Review: Self-Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler

SelfInflictedWounds

Self-Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler. 256 pp. It Books.

Aisha Tyler is many things that I am not: tall, childless, funny, confident, fearless. But she and I also share some qualities, if you can call them that. We’re both neurotic, both nerds, both prone to going off on tangents while telling a story. But let’s be honest: it doesn’t matter if an author and I have absolutely nothing in common, really, as long as she makes her writing work. And Aisha Tyler does just that.

Self-Inflicted Wounds is a memoir of sorts in which Tyler recounts all the times in her life, beginning at the ripe old age of five, when she (inadvertently) screwed herself over. From setting the kitchen on fire to boy problems to broken bones, she’s had a remarkable amount of incidents where she can blame no one but herself. Footnotes are liberally sprinkled throughout the cringe-inducing tales. This is an excellent format for the asides that a stand-up comedian can’t help but make when telling a story.

Although she often drops a mini-lesson at the end of a chapter, the best part about these episodes is that they’re funny. In fact, they’re so funny that I tried my son’s patience more than once. See, I’m still nursing him once or twice a day. And when you’re reading a funny book and don’t want your nipple bitten off, you try not to laugh. But as any private-school girl knows, withholding laughter just means lots of snorting and jerky shoulders. So my kid’s head is bouncing on my arm, and I’m trying to stop laughing, which is only making me laugh harder, and then I have to stop reading and use the advice from my scuba certification course: just focus on your breathing. She’s that funny.

To be honest, I didn’t know who Aisha Tyler was before Friends. I still haven’t seen her stand-up (but may need to, since I enjoyed this book so much), but I’m a big fan of Archer and think she’s pretty great on there. And now that I know how much I enjoy her particular brand of ranting, self-deprecating humor, I’m even more excited about her gig as host on the revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I was a tentative Tyler fan before, but now I’ll look forward to her upcoming projects with increased zeal. And isn’t that a successful venture for an artist?

All in all: Read this if a) you like comedy and b) you don’t mind lots of 17+ language.

Note: Only read this in public if you don’t mind people staring at you as you try your hardest not to bust out laughing.