Tuesday was a big day for fans of books written by funny women. That’s because it marked the publication of Inside Amy Schumer head writer Jessi Klein’s hilarious essay collection, You’ll Grow Out of It. The book is a series of autobiographical essays on topics like being a tomboy, finding a wedding dress, exercise, and becoming addicted to The Bachelor. It’s a must-read that takes its place right up there with Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Mindy Kaling’s books Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Why Not Me?
Klein launched the book Tuesday night with a reading followed by a Q&A with Saturday Night Live star Vanessa Bayer, hosted by the new Refinery29 comedy platform RIOT. Klein read an excerpt from her essay “Poodle vs. Wolf,” which had the audience in stitches. Her experience with stand-up shone through, as she delivered each punchline and added commentary on the fly. She and Vanessa Bayer were cracking each other up during the Q&A portion.
Klein talked about the book and her writing process with Bayer. “When I wrote this book it took a very long time because I’m a very slow writer and I spent a lot of time on the internet not writing,” she said, adding that “it took about three years from typing word one to typing the last word. But of that three years, I think two years were internet time.”
Klein talked about her favorite comedians (besides Bayer, of course), listing Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Aidy Bryant, Janeane Garofalo, Chris Rock, and Louis CK. “Janeane Garofalo was a big hero of mine when I was growing up and watching standup on TV. I was just obsessed with her. She had this one HBO special where she basically was in pajama shorts and a flannel and I was like ‘That’s for me.’”
Read on for EW’s interview with Klein.
You can see the Facebook Live video of the reading and Q&A below:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What funny books of essays you like?
JESSI KLEIN: Oooh, I love Nora Ephron. Everything by Nora Ephron.
Were you and Amy Schumer writing your books at the same time?
I think there was some paralleling of the book writing. She stopped and started one early on in [Inside Amy Schumer]. She is a really fast, prolific writer and I am a snail, so she caught up to me with a later start.
I’m a massive narcissist, and I’ve been checking my ranking on Amazon all day, because of course, and Amazon has all the “If you like… you’ll also like” and then there’s the “frequently bought together” and it was mine and Amy’s and I was so excited to see our books next to each other and I took a screenshot and I texted it to her and I was like “dream of dreams.”
Buy her book. Amy is such an inspiration to me in terms of her fearlessness and her ability to put her voice out there without her overthinking it.
Do you know if she talks about you in her book?
She sent me a rough of her book a few weeks ago and I was in a fog in the morning and scanned it, so I don’t know. I didn’t fully take it in. It would make me super nervous to know if anyone was talking about me ever.
Would you ever consider writing another book?
Definitely. It was a slog, and it was lonely and weird and hard, but I did really enjoy it. Yeah, I think I would definitely write another book.
How did you pick the cover photo? Did you immediately know: “picture of me as a child”?
Truth be told, the cover thing was pretty hard. I mean, you know, it’s the cover of your book. It’s hard. At least for me it was. There was a lot of back and forth with me and the publisher and then ultimately we also hired this designer who is amazing named Jay Shaw and we just went back and forth on a bunch of ideas. That photo of myself was … my first grade school photo. It gets a laugh from my friends, just the sad bangs. So at some point I sent it to him and it came together that way. It was a long process.
Were there any photos of you that were runners up?
No, that one is by far the saddest. [Laughs] That takes the cake for saying all the sad things it needs to say.
How did you know that you were ready to write a book?
I did not know I was ready to write a book. Honestly, I wrote a book because I was unemployed. We had finished shooting the first season of Inside Amy Schumer and it hadn’t aired yet so we didn’t know what our status was. And in TV, more often than not, very often things don’t get picked up, I didn’t know if I was going to have a job. I was in between things. My manager was like: “There’s a book agent you should meet.” I met this incredible guy named David Kuhn, he read some essays I had written over the years, and he was like “I think you should write a book.” And I was like “Really? That is very interesting to me. I’ve never thought that.” And he just kind of pulled it out of me. It kind of came out of unemployment. I wish it was a sexier story, but it’s not.