Jen Lancaster and Dave Barry: Author One-on-One The New York Times
has pronounced Dave Barry
"the funniest man in America." But of course that could have been on a slow news day when there wasn't much else fit to print. True, his bestselling collections of columns are legendary, but it is his wholly original books that reveal him as an American icon, like I'll Mature When I'm Dead
. He wrote for Humor Hotel
and Jen Lancaster eventually took over his nationally syndicated humor column.
Read on to see Dave Barry's questions for Jen Lancaster, or turn the tables to see what he asked her
Which has a higher IQ: gravel or the cast of Jersey Shore
On the surface, gravel clearly seems to have the edge. Gravel’s managed to exist for thousands of years without ever once having started a bar fight when someone looked at its Ed Hardy T-shirt funny. However, after the episode where Pauly D. went swimming and emerged from under the water with every hair still firmly in place, I’m forced to declare Jersey Shore the winner. The kind of civil/chemical engineering it takes to hold that ’do in place is nothing short of genius. Dave:
What can we, as a nation, do about the Kardashians? Jen:
One word: caning. Dave:
Do you ever watch Dog the Bounty Hunter
? If so, do you agree that he would be a really fun United States senator? Jen:
I love Dog and believe he’d be a fantastic senator. He’s clever, he’s efficient, he’s no-nonsense, and he’s not afraid to knock a few heads together if needed. He’s exactly what this country needs. Plus, I’d like Mr. Dog to Go to Washington if for no reason other than to see his wife dressed up like Jackie O while on the campaign trail. (The caveat is I’m from Illinois and most of our living governors are felons, so it’s possible my standards aren’t terribly high.) Dave:
How come women are so good at appearing to not be thinking about sex? Jen:
Because we’re the ones in charge of doling it out, so there’s no guesswork involved on our part. Ergo, we can think about more important stuff. Like handbags. Dave:
Like many men, I have four kinds of shoes: 1) black shoes, 2) brown shoes, 3) sneakers 4) backup sneakers. Do I need more? What should they be? Jen:
I reject the premise of this question because whereas most men own four pair of shoes, they own nine different kinds of hammers. Framing? Claw? Tack? Ball-peen? Any woman worth her salt knows that almost all household repairs can be accomplished with one of two tools—a butter knife or the heel of a loafer. Dave:
Do you think ketchup has to be kept in the refrigerator? Why? Jen:
Yes, but less for food safety concerns and more because we don’t want to damage the self-esteem of the other condiments. (Mayonnaise can be so self-conscious.) Dave:
Are cats malicious, or actually the spawn of Satan? Jen:
Um, cats are wonderful and loving little creatures who live to make us happy, and they only barf in our shoes and scratch the bejesus out of our new ottomans and trip us at the top of the stairs to demonstrate exactly how special we are to them. They are in no way, shape, or form evil, meaning they would never trap me and both of my dogs in my office, causing me to send out cryptic interview answers hoping desperately the reader will properly interpret them and SEND HELP.
(Photo of Dave Barry © Raul Ribiera/Miami Herald)
(Photo of Jen Lancaster © Jeremy Lawson)
After embarrassing herself in front of her idol Candace Bushnell, popular memoirist Lancaster (Such a Pretty Fat, Bitter is the New Black) decides she needs more in her life than reality TV and hamburgers; to that end, she sets out on an Eliza Doolittle-esque project of cultural self-improvement to expand her knowledge of art, fine dining, and all the attendant trappings of "high class" life. Lancaster's latest will no doubt appeal to fans of her blog and her other books, but readers unfamiliar with her strident manner will have to get past her abrasive, initially judgmental façade; she puts on a proud display of her ignorance that can be off-putting, especially when couched in her excessively scattered writing style. Though she's unquestionably funny and comfortable in her own skin, for all the joking self-regard there's little actual exploration, and the analysis of what she does find doesn't go far beyond a sassy thumbs-up or thumbs-down.
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