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I’m Dying Up Here


In 1972, The Tonight Show moved production from New York to Los Angeles, suddenly making the Golden State the place to be for aspiring comedians. This is the launching point for I’m Dying Up Here, a Showtime dramedy that was first released back in 2017. With Jim Carrey as co–executive producer and loosely based on William Knoedelseder’s book by the same name, it follows a group of young intrepid stand-ups trying to get noticed, while also revealing a backstage world of depression, addiction, and mental illness. The main characters—played by Melissa Leo, Ari Graynor, and Jake Lacy—are each composites of real people, and where the show excels is exposing the nerves, the infighting, the arguing, and the elation when a comic soars. (showtime.com) —Bridget Arsenault

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In Bibi’s Kitchen


The very best cookbooks are more than a mere collection of recipes. In Bibi’s Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries That Touch the Indian Ocean, a new cookbook by Hawa Hassan with Julia Turshen, is best described as an heirloom. There’s a remarkable bibi (grandmother) behind each dish, and Hassan and Turshen do a faithful job of illuminating their stories. The chapters are organized by country, and they are full of tantalizing dishes and tales that will both wrench and warm the heart. (Start with the chicken biryani, a crowd-pleasing layered dish of chicken, rice, and vegetables.) It’s an ideal holiday gift that will make the pending lockdown experience more enjoyable, meaningful, and delicious. ($32, amazon.com) —Ashley Baker

Tune

Renaissance Avatar


If your face isn’t already splashed all over Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet, feel free to scroll on by. As for me, no matter how many times I give up my data to China, Russia, my ex-boyfriend’s cousin’s sister, and the N.S.A., I will never stop aiming for the next great selfie. Just when this pursuit was in danger of becoming repetitive (mid–lockdown No. 1, to be exact), I found out about an app that would turn my mug into a Renaissance painting. I do think I came out a bit more Madame X than Mona Lisa, but, alas, I’ve always been ahead of my time. (apps.apple.com) —Daisy Alioto

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Gamblers


I’ve never been particularly interested in gambling, but after reading David Hill’s debut book, The Vaporsabout his grandmother’s experience at the heart of an illegal casino in Hot Springs, Arkansas—I knew I had to listen to his new podcast, on the Ringer. Gamblers is an anthology series focused on six professional gamblers and the legal, illegal, and barely legal high jinks they get up to. I have never been to Las Vegas or shot competitive pool, and even I found something to relate to. Who among us hasn’t walked around with cash hidden in their shoe? (theringer.com) —Daisy Alioto

Issue No. 72
November 28, 2020
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Issue No. 72
November 28, 2020
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