I really do enjoy celebrity memoirs ,and I like SNL, but I’ve been mostly disappointed with SNL-adjacent memoirs in the past. This new book by Colin Jost, out this July, finally gives me what I want as a reader! Part memoir, part essay collection, lots of humor and jokes, and an actual behind-the-scenes look at SNL. As someone who loves the YouTube videos about the behind-SNL stuff (hair, cue cards, etc), this book really soared for me, even as someone who likes Weekend Update but goes weeks forgetting that Colin Jost exists.
Alright, so A Very Punchable Face is truly the best of both worlds–memoir and essay collection. Jost talks about growing up on Staten Island, his experiences as a child, commuting to school, worrying about his mom (who worked in medical for the fire department) on 9/11, and going to college–Harvard obviously–but he always talks extensively about his career up to SNL–writing at a newspaper, on a show, etc–and then about his time at SNL–from the interview to life on set to finding balance (you don’t lol) and getting Weekend Update and becoming head writer. As someone who HATED the Amy Poehler memoir for how it glossed over things, I loved this book and how it went into detail on this things with humor and realized what the reader wanted to know as much as what he wanted to tell.
Overall, I think this book works. Essay collections by known funny people can be tough, because sometimes they aren’t as funny as they think they are or they overthink things, and while not every piece of this book was my favorite, I think overall it works really well. The only part I HATED was towards the end where Jost admits he will probably leave SNL soon, though he doesn’t give an exact date. Does this mean he and ScarJo are going to have a baby, or is he about to launch a movie career? Stay tuned. I’ll be happy with either, tbh, but it will suck to see him go from SNL one day.