“Generally to be a writer, to be an actual writer, you have to be outside. By which I mean, you have to be outside whatever it is you’re in in order to observe it. You have to notice things. Which is why white people don’t know what it’s like to be Black. That’s why. Very often people say, ‘I had a horrible childhood, or I was such an unhappy teenager.’ Like, what’s a happy teenager? There can’t be very many. It’s a very difficult period of life. You have to observe things.” – Fran Lebowitz, episode 180 on Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso
Legendary American author and public speaker Fran Lebowitz joins us via landline. In conversation, there’s nothing off-the-table for the famously persnickety sexagenarian. We discuss how she’s weathering the COVID crisis as a tried-and-true New Yorker (12:28), her clear-eyed views on race and racism (15:53), an enduring friendship with the late Toni Morrison (28:23), her lifelong disinterest in domesticity (38:04), the hostility she received as a literary wunderkind (44:12), the impact of AIDS on the artistic community (51:57), how she perhaps didn’t know her father at all (1:09:04), and whether she stills wants to work through her notorious “writer’s blockade” (1:11:36).
- Read Fran’s full interview on race and racism with Vanity Fair in 1997.
- Read The Impact of AIDS on the Artistic Community here.
- Watch Fran in the documentary Public Speaking
- You can find Fran’s books–Metropolitan Life, Social Studies, and The Fran Lebowitz Reader–here.
- Read Fran Lebowitz Is Never Leaving New York here.
Illustrations by: Krishna Shenoi.
Music by: Dylan Peck