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NPR Arts & Life

Annabelle Gurwitch: 'Don't Treat Me Like Family'

Annabelle Gurwitch on Ask Me Another.
Annabelle Gurwitch on Ask Me Another.

Actor and author Annabelle Gurwitch has had almost every job in entertainment. In high school, she started writing copy for the straight-to-VHS soft-core videos her father distributed. "I never actually saw these movies, I just saw the artwork," she told host Ophira Eisenberg. Writing descriptions of something you've never seen — how much does that pay? "Not enough for that kind of creativity."

Gurwitch has quite a few books under her belt now. Her latest, Wherever You Go, There They Are, is all about the inescapable bonds of family. She described her family of gamblers and get-rich-quick-schemers to the Ask Me Another crowd at the Bell House. "And what does that [instability] lead you to? A career in show business." Instead of seeking a conventional life, she embraced the feeling of chaos — "I'm used to the circus; I'm sticking with it." But Gurwitch cautioned, "No matter how hard you try to escape your crazy family, you always end up in another crazy family." For her, these chosen families are friends, theater communities, and in one particular instance, a UFO cult. "It was the 80s!" she reasoned.

Among Gurwitch's many credits is her stint hosting the TV series Dinner and a Movie on TBS. She, co-host Paul Gilmartin, and chef Claud Mann would watch a film from the TBS archives and cook a punny recipe related to the movie. For example, when they featured Ghostbusters, the recipe was called "I Ain't Afraid of No Roast." For her Ask Me Another challenge, we quizzed her on real and fake Dinner and a Movie recipies. Bon appetit!

HIGHLIGHTS

On writing two episodes of Thundercats

That was like, my first job after being a mime on the street passing out flyers, and my friend was working for the company that produced Thundercats. There was maybe some weed-smoking involved when I thought: 'We could do this, we could write this stuff!' I had no idea what I was doing.

On being in a UFO cult

You know, it was the 1980s and everyone was meditating and doing new-agey stuff...I had watched a lot of sci-fi growing up, so when we were told [by a psychic] that we were this reincarnation of a pharaoh's family and that we were in communication with aliens...and that we were going to be taken back to the home planet, it all sounded really very reasonable.

Heard on Annabelle Gurwitch: 'Don't Treat Me Like Family'

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