Interview with Amber Tozer, Author of “Sober Stick Figure”Posted by Katherine Recap | Books, Comedy, Reading
Here at Fetchland we love to meet cool people, including the hilarious Amber Tozer. She’s a stand-up comic and writer with a Twitter following of more than fifty five thousand. Her tweets have been featured on Ellen, Huffington Post, Playboy, Mandatory.com, and many others. Amber’s also the author of a fantastic new book that had us peeing our pants laughing. All of her stories keep us enthralled while maintaining a tone of rollicking good fun. Her memoir does this exceptionally well AND, yes, she even drew the pictures. Sober Stick Figure recounts her story with fresh comedic insight that holds nothing back, not even the pee…
Fetch: Fetchland.com is a website where a lot of the readers are into the game Magic the Gathering. When you first came to New York City you worked at THE magic website thedojo.com. Is this the startup you talk about working at in the book?
Amber: Due to legal reasons I can not name real names of companies, but I will say this – that startup was “the online destination for gamers” and Magic the Gathering players loved that site. Was it thedojo.com? Maybe!
Fetch: We understand that this book is essentially understood to be about your experience with alcoholism and you giving the reader a personal road map to recovery. But what’s it really about for you? What do you want to give your readers with this story?
Amber: I love writing funny things about dark thoughts and situations and I’m obsessed with transformation and enlightenment. So, for me, spending time in hell, knee deep in alcoholism, and finding a way out and writing about it in a way that I think is funny – is what it’s about. For the reader, I hope they get what I have been given by other people’s stories of recovery – a better understand of addiction and a little hope. I also hope they laugh.
Fetch: Speaking of gifts, what’s a favorite experience you had in giving your book to someone or signing one for a fan?
Amber: Ha. Well, this very nice and enthusiastic guy named Chris, was at my book signing in NYC. We are friends on Facebook but we have never met before. He showed up and bought a bunch of books and then told me to go outside because he had something for me in his car. I thought, “He’s gonna murder me. Oh well, I’ve had a nice run.” So I went outside and his SUV was like a big chalkboard – the paint was chalkboard material – and he drew one of my stick figure drawings ON HIS CAR. It was nuts! He said he just really liked my book so he did that. That was my favorite experience. Oh, and my friend Lauren brought her little boy to a signing and he was carrying around my book around the bookstore and it was cute and made me happy.
Fetch: The world is reading your book! Tell us about the cities you’re visiting on your book tour and what silly stuff’s happening in each one.
In LA I had a launch party at Cinefamily. The co-host got really drunk and then I read about sobriety.
In Pueblo, CO I did a book signing at my mom’s restaurant. It was weird because a lot of my family members were there and I was reading about my dysfunctional family TO my dysfunctional family.
In Denver, CO I did a signing at Tattered Cover Bookstore and nothing weird happened but it was magical! I loved the vibe and the people at that place! My friends Timmi Lasley and Nathun Lund open up the show and they drew stick figures for their stories and it was really funny.
In NYC I did a signing at Powerhouse Arena. This was incredible. My friend Sarah Elizabeth Greer opened up the show with a story about stalking Edie Falco and she gave everyone in the audience pennies and told them to throw them in water for good luck. Jacqueline Novak read from her book HOW TO WEEP IN PUBLIC and it was so good. Oh, and my agent, the guy who changed my life, Peter Steinberg was there and brought a bunch of people from work. Fun times!
I’m in London now. Sober Stick Figure is published in the UK! I’m out here promoting it and will be on BBC Breakfast morning show talking about it! I just got here a few hours ago, so nothing weird has happened yet – although I did see a guy scratch his balls for about 5 minutes straight at the airport. He was sooo into it I couldn’t believe it.
Fetch: Some of the greatest stuff in your book comes from how you put yourself out there and let it all hang out. Was it a challenge to be so vulnerable and tell us about your sexual escapades in print? Were any particularly hard to talk about?
Amber: Yes, the sex stuff was a little hard to write about. Especially opening up about my bisexual benders. I’m ok with writing jokes about sex, but writing the truth about my sexual escapades was hard only because I knew my family would be reading it. When anyone else writes about their sex life in detail, I think, “Good for them.” But, I don’t like doing that. Catholicism ruined me – and there are so many perverts in the Catholic church. My guilt doesn’t make sense!
Fetch: Are you planning on talking about this whole book experience in your next stage of stand up comedy? What are some jokes that’ve already come up?
Amber: Well, one of my family members gave me a bad review online and I called and yelled at her and it is now my favorite story to tell. It’s just really ridiculous and funny. So maybe when I hit the stage again I’ll tell that story. I don’t do much stand up anymore but I want to do a solo-show and incorporate a lot of the stuff from the book into it.
Fetch: A few years ago you made us laugh our asses off with a riff on Beyonce’s song, Irreplaceable. We loved it so much that whenever that song comes up it makes us think of how incredibly funny you are. Is there a more current song that inspires you like that one did? Or in another way?
Amber: Haha. “To the left to the left!” That song is so funny. I really love Justin Bieber’s song Love Yourself and that part where he goes, “My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone.” It’s such a sick burn! “Even my friendly mom doesn’t like you!” I don’t really riff too much on it but I honestly laugh every time I hear it because if someone ever told me that it might make think about my bad behavior.
Fetch: Got any tips for first time authors who have a story to tell? Anybody can have a blog… but you’re on the actual bookshelves, baby!
Amber: Write everyday. Share your work on social media. Write what you want. Write what interests you. Don’t think too much when you’re writing, you can do that when you’re editing. Build a body of work so if you are approached by someone who can give you a job you have something to show them. Never give up.
Random superlatives we asked Amber to list:
Best SNL cast member – Gilda Radner
Coolest sneakers -Saucony Original Trainers
Crucial condiment – Sriracha
Black & white movie you love – Days of Wine and Roses
Board game that’s never boring -Scattergories
Go to late night snack – A bowl grapes, yogurt, and sunflower seeds or an entire bag of Veggie sticks
Thanks to Amber for taking the time to answer our questions and always making us laugh. We love your advice to writers and can’t wait to see that solo show you talked about doing next. It’s certain to be hysterical! Check out Amber’s clever and uproarious book Sober Stick Figure (click the link to buy it right now, bro) and her hilarious tweets at @AmberTozer.
– Katherine Recap