Christina Pazsitzky is a comedian and writer, who is also half of the husband and wife dream team behind massively successful (and personal favourite of mine) podcast, Your Mom’s House. The podcast is one of the highest rated comedy podcasts on iTunes and was nominated for the Stitcher Radio Comedy Award in 2013. Christina Pazsitzky has written for popular shows such as Chelsea Lately and TBS Funniest Wins with Marlon Wayans. If you’re a fan of stand-up, I strongly suggest you check out Christina’s work; she has performed at many shows including the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, the Aspen Comedy Festival, and even performing for the troops in Afghanistan, South Korea, UAE and Africa. Before being a comedian, Christina Pazsitzky studied Philosophy at Oxford University. I am a big fan of Christina’s stand-up and podcast, so to have the opportunity to talk books with her was a real dream. Please enjoy my interview with the hilarious Christina Pazsitzky…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
Depends. If I’m going to see this person again in the near future, I say “Comedian”. If it’s on an airplane, or a waiting room, I say “Corporate Paralegal”. It’s a job that inspires few follow up questions.
Dr. Laura: The Unauthorized Biography by Vickie L. Bane (please don’t judge me). Obsessed with Dr. Laura Schlessinger these days. Not sure why… I should bring this up in therapy.
When you think about your childhood, what book comes to mind?
The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone and all the Sesame Street books you could buy at the grocery store in the 80’s.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
When did you fall in love with making people laugh?
3rd grade. I memorized my father’s “Truly Tasteless” Joke books he stashed in the bathroom and told the jokes at school. They were all these old timey racist, sexist, dead baby jokes and it was such a thrill to tell them to the other kids. So forbidden.
What do you think your school aged self would think of the present day you?
I’d be shocked to learn I don’t eat all the candy in the world now that I have permission to. Disappointed that I go to bed at 9:30pm voluntarily.
If you could wrap up a single book and gift it to yourself as you left education – which book would it be?
The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol. This is old school. Before the Secret, there was Claude M. Bristol.
Does your reading have routine? Is there a particular time or place that you like to read?
On the toilet, duh. I have a 9 month-old son, so I read when he sleeps. But mornings are the best for reading. I love getting ripped on coffee and getting deep on a book.
Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse My Life in Comedy by Phyllis Diller. She had such a positive perspective on show business and comedy. It’s easy to get jaded and cynical, Phyllis Diller was neither. This book really changed my thinking. Okay, one more please – The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – this book is great for anyone trying to make a living doing something creative.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring comedian?
1. Only say and do what is funny to you. Don’t think about what the crowd will think is funny.
2. Don’t be a douchebag. Be kind to people on your way up, because you will see them again on your way back down.
Who would you say your three biggest comedic influences are?
Bill Hicks, Roseanne Barr, George Carlin.
Do you have any books that you strongly associate with someone important in your life?
Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille. I read it to my husband when we first started dating and he thought it was the funniest thing he’d ever heard. It’s not a funny book at all. His reaction was ridiculous.
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
Tribes by Seth Godin – this book is great for anyone trying to make a living doing what they love.
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
Non-fiction. I like knowing how the world works. Don’t have the patience for fiction. Poetry makes me irate.
Do you think reading is important?
Reading might be the most important thing a person does. If there’s anything you want to know about, some other human has likely written it down in a book. As a species, humans have been around for 200,000 years – there’s an amazing amount of knowledge recorded in writing. Books have changed my life.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
Do you prefer real books or digital books?
I used to be a strict real book person, but my house became too cluttered with books and I had a real problem with buying them on Amazon. For travel, digital books are the easiest. Now, I’m in love with my e-reader.
Name a book that you feel every human should have to read by law.
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle (praise Oprah!). Yes, its a new- agey book, but it’s actually the spirituality of the East disguised as Western thought.
Existentialism and Human Emotions by Jean Paul Sartre blew my mind and formed who I am. Existentialism as a whole really changed how I think. Made me realize I hadn’t been thinking up until then.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard – very relevant especially in today’s internet culture.
The Bible – just to know what all the hubbub is about.
The Apology by Plato – Kind of an annoying read, but necessary to becoming a conscious human being.
Your Erroneous Zones by Dr. Wayne Dyer – old school self help book that still applies
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – again, old school but still applies
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
Next year?! Jeez, I’m reading a lot of baby development books so I raise my kid right. So more of that probably. Also, probably more new agey stuff. I’m always looking for ways to live better. Also, more books on how to conquer the world.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
The Art of the Fart Joke by Christina Pazsitzky.