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Rich and Unnecessarily Famous

Just as a matter of taste, I prefer it when the children of famous people accomplish little and keep a low profile. They are already set up on easy street and have plenty of spillover attention with which to entertain themselves. If that isn’t enough, they can always DJ or tweet about fashion. But to become a brilliant humorist, well, that’s just missing the whole point of being a kid of a famous person.

Granted, Simon Rich (son of longtime New York Times columnist Frank Rich) doesn’t carry the same familial capital of, say, Chet Haze (aka Chester Hanks) – but that’s still no excuse. The highlights of Simon Rich’s superfluous career include: being the President of the Harvard Lampoon, he was dubbed a “wunderkind” as Saturday Night Live’s youngest-ever staff writer, and then he went on to pen four pretty hilarious books.  What a showboat.

The first of those books, Ant Farm (2007), is a Thurber-prize nominated collection of short essays that explore awkward youth and making sense of life’s small injustices. Here’s an excerpt from the essay “What Goes Through My Mind When I’m Home Alone (From My Mom’s Perspective)”:

Hmm, Mom left me home alone. Better go through the medicine cabinet and drink all the medicine for no reason. Wait, what’s this? A note telling me not to “drink any medicines”? Thank God! I was about to do that…

Well, better throw things out the window, something I haven’t done since I was seven. I’m fifteen years old, but I haven’t matured at all. I still need to be reminded constantly about how to get through the day. What? A note? Guess I shouldn’t “throw objects out the window” after all. There go my big plans.

Now at 28, a more mature Rich has released a new novel titled What in God’s Name. In it he imagines what heaven might be like if it were run as a corporation. God is portrayed as a charismatic, but oblivious, CEO who views humanity as a product line that’s just about run its course. To save the world, a well-intentioned Angel bets God that he can make a love connection between two lonely New Yorkers that both suffer from a tragic dearth of mojo – and, of course, hilarity ensues… unnecessarily. - Ransom Jabara, Reference

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