If there ever was an example of following your passion, it has to be Lizz Winstead. In an industry that regularly relegates women to novelty acts, she has carved out a long and considerable career as a comedian. And she's done so without censoring her wit or her political ideology, even though managers told her that would be the death knell to her career.
Born the youngest in a conservative Catholic family in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Lizz bristled at the conventions and restrictions of her upbringing. She didn't know what she wanted to do, but she knew that it didn't involve getting married, having kids and moving to the suburbs. A natural performer, Lizz discovered her calling in college, when a friend suggested that she perform at an Open Mic night at a local comedy club. But her stand up found a real voice after the first Gulf War and her outrage at the political propaganda swirling around was only topped by her exasperation at the media. That led to the creation of The Daily Show, where they tweaked both politicians and the journalists who covered them by imitating them. Lizz was the Head Writer for The Daily Show, without any television experience. But even without a resume behind it, she changed the media landscape. And then she did it again, by co-founding Air America and the show Unfiltered with the wonderful Chuck D and a little radio newbie named Rachel Maddow.
All this and more are chronicled in her first book, Lizz Free or Die. Lizz has written essays covering her childhood, relationship with her church, her siblings, her parents, her dogs, friends, lovers, and bosses and the process of finding her way and her voice. It is funny, raw and always indomitably Lizz.
Lizz Free or Die will be released on May 10, but you can pre-order her book at indiebound now.
And best of all, Lizz Winstead is here to talk to us about her experiences and her book. Please join me in welcoming Lizz to C&L, and let's talk Lizz Free or Die.