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Crying Laughing
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Crying Laughing
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A tragicomic story of bad dates, bad news, bad performances, and one girl's determination to find the funny in high school from the author of Denton Little's Deathdate.Winnie Friedman has been waiting...
A tragicomic story of bad dates, bad news, bad performances, and one girl's determination to find the funny in high school from the author of Denton Little's Deathdate.Winnie Friedman has been waiting...
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Description-

  • A tragicomic story of bad dates, bad news, bad performances, and one girl's determination to find the funny in high school from the author of Denton Little's Deathdate.
    Winnie Friedman has been waiting for the world to catch on to what she already knows: she's hilarious.
    It might be a long wait, though. After bombing a stand-up set at her own bat mitzvah, Winnie has kept her jokes to herself. Well, to herself and her dad, a former comedian and her inspiration.
    Then, on the second day of tenth grade, the funniest guy in school actually laughs at a comment she makes in the lunch line and asks her to join the improv troupe. Maybe he's even . . . flirting?
    Just when Winnie's ready to say yes to comedy again, her father reveals that he's been diagnosed with ALS. That is . . . not funny. Her dad's still making jokes, though, which feels like a good thing. And Winnie's prepared to be his straight man if that's what he wants. But is it what he needs?
    Caught up in a spiral of epically bad dates, bad news, and bad performances, Winnie's struggling to see the humor in it all. But finding a way to laugh is exactly what will see her through.
    **A Junior Library Guild Selection**

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    No one knows how funny I am.

    Well, that's not entirely true. My dad, and sometimes my mom, and my best friends, Leili and Azadeh, know.

    And I know.

    But no one else.

    Definitely no one in school, where successful humor tends to involve farts.

    I'm not knocking fart humor, but I recognize it is but one color in the comedy rainbow. For many people at my school, however, it is one of just three primary comedy colors, the other two being sex humor (e.g., pretend-­humping in the hallway) and mean humor (e.g., pulling away someone's chair as they sit down), which isn't even humor so much as an excuse to be an asshole.

    Anyway, if a joke falls in the forest and no one's there to hear it, it does not make a sound, so sometime in the middle of last year, I stopped saying my funny thoughts aloud. It's like giving your finest, most expensive jewelry to your hamster. Guess what? That hamster does not give a flying eff about carats.

    (He might, however, care a great deal about carrots.)

    (Ha-­cha!)

    (I'm sorry. I am aware puns are, in many ways, no better than fart jokes, but there's a long tradition of really smart comedy writers appreciating puns in a manner that is half ironic, half sincere—­and that is the way I appreciate them.)

    So, yeah, when it comes to my sense of humor, most of the people in school are hamsters, which is why it's incredibly surprising that just now, on the second day of my sophomore year, I seem to have made Evan Miller laugh.

    "Ha, that's hilarious," he says, standing next to me, our lunch trays balanced on the metal rack of the cafeteria line, as his less sophisticated friend Tim Stabisch looks on like Wait, seriously? Was it?

    I should mention: Evan Miller is, by many accounts (not mine), the funniest guy in school. He's a junior, and though our interactions have been minimal, I've had quite a bit of time to become familiar with his comedic stylings, as I assistant-­directed last year's production of Arsenic and Old Lace, in which Evan played the brother who believes he's Teddy Roosevelt and is always maniacally charging up the stairs of the house. And yes, Evan was truly hilarious in that play, mainly because he was so confident and committed to the role. As my dad has said, "The secret to being successful in comedy is confidence. That's, like, ninety percent of it right there." And Evan Miller has that, so I understand why his comedic reputation has soared.

    Now, does he possess the other ten percent of the formula, which includes having a smart, interesting perspective on the world around him? Not so much.

    Though it's possible I've underestimated him, because he did just laugh at the thing I said moments ago (which was not a pun or a fart joke). I was standing in the lunch line by myself when this happened:

    EVAN (next to me in line the whole time, though I hadn't acknowledged him because I assumed he had no idea who I was): Hey, you worked on the play last year, right?

    ME: I did.

    EVAN: Winnie, right?

    ME (surprised he knows my name): Oh. Yeah. And you're . . . (I pretend I don't know his name, I have no idea why.)

    EVAN (slightly disappointed): Evan.

    ME: Right! Evan, yeah. You were really funny in the play. (I felt bad that I'd pretended not to know his name, which is why I gave him a compliment.)

    EVAN (perking up again): Oh, thanks! (Inexplicably going into stereotypical California girl voice) That's, like, totally cool of you to...

About the Author-

  • LANCE RUBIN is the author of Denton Little's Deathdate and Denton Little's Still Not Dead. He's worked as an actor, written and performed sketch comedy (like The Lance and Ray Show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre), and done a lot of improv. He's also the co-writer, along with Joe Iconis and Jason SweetTooth Williams, of the musical Broadway Bounty Hunter. Lance lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two sons. You can follow him online at LanceRubin.com and on Twitter at @LanceRubinParty.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 23, 2019
    Winnie Friedman, 15, retired from performing after a disastrous stand-up comedy attempt at her bat mitzvah. But after a flirtatious encounter with junior Evan Miller, “the funniest guy in school,” and encouragement from her best friends, identical twin sisters, Leili and Asmaa Kazemi, who are Muslim, Win decides to join Manatawkin High School’s improv group. Initially uncomfortable, she finds her comedic footing using several bits she’s worked out with her father Russ, a former stand-up comedian/actor who gave it all up to raise Win. But when Russ reveals to Win that the clumsiness he’s been exhibiting is likely to be ALS, her life spins out of control. As Evan’s flirtation turns into something more serious, Leili withdraws, causing Win even more confusion. Rubin (Denton Little’s Death Date) again handles mortality with a light touch and humor, realistically capturing a father-daughter relationship in the face of a serious illness. Charming, heartbreaking, and ultimately life-affirming, Rubin captures Winnie’s verve and heart with honesty and wit. Ages 12–up. Agent: Mollie Glick, CAA.

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