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Lizz Free or Die : Essays

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Winstead, co-creator of "The Daily Show" and one of today's most hilarious comedians and insightful social critics, pens a brilliant account of how she discovered her comedic voice and how humor became her most powerful weapon in confronting life's challenges.

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Winstead, co-creator of "The Daily Show" and one of today's most hilarious comedians and insightful social critics, pens a brilliant account of how she discovered her comedic voice and how humor became her most powerful weapon in confronting life's challenges. The hilarious and poignant account of how one woman found her comedic voice.

Growing up in the Midwest, the youngest child of Catholic parents, Lizz Winstead learned early that the straightforward questions she posed to various authority figures around her—her parents, her parish priest, even an anti-abortion counselor—prompted many startled looks and uncomfortable silences, but few plausible answers. Her questions rattled adults because they exposed the inconsistencies and hypocrisies in the people and institutions she confronted.

Yet she didn’t let that deter her. In Lizz Free or Die, Winstead vividly recounts how she fought to find her own voice, both as a comedian and as a woman, and how humor became her most powerful weapon in confronting life’s challenges.

Uproarious and surprising, honest and poignant, this no-holds-barred collection of autobiographical essays gives an in-depth look into the life and creativity of one of today’s most influential comic voices. In writing about her naive longing to be a priest, her role in developing The Daily Show, and her often problematic habit of diving into everything headfirst, asking questions later (resulting in multiple rescue-dog adoptions and travel disasters), Lizz Winstead has tapped an outrageous and heartfelt vein of the all-too-human comedy.


Penguin Publishing Group
Book Format
Original Languages
Number of Pages
Lizz Winstead
Publication Date
May, 2013
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
8.23 x 5.50 x 0.77 Inches

Customer Reviews

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1-4 of 4 reviews

This is a great book i...

This is a great book if you have an open mind and a sense of humor. I laughed out loud at many parts, and found others very touching. I can't wait to have my wife and daughters read it.Warning: If you love Rush Limbaugh or Glenn beck, you will probably not like this book. But you should read it anyway.

I loved this book. I w...

I loved this book. I was somewhat familiar with Ms. Winstead from having seen her on MSNBC and from the early days of The Daily Show. This book resonates with me as a feminist and a politics geek, in spite of being several decades later and coming from a radically different background. Furthermore, it makes me laugh. Combined, this book earns the highest compliment I can give: I read it at traffic lights. This review was based on a free ARC received from the publisher.

I finished Lizz Free O...

I finished Lizz Free Or Die a few weeks ago, and I've found myself telling bits and pieces of it to friends since. The book is a collection of autobiographical essays about Lizz Winstead's life and career, and while it isn't the next Bossypants, it is a very good read. I chose it because I love The Daily Show and knew she was one of the original creators, but I really didn't know anything else about her. Unfortunately, she left before Jon Stewart joined The Daily Show and she really glossed over her reasons for leaving, so it wasn't a very satisfying "behind-the-scenes look" for fans of the show. I found that I was more interested in her childhood and her family than in her career, and those essays were some of the funniest and most touching. I was fascinated by Winstead's Minnesota Catholic family. She has a whole essay about creepy Catholic iconography called "Decorate to Manipulate", as well as one about the disappointment and confusion she felt upon learning that she could not be an altar boy just because she's a girl. The whole book is a good celebrity memoir mix of origin story, self-deprecating humor, name dropping (she was roommates with Michele Norris in Minneapolis, she discovered Rachel Maddow, she's friends with Sarah Silverman), and undeniable talent.

Im a fan of Lizz Wins...

I'm a fan of Lizz Winstead's work. I mostly share her politics. I did not like most of this book. The tone is intolerant and smug. When she's not trying to prove how cool and smart she is--it's really engaging and funny. But most of the time, she's dropping names like they're coated in butter and telling us how much smarter she is than everyone else. meh. Review Haiku: Not many laughs 'cause Little irks me more than a liberal bigot

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