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Publication Date: April 14, 2020

A Very Punchable Face

A Memoir

By Colin Jost

In these hilarious essays, the Saturday Night Live head writer and Weekend Update co-anchor learns how to take a beating.

Colin Jost has six sets of stitches on his face alone. He’s been punched in at least four different sketches on Saturday Night Live, including once by his boss, Lorne Michaels. But if there’s one trait that makes someone well suited to comedy, it’s being able to take a punch—metaphorically and, occasionally, physically.

From growing up as an overweight kid in a family of firefighters on Staten Island to commuting three hours a day to high school and “seeing the sights” (like watching a Russian woman throw a stroller off the back of a ferry) to attending Harvard while Facebook was created (and choosing comedy instead!), Colin shares how he has navigated the world like a “slightly smarter Forrest Gump.”

You’ll also discover things about Colin that will surprise and confuse you, like how Jimmy Buffett saved his life, how Czech teenagers attacked him with potato salad, how an insect laid eggs inside his legs, and how he competed in a twenty-five-man match at Wrestlemania (and almost won). You’ll go behind the scenes at SNL (where he’s written some of the most iconic sketches and characters of the past fifteen years) and Weekend Update (where’s he’s been “the white guy next to Leslie Jones.”) And you’ll experience the life of a touring stand-up comedian—from performing in rural cafeterias at noon to opening for Dave Chappelle at Radio City Music Hall.

For every accomplishment (hosting the Emmys), there is a setback (hosting the Emmys). And for every absurd moment (watching paramedics give CPR to a raccoon), there is an honest, emotional one (recounting his mother’s experience on the scene of the Twin Towers’ collapse on 9/11.) Told with a healthy dose of self-deprecation, A Very Punchable Face reveals the brilliant mind behind some of the dumbest sketches on television and lays bare the heart and humor of a hardworking guy—with a face you can’t help but want to punch.

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