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Survival of the Thickest



From the stand-up comedian, actress, and host beloved for her cheeky swagger, unique voice, and unapologetic frankness comes a book of comedic essays for fans of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling and We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union.

If you’ve watched television or movies in the past year, you’ve seen Michelle Buteau. With scene-stealing roles in Always Be My Maybe, First Wives Club, Someone Great, Russian Doll, and Tales of the City; a reality TV show and breakthrough stand-up specials, including her headlining show Welcome to Buteaupia on Netflix, and two podcasts (Late Night Whenever and Adulting), Michelle’s star is on the rise. You’d be forgiven for thinking the road to success—or adulthood or financial stability or self-acceptance or marriage or motherhood—has been easy; but you’d be wrong.

Now, in Survival of the Thickest, Michelle reflects on growing up Caribbean, Catholic, and thick in New Jersey, going to college in Miami (where everyone smells like pineapple), her many friendship and dating disasters, working as a newsroom editor during 9/11, getting started in standup opening for male strippers, marrying into her husband’s Dutch family, IVF and surrogacy, motherhood, chosen family, and what it feels like to have a full heart, tight jeans, and stardom finally in her grasp.

Photo by Mindy Tucker

Michelle Buteau is a comedian, actress, and host known for her roles in The Circle, Always Be My Maybe, First Wives Club, Someone Great, Russian Doll, and Tales of the City, as well as her stand-up specials, including Welcome to Buteaupia, on Netflix and Comedy Central. She has been named one of the ten comedians to watch by Esquire and her podcast, Late Night Whenever, was listed among the best of the year by Time. Michelle lives in the Bronx with her husband and family. She and her husband also run Van der Most Modern, a vintage furniture store in Brooklyn.

  • Publisher: Gallery Books (December 8, 2020)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982122607

"Michelle Buteau is one of the funniest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet in my entire life. Not since the ferocity I had at 12 years old elbowing fellow readers of Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban out of the way for my copy have I been as excited for a new title as I am for Michelle’s book, Survival of The Thickest. But unlike J.K. Rowling, Michelle won’t let us down because nobody's comedy or inclusion shines brighter than Michelle’s!" —Jonathan Van Ness, hair dresser and star of the Netflix series Queer Eye 

"If you're a fan of Michelle Buteau's comedy, you know what you're getting: laugh out loud funny stories, moments of raw honesty and vulnerability that make you feel less alone, and the sense that you have a new best friend in your life. If you're new to 'Buteaupia' (as she likes to call it) aka the world of Michelle, you're in for a treat and will, no doubt, be a new fan by the time you finish reading Survival of the Thickest." —Phoebe Robinson, Founder of Tiny Reparations Books and author of  You Can't Touch My Hair and Everything's Trash, But It's Okay

"Known for her effortless delivery of laugh-out-loud stories, Michelle Buteau brings that same cheekiness and hilarity to her book. Warning, though, reading this may cause you to watch all of her comedy specials and every single movie and TV show she's ever been in in an alarmingly short period of time." Cosmopolitan

"In her debut essay collection, Michelle tackles everything from body image to babies and Blackness with the kind of hilarity and truth only she can deliver. If you're not lucky enough to have a sister friend like Michelle Buteau, Survival of the Thickest is the next best thing." —Franchesca Ramsey, host of MTV's Decoded and author of Well, That Escalated Quickly

“Michelle Buteau delivers a debut essay collection that’ll have you cackling devilishly one minute, then ugly crying the next. Raw and heartbreaking… Buteau deftly moves from painful honesty to screwball comedy. Survival of the Thickest, like Michelle herself, is a real one.” —Brandy Barber, Bust Magazine

“Zesty and hilarious… Buteau’s spot-on essays combine laughter with wise life lessons.” Publishers Weekly

“Unabashed, often bawdy… Buteau's knack for steering absurd situations toward warm insight shines… Discussions of being busty, curvy, and light-skinned abound with self-empowerment… At turns joyful and sweet about her marriage's early days and heartbreaking about miscarriages, Buteau is reassuring in her candor.” Kirkus