The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures
A Funny Memoir of Missteps, Inadequacies, and Faux Pas
Comedy is surprises, so if you're intending to make somebody laugh and they don't laugh, that's funny.
Johnny– Amy Lyle is an author, comedienne, actor, and screenwriter, in her spare time she’s married and a mother to 4, (are you kidding me)! That is absurd, (lol), (other than finding short titles for your books), how do you find time to do anything? Is your whole day pretty much a scheduled routine?
Amy– YES! Two of the four kids are in college now and the two at home drive so it is getting much more manageable. I try to get most of my work done during the day. My husband is a fabulous cook, so we try to get all of us together as much as possible for dinners.
Johnny– With everything going on in your busy world, what do you do to keep yourself grounded?
Amy– I grew up in Appalachia, and when I’ve done independent films, my compensation was tacos, I’m pretty grounded.
Johnny- You have a very comedic outlook towards life, how does that affect you as a parent?
Amy– People are often shocked that I’m so silly yet so strict (as a parent). I think they see that everything, given enough time, can be funny. We have been lucky that they have never taken themselves too seriously and have a “this too shall pass, and my mom will tell this story in a stand-up routine within six months” attitude.
Johnny– That’s awesome, do they ever make suggestions to you about adding something into your stand-up routine?
Amy– Yes. They text me stories all the time, normally about their siblings.
Johnny– Did your parents have a sense of humor?
Johnny– What was your parents’ reaction when you went into comedy?
Amy– My mother was mortified that I was “airing my dirty laundry.” When I told my dad that I was co-hosting a tv show, he said, “Interesting. Have you guys had any rain there?”
Johnny– Do your kids think your funny?
Amy– It depends on the day.
Johnny– Are any of them planning on following in your footsteps?
Amy– Not to my knowledge.
Johnny– How important of a role does social media play, with your career?
Amy– I don’t have any proof, but I do think social media has helped me land speaking engagements, film roles and sell a lot of books. I rarely pay for paid advertising, other than on Amazon for my books, so the social media must be helping.
Johnny– Do you have plans on increasing your presence YouTube?
Amy– I would love to increase my YouTube presence, I think I only have 9 followers.
Johnny– This book reads different than most memoirs, did you write your chapters as skits?
Amy– That is an interesting observation. People have left reviews stating that my books read like SNL skits. I was a screenwriter and a stand- up comic before becoming an author so I have been trained that if you can say something in 5 words, do not use six. I try to get to the point quickly. I did have a firm ask me if they could turn The Book of Failures into a sitcom or film. I replied to their email in less than five seconds and have not heard back from them since. So, no. I did not set out to write the chapters as skits but it seems as if they have that flavor.
Johnny– When I’d first started read your book, I was thinking you had written it with an essay format, then I watched one of your stand-ups on YouTube, that kind of tweaked my thought process and pushed me towards skits, is auditioning for SNL a dream of yours?
Amy– Only every waking moment.
Johnny– This book is brutally honest, and honestly that is one of the reasons it’s so appealing to me, (it actually helped me with issues that I have). When you wrote this, did you realize or intend for this to be a self-help book also?
Amy– I did not. I wrote the book because of a Hollywood attorney rejected me as a client because I was a nobody that did not have any money or know anyone. He told me to write a book and get lots of press. Immediately my thoughts went to, “I have had a lot of failures, I could write about those.” In hindsight, and in writing my second book, I DID realize the healing power of sharing your worst moments. People were writing to me saying how they had felt so much shame for getting fired, or dumped in a relationship when really, all of these terrible things that happen to us just get us to where we need to be. I’m not saying it is easy. I cried in the bathtub every night for a year after my husband divorced me. But now, (over a decade later) I see that our time together was not wasted, we just wanted different things.
Johnny– You mention early on in your book that you have issues, one of them is pronunciation, how does that affect when you are writing and performing your Stand Up?
Amy– I write my own stand-up so I keep the GRE words for print use only.
Johnny– After I read this I went and purchased it on Audible, was this the reason you didn’t narrate your book?
Amy– I tried to record it on my own, but I sounded like a second grader and telling a story is different than reading a story.
Johnny– When did you first know, or make the decision, that you wanted to be a stand-up comedienne? Was this something you wanted to do since you were little?
Amy– My parents were strict German protestants that reminded my sister and me how very un-special we were since our births. They did this by saying, “Remember you are not special.” Comedy was a survival tactic for us. We used to put on complete “Late Night Comedy Shows” in our basement for our friends. They were a combination of imitating our parents, lip-synching to Barbara Mandrel, and roller skating to the soundtrack of Grease.
