Camille Bordas - "The Material" - Cultural Services of the French Embassy

Tuesday, September 10, 2024 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Camille Bordas

Camille Bordas will discuss The Material. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

Presented in partnership with Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the Book: "A novel about an MFA program for stand-up comics better be damned funny, and The Material is definitely that. It's also profound, deeply engrossing, dark, and generous, a great novel about humans making art right now."--Sam Lipsyte, author of No One Left to Come Looking for You

"Brilliance is on display here."--Percival Everett, author of James and The Trees

Can comedy be taught? Someone, at some point, seemed to think so. The Chicago Stand-Up MFA program has enrolled young comedians for nearly a decade.

Its teachers and students all know how bits work—in theory, at least. They know that there’s a line between sharp and cruel, that sad becomes funny at the right angle, that the worst is the best, the truth is the worst, and any moment of your life that isn’t a punch line will either get you to a punch line or force you to be one.

They’re all afraid to be one.

Artie may be too handsome for standup, Olivia too reluctant to examine her own life, and Phil too afraid to cause harm. Kruger may be too vanilla to command his students’ respect, Ashbee too detached. And then we have Dorothy—the only woman on the program’s faculty—who though preparing to launch a comeback tour can’t tell if she’s too abiding, too ambitious, or too ambivalent.

Whether a visiting professor—the high-profile, controversy-steeped comedian Manny Reinhardt—will do more to help or harm their cause remains to be seen. But he’s on his way. He’ll be arriving sooner than anyone thinks.

Riffing keenly across a diverse array of precision-cut perspectives, The Material examines life through the eyes of a reluctantly assembled ensemble, a band of outsiders bound together by the need to laugh and the longing to make others laugh even harder.

About the Author: Camille Bordas is the author of three prizewinning novels. The most recent, How to Behave in a Crowd, was the first she wrote in English. The earlier two, Partie Commune and Les Treize Desserts, were written in her native French. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker and The Paris Review. She has been named a Guggenheim Fellow. Born in France, raised in Mexico City and Paris, she currently lives in Chicago.

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op
5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago 60615