Intimacy Idiot (Hardcover)

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An NPR Best Book of 2015

This big-hearted, laugh-until-you-can’t-breathe collection of personal essays, stories, and riffs on finding love and intimacy in New York City announces the arrival of a “a monstrous new talent” (New York magazine) in the vein of David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs, and Tina Fey.

In this uproariously funny debut collection, award-winning writer and performer Isaac Oliver serves up a comedic cornucopia of sketches, vignettes, lists, and diaries from his life as a young, fanciful, and extremely single gay man in New York City. Whether he’s hooking up with a man who dresses as a dolphin, suffering on airplanes and buses next to people with Food From Home, or hovering around an impenetrable circle of attractive people at a cocktail party, Oliver captures the messy, moving, and absurd moments of urban life as we live it today.

Since moving to New York a decade ago, Oliver has pined for countless strangers on the subway, slept with half the people in his Washington Heights neighborhood, and observed the best and worst of humanity from behind the glass of a Times Square theater box office. He also rode the subway during Breastfeeding Awareness Week and lived to tell the tale. Culled from years of heartbreak, hook-ups, and more awkwardness than a virgin at prom and a whore in church (and he should know because he’s been both), Intimacy Idiot chronicles Oliver’s encounters with love, infatuation, resilience, and self-acceptance that echo our universal desire for intimacy of all kinds.

About the Author

Isaac Oliver is an award-winning writer and performer. He has read stories in the How I Learned Series, Dead Darlings, The Soundtrack Series, Real Characters, Naked Radio, and On This Island. Intimacy Idiot is his first book.

Praise For…

"Anyone, gay or straight, who's trying to hack his way through the dating world would enjoy this."
— Chris Colfer

"Isaac Oliver is one of the funniest, sharpest and smartest writers I have ever encountered...on Grindr. His book is pretty hilarious too."
— Jesse Tyler Ferguson, star of ABC's "Modern Family"

"The best stories of awkward dating and sex are the ones that aren't happening to you. I laughed out loud at this consistently hilarious and surprisingly poignant collection from the comfort of my own home, without ever having to remove clothing in front of a stranger. Thank you, Intimacy Idiot!"
— Rachel Dratch, "Saturday Night Live" alum and author of "Girl Walks into a Bar…"

"Isaac Oliver is hilarious, biting, heartfelt, physically beautiful, financially wealthy. He's like if Oscar Wilde were gay!!"
— Megan Amram, author of "Science…for Her!"

"Isaac Oliver is a tender and tenacious observer of folly and desire in our modern age."
— Susanna Sonnenberg, author of "Her Last Death" and "She Matters"

"Wickedly humorous...surprisingly moving."

"Affecting and effective...Oliver’s collection will please fans of David Sedaris and David Rakoff."

"Isaac Oliver splits the difference between David Rakoff and Larry David in a hilarious, unsparing essay collection that assesses other peoples’ social infractions and his own casual encounters with furries."

"[A] Gut-Buster...Oliver muses on everything from subway rides to Grindr. With his eyebrow cocked and "murse" in hand, there's no such thing as 'too far' for this New Yorker."

“…more than just a deeply honest, coming-of-age memoir. It’s funny, touching, enlightening, and by the end, you’ll feel like you’ve watched Oliver grow up.”

"[An] emerging talent."

"If David Sedaris and Fran Lebowitz had a baby who wrote about subways, theater patrons and blow jobs, he might be a lot like Isaac Oliver.... [A] compulsively readable debut collection."

"A humorous collection of essays and sketches."

"Like any young memoirist worth reading, Oliver has mastered the art of self-deprecation...Oliver can find humor and heart in the unlikeliest of places."

"Isaac Oliver delivers big in his debut Intimacy Idiot. Hooks and heartbreaks are laid out like a feast for readers..Oliver's observations and encounters will strike a chord of familiarity with anyone who has been brave enough to search for connections in the urban jungle."

"If you're looking to laugh your ass off in spite of yourself, you've come to the right place... sincere, thoughtful and genuinely funny."

"Hilarious and heartfelt."


"Isaac Oliver’s debut collection of humor stories, “Intimacy Idiot,” smacks of David Sedaris. And it’s not just because he’s insanely dry, incredibly witty, and has stories about being bad at driving or being bad at dating in New York City, although he does all those things, and he is brilliant at it. This is the type of book that makes you look crazy as you laugh out loud alone. I dare you not to read it and not laugh out loud alone. On the first page."

"When it comes to getting intimate, comic writer Isaac Oliver is no idiot...Hysterical."

"Fans of David Sedaris and David Rakoff, take note: Here’s another bracingly sharp, unbelievably funny voice for you to embrace. Charting the highlights and mostly lowlights of living in New York City, Oliver tackles dating, intimacy, subways, cocktail parties, Times Square, and so much more via sketches, vignettes, and diary entries...guaranteed to make you laugh out loud."

"Balances the punchlines with pathos and genuine emotion...a great presentation of Oliver’s excellent comedy and writing abilities."

"Playwright, essayist and performer Isaac Oliver is on an enviable roll."

"Brilliant and hilarious and surprisingly, shockingly at times, intimate. You’ll want to have dinner with [Oliver] and maybe want to slightly protect him from the world and himself. Buy it!”
— Nathan Lane, "The New York Times"

"If you're still mourning the demise of Sex and the City, and wish that David Sedaris would get a little raunchier, look no further than Isaac Oliver's laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays about sleeping his way around New York. At first, his prose presents the polished self-presentation of a monologue or stand-up comedy routine, but Oliver doesn't bore by remaining on the surface. Instead, he performs a daring emotional striptease, peeling away the layers of a stock character (the promiscuous single gay man) to reveal the heart and soul beneath."

Product Details
ISBN: 9781476746661
ISBN-10: 1476746664
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2015
Pages: 288
Language: English