In her book Self-Inflicted Wounds, comedian, actress, and cohost of CBS’s daytime hit show The Talk, Aisha Tyler recounts a series of epic mistakes and hilarious stories of crushing personal humiliation, and the personal insights and authentic wisdom she gathered along the way. The essays in Self-Inflicted Wounds are refreshingly and sometimes brutally honest, surprising, and laugh-out-loud funny, vividly translating the brand of humor Tyler has cultivated through her successful standup career, as well as the strong voice and unique point of view she expresses on her taste-making comedy podcast Girl on Guy. Riotous, revealing, and wonderfully relatable, Aisha Tyler’s Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation is about the power of calamity to shape life, learning, and success.
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About the Author
Aisha Tyler is a comedian, actress, author, television host, podcaster, and recovering nerd (see photo—note the devastatingly fashionable Casio watch). She is cohost of the Emmy-nominated daytime talk show The Talk, the voice of sexy superspy Lana Kane on FX's hit animated series Archer, and host of the all-new Whose Line Is It, Anyway? on the CW. She is also the creator, producer, and host of the award-winning podcast Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler, consistently ranked one of the top ten comedy podcasts on iTunes. Tyler tours as a standup comedian nationwide, and has contributed to Oprah, Wired, Glamour, and Entertainment Weekly magazines. She lives in Los Angeles, where she reads postapocalyptic fiction and plays video games in her meager spare time.
Read an Excerpt
By Aisha Tyler
HarperCollins PublishersCopyright © 2013 Aisha Tyler
All rights reserved.
( 1 )
The Time I Cut Myself in Half
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”—RUMI
“This is gonna need ointment.”—AI SHA TYLER
When I was about five years old, I stabbed myself in the chest.
Well, not exactly stabbed. More like sliced. Yes. I sliced myself nose
to navel, as if conducting a frog dissection in science class. Only with-
out the relatively sanitary tools, face protection, or pursuit of scientific
And, also, on myself.
I could say it wasn't my fault. I could protest that it was an accident—
unforeseen, unpredictable, unkind, unfair. None of that would be true.
I did this on purpose. I knew exactly what I was getting into. The
entire debacle was calculated, focused, and gleefully headlong.
Before you gasp in horror and thinly disguised pity, this was no
suicide attempt.1 I was not trying to gut myself. At the same time, I can
blame no one else for the bloody vertical striping that occurred.
I courted that stabbing, poked at it with a metaphorical stick,
1 People have called me a lot of things, but one word they have never used is depressed. I
am, fortunately or not, depending on your perspective, nauseatingly upbeat, disgustingly
cheery. Please, withhold your disdain. This is a genetic condition. Much like synesthetes or
people who love musical theater, this is just how I was born.
2 AISHA TYLER
taunted it like a rangy pit bull behind a wobbly storm fence, mocking
and laughing as it slavered in captivity—right up to the moment the
dog leapt, snarling against the wire, knocking the fence to the ground
like a structure of drinking straws and me face-first into the dirt. Or,
more accurately, face-first into the hot, abrasive summer pavement.
Some might call such behavior stupid. They would be one hundred
Here's the thing. I am uniquely, and occasionally quite stupidly,
fearless. I have never been afraid. Well, not truly afraid. I have had
moments of trepidation, acted tentatively on occasion. Tiptoed toward
my fate timorously, doubts creeping, internal alarms blaring. Occa-
sionally, I exercise a bit of caution. But more often, and to my sustained
chagrin, I run sprinting toward my own demise, without consideration
or forethought. I like to shoot first and ask questions about why there
is a bullet lodged deeply in my own foot much, much later.
So on this golden August day in my fifth year, I had been playing
outside in my Oakland neighborhood with a dusty scrum of local kids
in a completely unsupervised group, the way we used to in the good
old days, before the Internet told parents that this was a terrible idea2
and likely to result in your child being abducted by aliens or devoured
by wolves. We were all in various states of typically dirty late-summer
disarray: faces sticky with rivulets of many-hours-dried melted Popsi-
cle and festooned liberally with dirt, most shoeless and many shirtless,
including (inappropriately I suppose in hindsight) me.
Yes, I was running around a city neighborhood unchaperoned, on
hot pavement with bare feet, and worse still, a bare chest.3 Now, before
you jump into your time machine and call Child Protective Services,
get over your prissy self. It was the seventies. Kids ran around unsuper-
vised. This is before people felt the need to meticulously curate every
2 Along with kids riding the bus, doing their homework without parental “assistance” (read:
“doing it for them”), using a kitchen knife or an open flame before the age of seventeen, or
anything else that builds character, instills mental toughness or makes kids into actual people.
3 I was a five-year-old girl. I still had a “chest.” If you think it was inappropriate, you need
therapy. Also, you may need to look out your front window and see if Chris Hansen from To
Catch a Predator is lurking in your bushes waiting to strike.
THE TIME I CUT MYSELF IN HALF 3
minute of their child's day. In the morning during the summer, par-
ents opened the front door and forcibly ejected their children into the
street with five dollars and a firm admonition to come home when the
streetlights came on and not to run into oncoming traffic. This is just
how things were done. I suppose if we were rich, the nanny could have
followed behind us in the family's second minivan, but we weren't, and
she didn't, and that, my dear friends, is that.
