A compendium of advice from the producers, writers, and actors of The Office, Saturday Night Live, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Knocked Up, Flight of the Conchords, The Daily Show, Arrested Development, Reno 911!, and The Hangover along with other people who should really never give advice.
In these pages Fred Armisen offers help telling your dad you’re a lesbian—give him the phone number and he’ll do it for you. Mindy Kaling provides guidance on ending things with your mistress—dude, you totally have to kill her. Rainn Wilson offers insight on contacting that girl you dreamed about last night—he has created all-purpose web portal for such interactions. Amy Sedaris identifies the best way to a man’s heart—bone saw through the chest cavity.
Aziz Ansari, Judd Apatow, Fred Armisen, Maria Bamford, Todd Barry, Samantha Bee, Michael Ian Black, Andy Borowitz, Michael Cera, Vernon Chatman, Rob Corddry, David Cross, Larry Doyle, Paul Feig, Jim Gaffigan, Zach Galifianakis, Janeane Garofalo, Daniel Handler, Todd Hanson, Tim Heidecker, Ed Helms, Buck Henry, Mindy Kaling, John Lee, Thomas Lennon, Al Madrigal, Aasif Mandvi, Marc Maron, Adam McKay, Eugene Mirman, Morgan Murphy, Bob Odenkirk, John Oliver, Patton Oswalt, Martha Plimpton, Harold Ramis, Amy Sedaris, Michael Showalter, Sarah Silverman, Paul F. Tompkins, Sarah Vowell, David Wain, Eric Wareheim, Rainn Wilson, Lizz Winstead
A selection of advice from You're a Horrible Person, But I Like You:
Fred Armisen Dear Fred:
What do you think is the best way to tell my dad I'm a lesbian? I'm thinking he's already suspicious since I'm thirty-one and haven't yet brought a guy home.
Jennifer Alfonso Tampa, FL
I'll tell him. What's his number? Let me practice what I'm going to say to him. "Hi, Mr. Alfonso? I'm Fred Armisen from Saturday Night Live
on NBC." No, no, no. "Hey! Señor Alfonso! Whatchoo' doin'? Slap me five!" No. "Mr. Alfonso, this is an amazing, weird planet we live on. Look at that sky. Is there a name for such a beautiful color? Let's talk about your daughter." No. I'll figure it out. But again, his number, please.
Fred Samantha Bee Dear Samantha: I was wondering if you could give me some investment advice. I'm about to retire and I'm a little freaked.
Leah Dawson Sarasota, FL
I'm freaked for you. I'm so freaked I don't even have any jokes. I was trying to think of a kind of jokey answer and then I just felt like a horrible person and I deleted it. I am really scared for you. Seriously scared. You are in serious trouble. I hope you've been hoarding conflict diamonds and Cipro, because you are about to enter the s-h-i-t, the Heart of Darkness. Take everything you ever thought you knew about investing and do the exact opposite. The currency of the future will be heirloom seeds, so good luck with that one. Panic. Learn how to field dress a wild pig and distill your urine into potable water. Most importantly, if you take anything away from this response at all, just know that the best thing for you to do is to exercise a lot and stay really sinewy, so that when the cannibals come they will not want to eat you.
I should probably also mention that I just finished reading The Road
. I don't know if that makes a difference at all.
Samantha Michael Cera Dear Michael:
Do you think turtles tell jokes? It seems like they could be really funny.
Rilo Akron, OH
I think that turtles definitely do not tell jokes. They could still be funny I think, but it would be purely based on their appearance and the way that they move really slowly. But if we scrutinize further, we find that the humor ends there, and the sadness of the turtle's existence washes away all the jokes, culminating as the ultimate truth of the animal.
Michael Zach Galifianakis Dear Zach: A friend recently gave me a twice-used Weber grill for my birthday. The instructions are fairly clear that it is only to be used outdoors. I never leave the house, however, because my neighbors are all government spies. Is there a way that I can enjoy the delicious taste of charcoal-grilled meat within the confines of my sanctum?
Brooke James Saucier Evanston, IL
So the government is hassling you, huh? Not surprising. I get followed all the time because I wrote a memo to my assistant saying that I used to date Dakota Fanning, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives thinks it's their business. Anyway, as for your question, grilling inside is dangerous but rewarding. I usually grill in the bathroom, since it's the only room with a built-in fan. Sitting on the toilet while checking the progress of your wiener is a Fourth of July tradition in the Galifianakis home.
Zach Mindy Kaling Dear Mindy: My husband is a terrible author. He's been working on the same novel for almost a decade, and I'm so tired of reading his "latest revision." I just can't fake it anymore, and he gets suspicious when I claim to have a headache or eye cramps. How can I avoid his sloppy prose while also sparing his feelings?
Guilty Wife in Baton Rouge
Dear Guilty Wife:
You think the fact that he's bad is the reason you hate reading his stuff, but it's not. When I carried on my decades-long affair with Tom Wolfe—you should've seen the two of us, nattily dressed in matching white suits—he always asked me to read his work. It was dreadful. It got to the point where I had to put down chapter two of The Right Stuff
and say: "They go to space, they don't go to space, I don't care anymore!" And he's a good writer. It's torture. I would check in to a women's shelter.
Mindy John Oliver Dear John: The future is unknowable, the past is regrettable. How do you reconcile the present and get dinner on the table?
Mike Rose Albuquerque, N.M.
First of all, you may be under the impression that you have blown my mind with that question. You would be wrong.
As a citizen of New Mexico, I'm not sure you should be concerning yourself too much with the future. Why? You people live in a desert. I would imagine that you are already in the process of preparing for your Mad Max
-style existence, which will be taking place at some point in the next two-to-five years. When oil hits five dollars a barrel, make sure that you've got your spiky shoulder pads and face paint ready. It's Thunderdome time.
As for putting dinner on the table—let's not sugar-coat this. You're going to be living on road kill. My advice would be "always remove the squirrel's tail." That's a memory of cuteness you do not want to conjure up as you raise the stick towards your mouth.
All the best,
John Amy Sedaris
Dear Amy: I've been single for about a year now, after a long-term relationship fizzled. All of a sudden, I'm starting to get those co-dependency urges again. Should I suppress these unwanted feelings without the use of pills or alcohol?
Sincerely, Looking for an Out without Slipping In
What's wrong with pills and alcohol? Are you judging me? Whatever helps me through the hard times is a-OK with me. It kills the pain. I hate it when people start spewing out bullshit like, "You're going to have to deal with it sooner or later." Well, not really, because by the time "later" comes, my problem will be over because of the booze and pills. I'm not stupid. You codependent people are all the same!
Are you selling any pills?
Excerpted from You're a Horrible Person, But I Like You by With Sarah Silverman, Zach Galiafinakis, Fred Armisen, Judd Apatow, and more Introduction by David Cross. Copyright © 2010 by The Believer. Excerpted by permission of Vintage, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.