Not Funny: … And Other Things I've Been Called (Paperback)

Not Funny: … And Other Things I've Been Called By Jena Friedman Cover Image

Not Funny: … And Other Things I've Been Called (Paperback)


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For fans of the perceptive comedy of Hannah Gadsby, Lindy West, and Sarah Silverman, Academy Award–nominated and acclaimed stand-up comedian Jena Friedman presents a “smart and thoughtful and even a little offensive” (Sacha Baron Cohen) collection of essays on the cultural flashpoints of today.

Growing up, Jena Friedman didn’t care about being likable. And she never wanted to be a comedian, either. She wouldn’t discover her knack for the funny business until research for her college thesis led her to take an improv class in Chicago.

That anthropology paper, written on race, class, and gender in the city’s comedy scene, was, in Jena’s own words, “just as funny as it sounds.” But it did lay the groundwork for a career that has seen her write and produce for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Late Show with David Letterman, and the Oscar-nominated Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

Friedman’s “entertaining and soulful” (Publishers Weekly) debut collection, Not Funny, takes on the third rails of modern life in Jena’s bold and subversive style, with essays that explore cancel culture, sexism, work, celebrity worship, and…dead baby jokes.

In a moment where women’s rights are being rolled back, fascism is on the rise, and so many of us could use a breather as we struggle to get by, Jena applies her unique gifts to pull a laugh from things deemed too raw, too precious, and too scary to joke about. She deftly dissects how we get coerced into silence on the issues that matter most, until they’ve gone too far afield to be turned back around again. “A mix of lethal deadpan delivery and biting sarcasm with impressive intelligence not only makes this book phenomenal but announces the arrival of a singular voice” (Phoebe Robinson, New York Times bestselling author).
Jena Friedman is a comedian, filmmaker, and creator of AMC’s Indefensible and Soft Focus with Jena Friedman on Adult Swim. She has worked on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Late Show with David Letterman, and her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Artnet, and The Guardian. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and won a Writers Guild of America Award for her work on Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. She splits her time between Los Angeles and New York. Find out more at and follow her on Twitter @JenaFriedman.  
Product Details ISBN: 9781982178291
ISBN-10: 1982178299
Publisher: Atria/One Signal Publishers
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English
"In fact very funny. And [Friedman] somehow manages to do that while taking on some of the, shall we say, darker topics, like sexism, celebrity worship, and women's rights."

“Jena dares you to laugh at things we're told not to laugh at, perhaps because that's how they keep us from seeing the truth. A page-turner through and through: Just when I'm thinking 'it can't be!' Jena tells you it is. And I'm laughing through it. Jena proves with her writing that not only is laughing at dark truths important, it's revolutionary.”
—Atsuko Okatsuka, comedian, actress, and writer

"Perfect for fans of dark, feminist comedy such as Hannah Gadsby or Samantha Bee."

"Entertaining and soulful... this is a blast."
Publishers Weekly

"For an injection of power and agency, readers could scarcely do better than Not Funny."
Shelf Awareness

“A funny but critical look at the depradations of life as a woman comic [...] A serious memoir with jokes, self-deprecating yet rarely self-diminishing.”

“I feel misled. Not Funny is in fact extremely funny! And smart and thoughtful and even a little offensive, just like Jena” —Sacha Baron Cohen, actor, writer, producer, and creator and star of Borat 

“I’ve skimmed this book and it seems pretty funny. I have every intention of reading it as soon as I finish The History of The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire.” —Larry David, writer, actor, and co-creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm

“From her sharp and fearless comedy specials, to the deadpan interviews in which she expertly skewers a fine array of sexist miscreants, Jena Friedman is actually not funny--she is hilarious and brilliant.” —Merrill Markoe, New York Times bestselling author of Walking in Circles Before Lying Down

"[Jena Friedman] sparkles with the casual brilliance of fellow comedians and humor essayists Lindy West and Sarah Silverman."
Library Journal