A Review of Colin Jost’s “A Very Punchable Face: A Memoir”

In which I am appreciative of both the content and the man

Josie Laur, Copy Editor
Originally published February 23, 2021


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On July 14, 2020, Colin Jost published his first book, “A Very Punchable Face.” I have read it, and I am a fan.

    Jost, who many know from “Saturday Night Live,” has worked at “SNL” for 15 years. For the last six of those, he’s been a head writer and the host for the Weekend Update section, alongside comedian Michael Che.

    It’s not uncommon for celebrities to try to branch out into another creative field and have it not go so well. In fact, I think that that’s a pretty common result—Tik Tok stars with music, actors with books, musicians with acting.

    Jost, however, pulled it off. I believe that a large part of that is how much he obviously cares about this project—in the introduction, he tells us that he’s wanted to write a book for the majority of his life.

    It’s lucky for us that he carried through with that plan, because he is a great writer (as one might expect, considering his career path) who went and wrote a great book.

    With his usual style of humor—deadpan, wry, and often self-deprecating—this memoir very much reads like a product of what he is: a clever man with a lot of stories, who’s used to doing stand-up.

    Much of the memoir, due to his use of footnotes and parentheticals, feels like he’s just having a conversation with you, or telling you a story that happens to take you through his life. He’s a comedian, so it’s not surprising that much of the book is funny, but he’s also honest and has moments of poignant self-reflection that just add to the depth and the quality of what you’re reading.

    The chapter about his mom and the 9/11 attacks, for example, made me cry (in the dark, in my bed, late at night. Good times!), but he has a well-developed sense of rhythm that means, even with the heavier subjects, he never dwells on them for too long before briskly moving us along with a well-placed joke, aside, or lighter anecdote.

    The last third of the book or so is a love letter to “SNL” and his time there, and it’s a showing of his obvious amounts of affection for the job. There are pictures and memories for fans of the show, and his casual usage of names like Andy Samberg, Seth Meyers and Cecily Strong in his stories show us how deeply Jost cherishes the relationships and connections that he’s formed.

More than anything else, “A Very Punchable Face,” is a collection of unique and fun stories that reflect on the personal character growth and change of a unique and talented man.