So we were running around barefoot, narrowly avoiding puncture
wounds from the abundance of rusted nails and broken bottles strewn
liberally about the streets, fleeing rabid dogs and hissing cats and the
occasional loitering ne'er-do-well, and having the time of our fucking
lives. We climbed some trees, chased an ice cream truck, terrorized a
squirrel, picked up dried dog poop, threw rocks at things that break
when they are hit with rocks, and were generally on raging kindergar-
ten fire, when we found an alley. Sweet.
Naturally, it being an absolutely terrifying place, and me being
feckless and wild,4 I decided to go into that alley. And why the hell not?
After you've touched dried dog feces with your bare hands, nothing
much else troubles you. And in that alley, among empty fruit crates and
mosquito-infested puddles, we found . . . an abandoned hobbyhorse.
Abandoned! Who the hell leaves a perfectly good hobbyhorse just
lying around? I announced to the group. Heathens! Profligates! God-
less people, that's who!
I was a dramatic child.
We dragged this hobbyhorse from its dank hiding place and into
the street, the better to surround it with hard surfaces that might em-
brace a small person's tumble. We surveyed it briefly from all sides to
confirm that it was, indeed, in functioning order. And then, in turn,
we each hopped on board and rode that thing like a Hapsburg prince
on a Lipizzaner stallion. Springs have never clung to life so dearly, nor
groaned in protest
Excerpted from Self-Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler. Copyright © 2013 Aisha Tyler. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I wasn't familiar with Aisha Tyler before getting her book Self-Inflected Wounds. I found the writing to be excellent. Her stories of vomiting on a boy she had a crush on and getting drunk and sleeping through the SATs are amusing. Who of us hasn't made mistakes? Tyler has a likeable style that makes this a quick read. A very interesting path to fame that is sure to delight even the most casual interest.
Laugh Out Loud Funny! I couldn't put this book down and had to wipe tears from my eyes from laughing so much. A real feel good read.
A darn good book!
Laugh outloud funny. I've always like Miss Taylor as a actress. I just started reafing it. If you don't know her watch her on The Talk on CBS. I would read more from her.
Aisha Tyler is a standup comedienne, co-host of TV's The Talk, voices a character on FX's Archer, hosts Whose Line Is It Anyway and has a hugely popular podcast Girl on Guy. (She is a bit of an overachiever.) One of the features of her podcast is asking guests to recount a self-inflicted wound, something incredibly stupid that they have done in their lives. She turns the table on herself in this book, recounting her own self-inflicted wounds in humorous and touching essays. I have seen Tyler at her various jobs, and always thought she was funny, but I never realized how smart she was. She is a terrific writer, and her misadventures on the way through life had me laughing out loud. She says that she wants "this book to inspire you to be yourself. I hope this book will encourage you to follow your dreams." It does do that. If this too tall, intelligent, nerdy girl with a smart mouth can succeed in a business where women are not often welcomed, you may have a shot at success in life too.She opens each chapter with a quote from someone smart, such as "The wound is the place where the light enters you"-Rumi, then one from her- "This thing is gonna need ointment", which opens the chapter "The Time I Cut Myself in Half", about the time when, as a child, she rode on a rusty, broken rocking horse she found in an alley and fell off, cutting her stomach wide open.You'll laugh and feel empathy for Tyler, and even recall your own self-inflicted wounds and realize they weren't that bad after all, and just maybe they help to make you the person you became. (A note to anyone who goes to lunch with Tyler- she has been known to throw up on people. Consider yourself warned.)
I bought the audio version the DAY it came out! Then Barnes/Noble had it on sale on ebook, and I had to buy it for my Nook as well! I love Aisha! She's REAL!!! Buy this book and you will laugh!
I an not done reading this book as I have 3 books going and lot's going on, but it is a wonderful book . If you need a good laugh, this is a book for you. :)
This book is such a refreshing change from all of the other celebrity aggrandizement..Aisha Tyler speaks to all of us and our very own 'oh no' moments in our lives. Highly recommended reading!!
I was looking forward to reading this because I love her as a host on 'Whose Line Is It Anyway.' However, the stories grew tiresome. Yes, we know, she has an Ivy League education, blah blah blah...but sometimes the stories could have moved along a lot faster without trying to say the same thing three ways just to show off her vocabulary. Although I thought her chapter on homeless people though was very heartfelt and made me re-examine how I feel about contributing to those less fortunate. I read that chapter three times. Anyway, just my .02.
This is a well written, funny book. Don't pass up the notes which are equally as funny. The author has a great vocabulary and she uses all of it. Sit back and enjoy. Judith
I enjoyed listening to Aisha Tyler tell her story. Very amusing and I could recognize some of those embarrassing situation. Liked her perception and wit.
A tad lengthy for the genre, but hilarious nonetheless. Her vocabulary is immaculate and the imagery is superb. Grade A entertainment!
Really funny and down to earth.
LOL IT IS ALSONE
that dates me the base of most humor is cruel no one should feel a need to share these mom
Is this the best bn has to offer?