“My old work was about the absence of meaning; it’s just trying to be funny.”
Michael Kupperman rejoins the show to talk about his new book, All The Answers (Gallery 13)! We talk about his father Joel Kupperman’s experience on the Quiz Kids radio and TV shows and how it led to a multigenerational chain of trauma, the shifting of gears from absurdist humor to heartfelt family memoir, the airing of family secrets, the five-plus years of work this book required, and more. We also get into how Mike learned to be a father on the fly, the way his PR push for the book has turned into an ongoing therapy session, why his comedy performances may have been a time-delayed act of paternal rebellion, why it’s important for him to reach a non-comics audience, the change to a mainstream house after working with comics publishers, and his assessment of his career and his perceived lack of respect (that would be the aforementioned therapy session). Give it a listen! And go buy All The Answers!
(Oh, and here’s our first conversation, from 2013.)
“When you start thinking about your own family dynamics, there’s a kind of inertia involved, but when you push past that, you start to have some startling realizations.”
“My father desperately wanted me and my sibling to be normal, whatever that is, but he didn’t recognize how deeply abnormal we are.”
About our Guest
Michael Kupperman’s comic drawings and strips have appeared in dozens of publications including The New Yorker, Fortune, The New York Times, Nickelodeon Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, Esquire, Heavy Metal, and McSweeney’s; comic books for DC, Marvel, and others; and been collected in multiple books, including five of his own. They’ve also been animated for Saturday Night Live, Adult Swim, and Comedy Central. Conan O’Brien described him as “probably one of the greatest comedy brains on the planet.” All The Answers is his first serious book. Michael lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Muire, and son, Ulysses.
This is his second appearance on The Virtual Memories Show. Check out his first one, recorded at TCAF 2013.
Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Mike’s home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Mr. Kupperman by me. It’s on my instagram.
“Living on the Upper West Side in my 20s was the first time in my life when I thought my life was not going to be a complete cratering shitshow disaster.”
Live from MoCCA 2018, Roz Chast rejoins the show to talk about her 40-year+ career as the “different-different-different” cartoonist at The New Yorker, what her workday is like, why she avoids topical and political cartooning, the joy of drawing on an iPad and the fun of Instagram, and more! We get into her new book, Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York (Bloomsbury USA), and her issues with the suburbs, like learning to drive at 38 and being scared of having a basement. We also discuss the transition to a new cartoon editor at The New Yorker who’s the same age as her kids, the recent shift in gender representation, and the gags she couldn’t have made before she lost her parents. Plus: audience Q& A! Give it a listen! And go buy Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York and Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir!
“When I watched James Bond movies as a kid, I didn’t fantasize about being Pussy Galore. Reading Tom Sawyer, I didn’t wait for more segments on Aunt Polly so I could identify.”
“George Trow said that structure is what keeps readers from getting tired, and I think that’s true.”
About our Guest
Roz Chast grew up in Brooklyn. Her cartoons began appearing in The New Yorker in 1978, where she has since published more than one thousand. She wrote and illustrated the #1 New York Times bestseller, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir, a National Book Critics Circle Award and Kirkus Prize winner and finalist for the National Book Award, as well as What I Hate: From A to Z, and her cartoon collections The Party, After You Left, and Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978-2006. Her new book is Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York.
Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at ink48 on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Roz by her mom or dad back in 1966, I figure. It’s not on my instagram.