New comedic book contemplates ‘The Harm in Asking’

Brooklyn BookBeat: Brooklyn Writer To Launch Collection in Greenpoint

March 27, 2014 By Samantha Samel Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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“I think that anything has the potential to be funny,” Brooklyn-based writer and comedian Sara Barron told us in a recent interview. Indeed, it is this philosophy that pervades her new book, “The Harm in Asking: My Clumsy Encounters with the Human Race,” just released on March 25.  A follow-up to her esteemed collection “People Are Unappealing,” Barron’s new set of essays addresses an array of life’s embarrassing circumstances and situations, all through a humorous and self-aware (and often self-deprecating) lens. The author will appear in Greenpoint to discuss her book on April 2 at WORD Bookstore.

A Chicago native and former Greenpoint resident, Barron now resides in Bushwick after stints in Queens and Park Slope. She says that the craziness of New York (and its inhabitants) often inspires her work. “I love Chicago and I think Chicago’s a fantastic city, but I feel like these are not my people,” Barron said, explaining that she feels at home amidst the chaotic nature of New York.

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Though she’s always been creatively motivated, Barron didn’t set out to become an author. She came to New York City with the intention of being an actor, but after spending a few months auditioning for parts, she thought, “this is the worst, most degrading process.” Barron said, “I think you can intuit sort of early on whether or not you have the appetite for the kind of work that goes into a certain profession.”

Disenchanted by the hurdles of an acting career, Barron began getting into standup comedy. She said that even though it terrified her, “at least it puts me in a position of being able to write and make something of my own…it felt like a much more gratifying process to me than acting.”

All the while, Barron was waiting tables to pay the bills. When she eventually met with an agent who suggested she write a book, she says she remembers thinking it seemed like a crazy thing to take on — but she said “sure.”    

While Barron’s writing is consistently comedic, she hopes to deliver a more serious, underlying message through her work: that of embracing imperfections rather than building up facades. “Nowadays, everything is about showing how everything’s perfect…my marriage, my brunch, my baby,” Barron said, noting that Facebook and Instagram have become platforms through which people can document and share with the world the details of their lives. In her books, she hopes to convey the more honest, raw side of humanity — laughing at herself and her mishaps and encouraging others to do the same.    

Inspired by a variety of writers and comedians — among them David Sedaris, Sloane Crosley, Howard Stern and Louis C.K. — Barron says she enjoys writing as a private, humbling form of art. Writing a book, she explains, is “a very solitary endeavor…you’re just sitting there going, ‘this is kind of fun, this feels really human.’”

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The April 2 event will begin at 7 p.m. WORD is located at 126 Franklin St. in Greenpoint.

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