Samantha Irby is a writer and comedian from Chicago. It would be unfair to reduce her to one sentence, however. So read ahead. Irby is the author of the blog bitches gotta eat, and most known for her break-out book We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. You know, the one with the wet, meowing (or yawning, I don’t know) kitten on the cover?
She also wrote Meaty, another collection of essays that was initially released prior to We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. Meaty was then re-released by Vintage Books this year. In addition to her other animal adorned cover, this one is pink and features a hedgehog. He’s dry and looks okay, though!
Irby has been posting on her blog since 2009. Furthermore, you can still read those posts; it’s easy to get lost for a few hours doing so. Even her chosen title and bio line “ALL KILLER NO FILLER” are a subtle introduction into what the posts consist of.
AND she’s best friends with author Roxane Gay. Can you imagine the intelligent/hilarious/deep conversations they have together?
They are all hysterically honest.
The author has a list of issues in her life that never seem to subside. She describes herself as an orphan, disabled, large, and woman of color that also suffers from depression. Yet, she deals or copes with her struggles with race, size discrimination, people watching her as she walks with a limp, and diarrhea all through humor. The best kind of humor.
Irby is the queen of self-deprecation, I want to read about it all day. I want to talk to her about my first world problems, too.
Just read this section of her post book writing is hard as a motherfucker from November 9th, 2012:
“i got 99 problems and a bitch ain’t one: #1 my crohns is out of remission and holy hell i almost fucking forgot what absolutely horrible business this is. i can’t drink a glass of water without shitting my fucking pants. the other day i looked at a piece of cheese and threw up.
#2 this goddamned election was giving me an ulcer. i watch too much msnbc, and that turned me into a paranoid asshole. i wrote a piece for the machete a couple weeks ago about the third debate and, after i stopped stabbing my eyes out from boredom over the whole thing, i wrote, “i don’t even care who wins, just please let this end so my shows can come on at their regularly scheduled times. ps, LET THEM SLAP BOX IN THE STREET.”
#3 my building has been sold twice in as many months, and this song i just wrote called “sam and helen are homeless and it’s winter” is playing on a continuous loop in my head. two sales simply cannot be a good sign, am i right? also, can i please come live with you?
#4 this season of sons of anarchy is not that good and i cannot believe they fucking killed OPIE. what, tig can’t take a bat to the head?! *welp*
#5 my fantasy team SUCKS.”
The author regularly posted on her blog and still does. It’s modest and seems proud to have a look of a MySpace page or a pre-facebook era blog. Again, showing just who Irby is. She is who she is and won’t change for anyone.
Irby talks about her reluctance towards change in one of her essays from Meaty. Why I’d Rather Live Alone compares and ultimately convinces herself that living with a partner just wouldn’t work for her lifestyle.
“I don’t know, man. I’m just not big on spending every waking minute with someone you show your privates to. People are boring. I’m fucking boring. My funny runs out; my cute runs out; my smart sometimes hiccups; my sexy wakes up with uncontrollable diarrhea. I have a fucking attitude. And a sharp, nasty edge.”
She decides at the end that she will die alone, “in giant panties that come up to my chin, with crumbs under my tits, and a half-eaten cat face.” As I finish reading this I’m almost convinced myself that she didn’t make it sound too bad. Plus, with all of that funniness to it and her excellent points, maybe she’s on to something?
Despite this, Irby ended up marrying Kirsten Jennings in 2016. She even relocated from her hometown to Michigan to be with her wife and her wife’s children from a previous relationship. In her book, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life she details the move and settling into a small town.
When asked about how she feels in her living situation in Time Out Chicago, Irby said…
“I don’t know, maybe I’m going to sound like an asshole, but I feel like when you meet your person—and if you’re honest about who you are and what you need—your person’s going to be like, ‘Alright, that’s cool with me.’ I pretty much do whatever I want. But luckily for both of us, what she needs already fits around what I already do.”
Her wife likes camping. Irby doesn’t. Irby’s wife doesn’t ask her to go camping and “makes jam” while Irby watches TV as she doesn’t care for it. It works.
The author has three books to date and an upcoming television series.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life was a success and I still add it to book recommendations when I can. Seriously, if you haven’t read it do it. It was a New York Times Best Seller and the newspaper named it “A sidesplitting polemicist for the most awful situations.”
Moreover, New Year, Same Trash which was released a few months before the aforementioned book scored a 4.3 on Good Reads. Irby isn’t under any impression that the micro-goals she sets for herself this year will be met. It’s a reminder that we’re not alone and that Irby is the icon we need today.
Her third and most recently (re)released book Meaty is to be made into a show by Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson and Inside Amy Schumer’s Jessi Klein. The show, like her book, will follow Irby’s life as a woman of color in Chicago. As well as dealing with poverty, bad relationships and, yes, diarrhea. Jacobson and Irby talk about their friendship and upcoming show in this TalkHouse podcast.
We’re already anxiously awaiting a release date for the FX show. Hurry up, pleeeease.