Jesse Eisenberg&#039s New Book Gets Seriously Absurd (And A Small Severe)



Jesse Eisenberg's plays include The Spoils and The Revisionist.

Jesse Eisenberg’s plays contain The Spoils and The Revisionist. Victoria Will/Invision/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Victoria Will/Invision/AP

If you have ever observed Jesse Eisenberg’s byline in The New Yorker or on McSweeney’s World wide web Tendency and thought, “Wait, that Jesse Eisenberg?” — the answer is yes.

Eisenberg, greatest-identified as an Oscar-nominated actor, is also a writer — the author of several plays and, now, a collection of comedy writing known as Bream Gives Me Hiccups.

Bream Gives Me Hiccups

The collection’s title comes from a series of faux-restaurant testimonials that open the book, which Eisenberg 1st wrote for McSweeney’s. The critiques — both funny and poignant — are written from the point of view of a young boy whose divorced mother drags him to fancy dinners on her ex-husband’s dime.

Many of the other pieces are heavy with dialogue, like short comedy sketches. “A Post Gender Normative Man Tries to Choose Up a Lady at a Bar” and its gender-flipped counterpart, for instance, consist completely of one particular-sided (and persistent) conversation.

“Some of these stories I’ve performed,” Eisenberg tells NPR’s Arun Rath. “They’re as enjoyable to carry out as they are for me to write.”

And, as Rath and Eisenberg talk about, the collection will also be produced into a Netflix series.

Click on the audio hyperlink above to hear the full conversation.

Interview Highlights

Hear Eisenberg study an excerpt from the Bream Offers Me Hiccups audiobook.

On his theory of what makes issues funny

I start out, with each and every play I’ve written, with all the stories in here, to create the funniest issue I can think of and then it becomes emotional, I guess. Possibly simply because that is how you are educated as an actor. When you are acting in anything, even if it is a comedy, you’re supposed to uncover the emotional truth in it.

So even when I am in a comedy, you finish up trying to uncover … what’s driving a character and it typically has something to do with one thing that is not that funny. And, of course, the juxtaposition of funny context and critical individual dealing with funny context is what makes it funny.

On his story featuring Alexander Graham Bell’s early telephone calls

When I was younger — I was possibly about 10 years old — I heard a joke on Comedy Central which I thought was the funniest thing. [It] was something along the lines of, the comedian said “I set my cell phone ring tone to Beethoven’s Ninth [Symphony],” due to the fact, at the time, cell telephone ring tones had just come out, and a single of the options was a low-cost, MIDI file of Beethoven’s Ninth. And he said, “I wonder if Beethoven, when sitting around writing his ninth [symphony] thought it’s going to play in 500 years and someone’s going to go, ‘Oh Jesus, it really is my mom.’ “

And … so when I was reading about Alexander Graham Bell’s very first phone get in touch with I believed how funny it is that now, we not only take the technologies for granted, but we kind of resent it when somebody calls us, simply because it really is such a burden now compared to the ease with which we can communicate otherwise. So I believed it would be funny to see how rapidly that could possibly devolve. So it is not the first phone call that devolves into boredom, it is the third.

On the inspiration for a piece at the intersection of basketball and conflict resolution

I always believed, how do men and women go to basketball games who are used to conflict resolution when they’re standing with 14,000 other individuals who are screaming for conflict? And what would that person have been like in the Coliseum?

I always feel about that because my dad is such a sweet and peaceful academic, and I usually consider what would my dad have been like? He wouldn’t have been capable to fit in with the Coliseum and the gladiators. What would he have done? There should have been people like that and we by no means hear about that!

Arts &amp Life : NPR