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Subbed titles: A variety show for re-named books - Brooklyn Paper

Subbed titles: A variety show for re-named books

Feeling entitled: Literary comedian Dan Wilbur shows off his collection of reimagined book titles, launching with a variety show at Littlefield on May 10.
Photo by Nicole Lewis

He has a title role!

The Kensington comedian behind the daily blog “Better Book Titles” will release his own tome this week, a collection of famous book covers given what he says are better, more accurate labels. The creator of “Never Flirt with Puppy Killers and Other Better Book Titles,” which will launch with a variety show at Littlefield in Gowanus on May 10, says his book deal was a happy consequence of wanting to make people laugh.

“I wanted to make somebody’s day easier, I wasn’t looking for any monetary compensation,” said Dan Wilbur.

A stand-up comedian since 2005, Wilbur conceived the blog while playing a video game that, he realized at the end, involved assassinating the Pope. The game’s title, “Assassin’s Creed,” had definitely buried the lede, he said.

“I thought it shouldn’t have such a pretentious title, and that’s where the idea started,” said Wilbur. Instead, it should have been titled “Kill the Pope,” he said.

Wilbur, an avid reader, set out to more accurately label books instead of games. Each of his re-titles hilariously condenses the lessons of the book, sparing people from having to thumb through the pages.

Some of books in his title wave include “My Dad is Cooler than Your Dad” for Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Skipping Dinner is Like Dropping Acid” for Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.”

Wilbur will unveil his magnum opus with a book-themed variety show featuring a slew of comedians, including Erik Bergstrom, band Reformed Whores and funnywoman Janeane Garofalo, who he knows from the city’s stand-up circuit.

The evening will also include an interactive segment, in which audience members hand Wilbur a book and make him come up with a new title on the spot. A librarian from the Brooklyn Public Library will have a shelf full of books to choose from, but those seeking to stump the comedian are welcome to bring their own page flippers.

Just like he summarizes books with simple, catchy titles, Wilbur condensed the reasons people should pick up his book to a single sentence.

“You should buy ‘Never Flirt with Puppy Killers’ because I’m starving and I need your money and need you to buy this or I won’t be able to live my comfy life,” he said.

“Never Flirt With Puppy Killers and Other Better Book Titles” launch at Littlefield [622 DeGraw St. between Third and Fourth Avenues in Gowanus, www.littlefieldnyc.com]. May 10 at 8 pm. $8 ($15 with a book).

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
A peek inside: Wilbur’s book features titles that better summarize the contents of some of the world’s most well-known books.
Photo by Nicole Lewis

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