Johnny– Do you think that being raised by strict parents triggered you to be as focused or determined as you are now? You seem to be pretty thick skinned.
Amy– I do not know anyone with thicker skin than authors, comedians and salespeople and I’m all three. I pick on my parents frequently, but I have to admit that they both have incredible work ethics.
Johnny– Let’s talk about your “unconscious zone” you wrote about an improv performance during a class you took, it happened, and “was appreciated by the audience but I was mortified by exposing what I suppose is my dark side.” Why were you mortified by this?
Amy– People that perform improv well are geniuses. I can write stand-up, books and screenplays because I can rework it, again and again, there’s no such luxury in improv. I do think improv can be studied and practiced; your mind would adapt to the medium. I have only taken one class and did one performance. And as you know, I was humiliated by what was flying out of my mouth- complete storylines about STD’s and little people. Improv is not for me.
Johnny– Is improv important for a stand-up comic? (It seems like it would be if there was a heckler in the audience.)
Amy– I love Paula Poundstone, she’s able to work the crowd really, really well on the fly. However, now that I have seen her perform several times, I have noticed that even her “on the fly” has tried and true jokes. It’s interesting, every comic must address hecklers and such, but each performer seems to handle them in their own way, which is the same way, every time.
Johnny– Have you ever been heckled?
Amy– Only by my teenage children that were sitting in the front row at The Basement Theater when I was telling a joke about them. The audience was shocked when I said, “All of those people (pointing them out) are my children,” The kids and the audience loved it.
Johnny– There was an incident that happened with your friend Shannon at Chipotle, by far one of the funniest scenarios I’ve ever read, how did you not just laugh-your-ass-off when that happened to your friend? Or did you?
Amy– I checked to make sure she was breathing and then laughed.
Johnny– Not to be a spoiler, but when she goes to refill her drink, the Russian Businessmen cleaning their ties… To steal a line from Kenny Bania “that’s gold, Amy… Gold!” Now the screen writer in you has got to be salivating over the possibilities of what you can do with that?
Amy– I’m so thrilled that you were able to “see” that story in your head. I would love to make my books into films or sitcoms.
Johnny– Using your philosophy, “everything, given enough time, can be funny” is there an exception to that? Take away human suffering, death, misery, etc… let’s say, there’s a situation that happens with friend or family, even though no physical harm occurred, just great embarrassment, would this be off limits to you to use as part of your material, even though you know it’s comedy gold?
Amy– Nothing is off limits. Think of it as “What does not kill us will eventually make us laugh.” I’m don’t do insult comedy so I’m not offending people on purpose, I just prefer more self- deprecating bits.
Johnny– You had said earlier you love Paula Poundstone, is she your favorite stand-up comedian? (If not who?)
Amy– I cannot pick just one. What is incredibly crazy to me is that many of the stand-up comedians, and comedians in general, that I love have bestselling books on Amazon and are next to my books. The list includes Tina Fey, Kevin Hart, Jim Gaffigan, Paula Poundstone, Trevor Noah, Mindy Kaling, Carol Burnett and Betty White, to mention a few. A few days ago, all of the “Amy’s” were lined up in a row on Amazon’s bestselling Humor & Entertainment books; Amy Schumer, Amy Lyle and Amy Poehler- that was a very good day.
Johnny– I bet it was. You deserve it Amy! Thank you for taking this time to talk with me, I’ve really enjoyed this time together.
Every so often you come across a book that will literally make you “laugh out loud” Amy’s Book of Failures had done that to me, at 4am.
This book is laugh packed and a fun read. It was created out of a rejection, turning a negative situation into a positive result. From this result I find it hard to believe that Amy will do nothing but succeed.
Written as a memoir Amy is brutally honest. She truly embraces her own philosophy of: “what doesn’t kill us will eventually make us laugh” and goes for it. Her light heart spirited approach to current life situation has become an inspiration to many, myself included.
Written in a different format than most memoirs, (another advantage Amy has going for herself), her narrative flow across the pages as a witty satire, allowing the readers an escape, as the scenes play out before them. Her refreshing style is a sheer delight.
Never taking herself too seriously Amy reveals to us that we should never be so critical about our lives that we forget that sometimes, it’s alright to laugh. If recognizing and exposing our flaws only makes us stronger, she’s Hercules on steroids. If your talented and creative enough, it makes an interesting memoir. Great job Amy, I’m a fan!
BEWARE: VERY FUNNY LADY AHEAD!
I’m given Book of Failures 5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads for creativity, originality and plain AWESOMENESS.
You’ve met the writer: Amy Lyle
Now read her book: The Amy Bingar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures
Fresh and amazingly funny. Check her out for yourself.
Be sure and check out Amy’s new project