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In the fall of , Andy Borowitz, the humorist and New Yorker contributor, unexpectedly found himself in the hospital for emergency abdominal surgery. Over a matter of days, he was shocked to observe his condition become life-threatening. The experience prompted Borowitz, whose work is typically reticent about his private life, to publish his first autobiographical essay. What led you to choose the Kindle Single format for this story? About six months after I got out of the hospital, I performed a live ten-minute version of the story.
The performance was posted on YouTube and went viral. A friend of mine, the writer Gretchen Rubin, said to me that when she posted the link to my performance on her blog she got a huge response from her readers, and she recommended that I write the story up as a Kindle Single.
And, as someone who can never resist an assignment that seems to involve little or no work, I took her up on it. Once I started writing the Single, though, I realized that what worked as a live performance would have to be changed significantly to work on the page. So I was in for a little more effort than I bargained for. What were some of the challenges for you in writing nonfiction? The biggest challenge of this piece was that it was a new genre for me: I never write anything autobiographical.
I never write anything factual, for that matter—I always make everything up. But this story was an example of the truth being more interesting and bizarre than anything I could have invented.
Even as I was experiencing it, I was aware of how surreal everything was. So I just had to try to capture it as accurately as I could. One way I tried to do that was by telling the story in the present tense. Events came at me very fast and I wanted to recreate that sense of immediacy and velocity. When you found yourself in a similar situation, to whom or what did you turn for distraction, or peace? My son, who was thirteen at the time, did the sweetest thing for me: he sent me YouTube links to clips from the debates Barack Obama had against Alan Keyes when the two men were running for U.
Keyes would say one idiotic thing after another and Obama could barely keep a straight face. My son correctly thought that I would find this entertaining. One of the challenges of writing episodic TV is creating high enough stakes every week.
More: Andy Borowitz.
An Unexpected Twist
He is author of The Borowitz Report , a satirical column that appears regularly in The New Yorker , and has also written multiple books, articles, and television comedies. He has appeared in just about every venue except a peer-reviewed medical journal, until today. I did not attend medical school. Much like I suspect the White House doctor, I am not a medically trained professional. I went in for a physical this year, and my doctor did not pronounce me as healthy as that Adonis who is our president.
Andy Borowitz born January 4,  is an American writer, comedian, satirist, and actor. In , Borowitz graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College , where he lived in Adams House and was president of the Harvard Lampoon. Borowitz studied with playwright William Alfred and wrote his undergraduate thesis on Restoration comedy. From through , he wrote for the television series Square Pegs , starring Sarah Jessica Parker. From through , he wrote for the television series The Facts of Life. He wrote for various television series through the s.
Not Funny: Andy Borowitz’s Hospital Nightmare
Andy Borowitz: An Unexpected Twist