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Book revue: Comedians take literature low-brow • Brooklyn Paper

Book revue: Comedians take literature low-brow

Give a hoot, read a book: “Two-Book Minimum” co-host Ross Hyzer mixes literature and laughter at the Community Bookstore in Park Slope.
Photo by Anya Garrett

Here is a new twist on spending Friday night in with a good book.

A show at Park Slope’s Community Bookstore will bring together six comedians who also write TV shows, books, and journalism for an evening of bookish buffoonery that is sure to please both the barely literate and the literati alike.

Quipsters Tom Shillue, Brooke Van Poppelen, Travis Irvine, and Mike Drucker will join emcees Dan Wilbur (author of “How Not to Read”) and Huffington Post comedy contributor Ross Hyzer on Feb. 28 for “Two-Book Minimum,” a night of in-store stand-up amongst the shelves.

During the show, the humorists will offer up their most literary-minded material, as well as stories and boozy musings on favorite authors and titles.

The event is itself a riff on Wilbur’s podcast of the same name, in which he has a discussion with a different author and comedian every show.

Approaching its 10th episode, the podcast takes the literary roundtable out of the ivory tower and into the gutter — eschewing discussion of form and process in favor of writing’s juicier and grittier sides.

“If you’re writing a novel about dating in New York, I don’t want to hear about process,” Wilbur said. “I want to hear your horror stories,”

The exchanges on the show often blur the line between the exegetical and the excremental — sometimes resulting in dialogue that would make Oscar Wilde blush.

“I think a lot of writers are uncertain if we’re trying to roast them,” Wilbur said. “But what ends up happening is the author and comic team up on me.”

For Wilbur, finding funny people for “Two-Book Minimum” has been no problem — he has amassed a compendium of comedians after nearly a decade in the industry. But rubbing elbows with authors didn’t happen so naturally. So Wilbur built his publishing industry contacts by engaging in the second-most writerly of pursuits.

“Drinking,” he said. “I wish it were cooler. I wish I were the Lorne Michaels of publishing, but I’m not.”

In the future, Wilbur aims to combine elements of the podcast and in-store acts into a live show. In the meantime, he is grappling with his own literary demons — Wilbur said his textual tastes are becoming so specific, he is running out of things to read.

“I might as well have a weird sexual fetish at this point — I’m only into 20th-Century, pre-fall-of-the-Soviet Union fiction,” he said. “Once that gets boring, I’ll probably just stop reading.”

“Two-Book Minimum” at Community Bookstore [143 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.communitybookstore.net]. Feb. 28 at 9:30 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.

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