, who writes about Hip Hop culture and has been featured on C-Span, CNN Headline News, ABC News and Our World with Black Enterprise, has long had an adversarial relationship with food.  Over 6-foot tall at the age of 12, she also wore both a size 12 dress and shoe at that time. In other words, she was different and she knew it.

        “Fitting in was never an option for me,” Hilliard said in a phone interview, noting that she was the loser of the fat trilogy—someone with a slow metabolism, baby weight that didn’t go away and big bones. “Growing up, it was unfair that people said just do this or that to lose weight. But now I understand it’s about acceptance, to be comfortable and to be healthy and okay with who you are.”

        It was a truth that Hilliard came to only after a long time of trying to change her body with the help of fad diets, intense workouts, starving herself and consuming diet pills. Now she looks at her body image in a different way and understands how much our culture negatively impacts the way we perceive ourselves, how corporations including the diet industry also reinforces our image of ourselves. It was enlightening and freeing. But it wasn’t easy.

        “I thought the book was going to be way more lighthearted,” says Hilliard. “I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to write. But it helped me understand where I was at different times in my life.”

        But being Hilliard, who made her national TV debut on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” the book is not only informative but laugh out loud funny as well. Afterall, she has a message for readers—you’re okay.

        “I use a lot of facts and figures,” she says. “I didn’t want the book to be voyeuristic, I wanted it to be about how culture effects our relationship with food and our waistline and teaches us that we are nothing without a perfect body. I want to help people get away from that. Be healthy, be fit. It’s a new year but you don’t need to be a new you, just yourself.”

Ifyougo:

What: Chloe Hilliard is launching her new book and performing at Zanies Comedy Night Club.

When: Monday, January 6 and Tuesday, January 7 at 8 p.m.

Where: Zanies Comedy Night Club, 1548 N Wells St, Chicago, IL  

Cost: General admission is $25.

FYI: 312-337-4027;chicago.zanies.com

Mo Welch: How To Die Alone

              Always a doodler, stand-up comedian Mo Welch, who’d just broken up with her boyfriend, was eating a blueberry  Pop Tart in her mom’s kitchen when she began sketching a dozen cartoons about a female character she named Blair—think a more sarcastic, less sunny but equally funny version Cathy, the popular cartoon character created by Cathy Guisewite, one of Welch’s favorite cartoonists.

              “My mom always makes Pop Tarts,” says Welch, who grew up in Oak Park, Illinois.  “I was at a crossroad in my life, depressed and trying to decide what to do and thinking too how depressing and hilarious I probably looked. So, I got out my Sharpie and started drawing.”

              But first she had to finish eating her Pop Tart, a food group according to Welch that also figures large not only in her own life but also in the life of Blair.  A simply drawn cartoon, Blair is a 30-something single woman whose outlook on life is fairly dark. She’s definitely the cup is always half-empty type, lamenting in one cartoon panel how “My best friend just bought a house and I’m eating a Pop Tart for dinner.”

              Since that day in her mon’s kitchen, Welch has pursued her career as a stand-up comedian and cartoonist with considerable success–currently her Blair comics which are on Instagram @momowelch has over 65,000 followers–and her first book, How to Die Alone: The Foolproof Guide to Not Helping Yourself (Workman 2019; $12.95) is just being released.

              Describing working in the field of comedy as one filled with rebuffs which for her can mutate into depression, Welch describes the Blair cartoons as helping her at a time where everything seemed chaotic.

              “I felt rejected in both my love life and career,” she says. “Drawing my Blair comics every day got me into a routine and also reminded me how I love comedy. Anytime I get depressed or irritated, Blair helps me.”

              Intensely shy when she was young, Welch says she couldn’t say her name aloud at an ice breaker or read aloud in class.

              “When I go on TV or do a big show, I still have that nervousness,” says Welch who has been on Conan several times, appeared in season two of Amazon’s Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street and season two of Life in Pieces on CBS and starred in Foul Ball on CBS and also has worked as a writer for TBS, CBS and Nickelodeon. “But I translate that into a better way now.”

              Even though she’s been successful, Welch still feels a deep affinity for Blair.

              “What I like about her is that I think everyone can relate to her,” she says.

              As for her upcoming Chicago book signing and presentation, she’s very excited.

              “My mom is going to bring all her friends from her quilting club,” she says. “It’s always nice to know you’ll have a friendly crowd.”

              Getting back to the driver of all the good things in her life, Welch says, “I thank the entire Pop Tart industry for the success I’ve had.”

Ifyougo:

What: Mo Welch in conversation with local podcast host and storyteller, Whitney Capps; book signing

When: Thursday, May 2nd at 7pm

Where: Anderson’s Bookshop, 26 La Grange Rd., La Grange

Cost: This event is free and open to the public. To join the signing line, please purchase a copy of Welch’s new book from Anderson’s.

FYI: 708-582-6353; andersonsbookshop.com

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