Talkward w/ guests Michael Bleicher & Andy Newton

This episode of Talkward welcomes comedy writers and authors Michael Bleicher and Andy Newton! The humor writing duo has been published in McSweeney’s, Points In Case, Crack The Spine and Weekly Humorist. They discuss their writing process, the power of Google Docs, and the state of the world. Their debut novel “From the Campaign Trail or Thereabouts” a satirical road trip comedy taking place during the events of the 2016 election is on sale now from imprint Humorist Books.


About the book!

From the Campaign Trail or Thereabouts is the story of two insulated Upper West Side journalists, Harold Carlyle, a self-serving, incompetent reporter desperate to save both his career and marriage, and his wife, Pattie, an observant, sharp-tongued, and successful television critic. When Harold is assigned to cover the 2016 Presidential Election, he devises a scheme to save his marriage by taking Pattie with him across the country. Harold pledges that they’ll be able to reach San Diego on his publication’s dime, a promise that consistently fails to come to fruition. As Harold lackadaisically covers the Republican campaign, the couple discovers the absurdities and dark contradictions of American culture, from a Neo-Nazi group preoccupied with following parliamentary procedure, to Iowa state fairs, a pair of 9/11 Truthers celebrating their golden anniversary on a cross-country train trip, a Republican Convention inexplicably teeming with Russians, underwhelming chain motels (“‘Best’ Western. It’s like Napoleon crowning himself emperor. You can’t just award it to yourself”), online trolls, combination truck stops and adult emporiums, I Love Lucy, and the dubious efficacy of their marriage counselor’s communication exercises. Despite his elaborate schemes and quick-witted excuses, Harold’s career and marriage continue to unravel, until he stumbles upon a flash drive with transcripts of off-color conversations revealing collusion between Donald Trump and a Kremlin emissary.

From the Campaign Trail or Thereabouts dives into the contradictory, divided, and all-too-often unsettling state of the union. Like Huck Finn meets Game Change, this novel examines the politicians and popular figures who played starring roles in 2016 and holds up a mirror to the electorate that ultimately made Trumpism possible. At the same time, the narrative is propelled by the comic friction of the reader’s two guides on this trek, a class-conscious striver continually failing upward and a sardonic workaholic with codependency issues. Characterized by brisk, witty banter, Harold and Pattie’s marriage grounds the satire in a jocose, humanizing story of a troubled relationship and foiled ambition.