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We’re Giving Away One of Fall’s Hottest Books

Hilarious author, comedian and social media sensation Sarah Cooper pens her debut memoir, ‘Foolish: Tales of Assimilation, Determination and Humiliation.'

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photo collage of author sarah cooper and book foolish
Corinne Louie
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This is the sidesplitting memoir that Michelle Buteau calls “an emotional buffet of hilarity, you’ll just keep going back for more.” Of course, I’m talking about Foolish: Tales of Assimilation, Determination and Humiliation, by Sarah Cooper. Who else is hungry? Below, I’ll share her publisher’s synopsis, my entertaining email chat with Sarah Cooper, 45, and I’ll tell you how to enter for a chance to win a free copy!

From the publisher, Dutton

(Adapted): Sarah Cooper is a writer and comedian who has over 3.3 million followers across social media. She is the author of 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings and How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings, as well as the star of the hit Netflix comedy special, Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine. She was named one of Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch” and one of Vulture’s “The Comedians You Should and Will Know,” and has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tonight Show, Ellen and has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Washington Post, InStyle Magazine and countless others. Her current projects include Unfrosted, an upcoming Netflix comedy written by, directed by and starring Jerry Seinfeld.

Now, in her debut memoir, FOOLISH: Tales of Assimilation, Determination and Humiliation, Cooper tells the story of her life for the first time, candidly sharing the mistakes she’s made and inviting readers to share in her triumphs and humiliations as she tries (and fails) to balance her own dreams with the American dream.

 Guiding readers through her journey of assimilation, determination and ultimately humiliation, Cooper bravely shares essays about her life.

This giveaway has concluded. Another one is coming very soon. Check out Sisters every week to learn of new contests and events.


Sarah Cooper Standup Comedy
Sarah Cooper Standup Comedy
Sarah Cooper Standup Comedy

Check out what Sarah Cooper told Sisters:

(This interview has been lightly edited.)

Who or what made you laugh this week?
I made myself laugh when I was shaving my special place and softly whispered to her, “If you build it, they will come.”

You grew up in the U.S. as a Jamaican immigrant. I know a little something about immigrant parents’ expectations for their kids’ success. Did this factor into you working in technology?

Yes and no. And also maybe. The point is, I was absolutely driven to be successful by my parents’ drive. There was a lot of driving in the Cooper household. So when I expressed an interest in theater, they didn’t think it was a good idea because how was I supposed to make money and own a house and get a 401(k) with a theater degree? So even though that wasn’t really my definition of success, I still bought into it and when theater wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be, I discovered Photoshop and that’s how I ended up in tech. But I could have just as easily ended up in journalism or law or medicine, if I was good at any one of those things. It was really about doing something “sane” like tech and not something “insane” like getting a theater degree. So when you think about it, what really factored into me working in tech was capitalism. #Deep

What was your Google gig like? Good, bad, ugly.

Good: plentiful snacks, great coworkers, secret nap rooms. Bad: feeling like you’re stuck in a box, can’t move, feeling suffocated, feeling like your soul is dying inside. Ugly: marrying a coworker because you’re lazy and you can see his calendar.

What gave you the idea for your first book?

The idea for my first book came when I told my boss I was leaving Google to be a writer and he said, “Do you have a book deal?” And I said, “No.” That’s when I knew I better prove this passive-aggressive [expletive] wrong and get a book deal. So, I immediately learned everything I could about putting together a book proposal and cold emailing literary agents. And I came up with the idea to do something with a viral article I’d previously written called “10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings.” And my then-husband knew someone who knew someone who put me in touch with my literary agent, Susan Raihofer. And she loved the idea and we talked for hours and hours and she’s still my agent to this day, eight years later. She worked with me on the proposal and we found the great folks at Andrews McMeel who offered me a three-book deal.

When did you know it was time to quit your tech job?

When I felt like my body was at work but my mind was somewhere else, and it got too hard to hide it. Physically, I was in meetings, but mentally I was thinking of all the things I’d rather be doing. And when I told my boss and he said, “You can always come back,” I felt like it was a bigger risk to stay than to leave.

Lip-synching. How did it start. How is it going?

It started at Sunday mass when I was just a wee girl. I was belting out a hymn, quite beautifully I might add, when my mom leaned over and told me to just “mouth the words.” So, much like Whitney Houston, I got my start in church. It’s going well. I found this amazing group of people who love what I do, and I got all these great opportunities and I could finally afford my own health insurance, and that made it easier to ask for a divorce and get out of an unhealthy relationship and I’ve never felt freer in my life, so, yeah lip-synching has done wonders for me. Highly recommend.

What was it like to go viral?

Which time? Just kidding, each time is an excitement like no other. But it is also anxiety-inducing. Because sometimes you think you’re going viral for being charming and entertaining, but it turns out no, you deeply offended a large majority of the populace and now you’re going viral because everyone hates you. Then you also get a complex about wanting to create things just so you get that excitement again, and perhaps losing sight of what you really want to do.

What is a “basic bitch,” and how does one avoid, catch and cure this affliction?

A basic bitch is someone whose tastes are not their own. You avoid it by asking yourself the tough questions, like, “What is my favorite color?” You catch it by realizing you’re blindly imitating others and you cure it by getting in touch with your own emotions and feelings and instincts, practicing them on a daily basis, taking pictures of things you find interesting, until you can look at something and say, with genuine feeling, “I love this.”

What will you take with you on your comedy tour and why?

My laptop. Because I must write. I’m like Shakespeare.

If you had to write a Black main character for Seinfeld, who would that person be?

Jenny Seinfeld (40, African American), Jerry Seinfeld’s long lost [half] sister who finds him through 23&Me. She is a professor of sociology and they bond over uncannily similar observations of human nature. Jerry makes Jenny feel funny and Jenny makes Jerry feel smart. Jerry and Jenny are very close until one day when Jerry decides that because he has a Black sister, he can say things like, “Word is bond,” “That’s what’s up” and “It’s been a minute.” Jenny is not OK with this. No cap.

Which is harder, dating, mating or divorce?

Dating isn’t hard, it’s impossible. If you’re not on a dating app, meeting anyone is impossible. If you are, it’s also impossible because you’ll just message back and forth forever. So I don’t even think dating is on the scale. Mating isn’t too hard, although I prefer using my imagination for that. Divorce is difficult but so worth it. So I’d say, dating: impossible, can’t be done. Mating: great when it’s only in your head. And divorce: Go for it, the water’s fine.

What did I not ask you that Black women need to know?

As a Black woman, I’d say Black women need to know that I am Black. And thank you for believing me. #BelieveBlackWomenLikeMeIAmBlack

This giveaway has concluded. Another one is coming very soon. Check out Sisters every week to learn of new contests and events.

Follow Article Topics: Culture