Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Saturday Night Live writing alum and Thurber Prize winner Zweibel (The Other Shulman) returns with a collection of essays, short stories and ephemera that should solidify his place among American satirists. The books starts off strong with “Letters From an Annoying Man,” a fictional tete-a-tete between Zweibel and a misguided fan that quickly escalates (with shades of Curb Your Enthusiasm, another show Zweibel has written for); the title essay, detailing Zweibel’s trip to a nudist resort; and “Herb Sargent,” a meditation on the mercurial qualities of friendship. At its best, Zweibel’s work has depth and a respect for his subjects commiserate with his self-deprecating sense of humor; instead of laughing at nudists, readers laugh at Zweibel as he struggles with an erection in the swimming pool, or suffers the indignity of being beaten in the New York City Marathon by a runner dressed as a polar bear, or the litany of abuse he endures as a Little League commissioner. Though some pieces run long (“Comic Dialogue,” “Happy”), comedy fans will appreciate Zweibel’s range, as well as his ability to convey tender moments. Many humor books are consumed and forgotten; this is one to read and revisit.
Praise for CLOTHING OPTIONAL
"Humor writer, author, playwright. But enough about me. Alan Zweibel’s book made me laugh out loud!"
"If you’re only going to read one book this year, well, you’re a moron and this is definitely not the book for you. If, however, you’re depressed, agitated, bitter, horny, bi-polar, a layabout, or a pathological liar, then, like me, you have much in common with the depraved soul who wrote these stories and owe it to yourself and whatever loved ones you probably don’t have, to read it."
"Alan Zweibel is the funniest writer in the world. He might be even funnier when he’s naked, but I’m afraid to find out."
"I’ve known Alan Zweibel since 1975, and I’ve always had this sneaking suspicion that he might possess a sense of humor. After reading CLOTHING OPTIONAL, I’m almost sure he does."
"So funny, so smart. I can’t wait to re-read Alan’s book with the TV off."
"Read Alan Zweibel and you’ll be reminded of the likes of Robert Benchley and S.J. Perelman. You can’t help but be moved by his warmth and insight even as you laugh your ass off."
"Reading Alan Zweibel makes me laugh out loud. And yet it is not a particularly funny name."
"This new work by my lifelong pal proves two things. One, he deserves his iconic status as a humorist and two, he needs hospitalization.”
"This book made me sick – that l didn’t write it."
"That Alan Zweibel is deeply funny is a given. The thing that I really love about this collection is Alan’s humanity. Read it. It’s wise, hilarious and original."
Praise for Alan Zweibel’s The Other Shulman
“Entertaining, funny . . . winning deadpan humor . . . [Zweibel] writes with a jaundiced satirical eye.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A style that successfully blends the woebegone humor of Woody Allen with the whiplash sarcasm of Jerry Seinfeld.”
“[Zweibel has] a deft humorous touch.”
–The New York Times Book Review
“An amazing comic novel that is every bit as novel as it is comic.”
–Larry David, creator of Curb Your Enthusiasm
“Wonderfully inventive . . . hilarious, emotional, and powerful.”