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Annabelle Gurwitch

New York Times Bestselling author, humorist, popular television host and storyteller.

  • About Annabelle Gurwitch

    Actress, activist and New York Times-bestselling author Annabelle Gurwitch’s books include, I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 and her latest collection of essays, Wherever You Go, There They Are: Stories About My Family You Might Relate To. I See You Made an Effort was a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor Writing. Television audiences fondly remember her numerous years co-hosting Dinner & a Movie on TBS and as a regular commentator on NPR. She offers opinions on PBS Newshour and Real Time with Bill Maher, as well as appearing at performing arts centers around the country.

    Her other books are You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up and Fired! which was also a Showtime Comedy Special. Her essays and satire appear in The New YorkerThe New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Time, and many other publications.

    Gurwitch’s work has been recognized in Time Magazine’s “Ten Ideas That are Changing the World” annual issue.

    Media appearances include:  CBS Early Show, The Today Show, Dr. Oz, Anderson Cooper Show, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, MSNBC and The Oprah Winfrey Show. As an actress, she’s guest starred in over fifty TV series, including: Better Things, Dexter, Boston Legal, and Seinfeld. In addition to Dinner and a Movie, she was the anchor of the award winning series, Not Necessarily the News, on HBO, the host of the sustainability series WA$TED, as well as numerous shows on the web, Style Channel and ABC.

    An insightful and engaging speaker, her live appearances include: the TEDx stage, SXSW, The Moth Mainstage, New York Comedy Festival, GOOGLE Talks, Prevention Magazine Summit, 92nd St Y, UJA and Federation annual events, three Jewish Book Council Book Tours, The Carter Center, Watermark Conference for Women, as well as serving as MC for events at The National Wildlife Federation, Fielding School of Public Health, Cedar Sinai Women’s, and The Skirball Center for the Arts.

    She is a Jewish mother, a reluctant atheist, and an ardent environmentalist. She is empty nesting in Los Angeles.

  • Speaking Topics

    I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50

    On Making an Effort

    O, The Oprah Magazine calls Annabelle Gurwitch "entertaining and slyly subversive" and she covers both the hilarious and horrible opportunities that face the women d'un certain age with her trademark wit and cultural commentary. Gurwitch tells stories included in her memoir, I See You Made an Effort, that range from planning her future retirement in an elder hostel in Costa Rica to navigating the extensive anti-aging offerings in the department store beauty counter to aiding in the assisted suicide of her best friend that Bill Maher says are "unexpected, imaginative... her observations just plain crack me up."

    One Jewish Girl's Journey from the Stage to the Page

    Annabelle Gurwitch's unlikely career has taken her from performing Linda in Death of a Salesman at age thirteen at Temple Beth Shalom in Miami Beach (mercifully, no videotape exists of this performance) to her accidental career in comedy, including her numerous years hosting HBO's Not Necessarily the News and Dinner and a Movie on TBS, to her transformation into a writer. Her work off-Broadway has earned her inclusion in the New York Times' Top Ten Performances of the Year. With her tenure at NPR and now with three books to her name, she is the ultimate re-inventor and she's a Jewish mother to boot.

    Finding the Funny

    Annabelle Gurwitch mines humor from even the most challenging of situations. Drawing upon her satirical observations about culture, her life as a actor, writer, mother, and activist, she’s delivered hilarious and insightful talks on this theme on the TEDx stage, The Moth, SXSW, Jewish groups and The Nation Magazine Cruise to Alaska, and UNC School of the Arts.

    Aging with a Vengeance

    Annabelle shares wisdom and her laugh out loud account of aging in our youth obsessed culture. She has performed this acclaimed material at theater festivals around the world, the 92nd St Y, Prevention Magazine, AARP conventions, and ladies nights for women’s groups nationwide.

    We’ll Treat You Like Family

    Annabelle speaks about the importance and insanity of families: the ones we’re born into and the tribes we chose to join. Her talks for audiences of all ages include venues: The Now Generation Women’s Philanthropy of Phoenix, GOOGLE Talks,The Skirball Center for the Arts, and the Rancho Mirage Writers Conference.

    The Redemptive Power of Memoir

    Gurwitch speaks on the power of memoir to redeem and reclaim meaning in our past and provide direction for our futures. Lectures and talks include: George Washington University, Watermark Conference for Women, literary fests and performing arts centers. You can view her IMHO on reading books versus binge watching, you can guess which side she comes down on, on the PBS News Hour.

    Annabelle Gurwitch on Jewish Themes

    Gurwitch regularly speaks on the legacy of her Jewish heritage, Jewish humor, the immigrant experience, and her grandmother’s leaden matzoh ball soup at events honoring Jewish philanthropists including: keynoting Women of Valor for the MetroWest JCC, 2017, Spring Lecturer for the Charlottesville Federation, and delivering the keynote for the New York UJA Annual Women’s Spring Luncheon, 2018.

  • Video

  • Praise for Annabelle Gurwitch


    Annabelle is a must-host speaker for a “Girls Night out” program – she created a terrific communal evening and provided much needed laughter for the huge turnout of “girls” in the house! Great rapport with the crowd!

    JCC, Indianapolis

    Annabelle was the Master of Ceremonies for the Annual Dinner for Services for the Underserved. Not only was she charming, funny, warm and insightful in how she represented our organization. Annabelle’s special combination of humor and compassion set the perfect tone for the event.

    Services for the Underserved, New York

    Annabelle Gurwitch presented to a full house in Greenwich. It was a wonderful way to begin the day laughing hysterically with her witty and poignant remarks about the tenuous position of life on the edge of 50. Her talk was both meaningful and provocative that each woman in the diverse audience could relate to. I can’t wait to share Annabelle’s magic with more of my friends.

    JCC, Greenwich

    I couldn’t be more pleased with Annabelle’s closing keynote presentation. She brought incredible energy, substance, and humor to our event. The audience of 450 finished the day inspired and smiling! It was not surprising to hear how much the group enjoyed her addition to the conference.

    Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), Washington, DC

    Quick wit, intelligent humor , heart and soul –just what the many doctors at our event ordered!

    UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

    Razor sharp wit, intelligent humor, heart, laughter and neshama!

    Temple Isaiah, Los Angeles, CA

    Annabelle was an excellent speaker, very funny and insightful, she got rave reviews!

    Los Angeles Bar Association

    Praise for Wherever You Go, There They Are

    Sagacious wit and soulful insights with a dash of Nora Ephron.

    Coast Magazine

    A smart, edgy writer…As a memoirist, Gurwitch succeeds by evoking emotions that cut to the core of our humanity, and giving us laughs along the way.

    Los Angeles Review of Books

    A vivacious confessional… The memoir’s madcap joy is the entire Gurwitch clan of scenery chewers…With her moonshine-smuggling forebears and her brothel matron great-grandmother, Gurwitch joins the shell-shocked ranks of dysfunctional-family chroniclers Augusten Burroughs and Sean Wilsey.

    O Magazine

    Once I started Wherever You Go, There They Are, I couldn’t put it down. This book is hysterically, laugh-out-loud funny—take it on an airplane and be prepared to enjoy your flight.

    Judy Greer, actress and author of I Don’t Know What You Know Me From

    I love spending time under the spell of Annabelle Gurwitch, who lived all these crackpot adventures so we don’t have to. Her unforgettable stories about family and other disasters remind us how insane this world can be, and how necessary our laughter.

    Sarah Hepola, author of Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

    In Wherever You Go, There They Are Annabelle Gurwitch takes inspiration from her own life to examine that most horrible of all human conditions: family. She makes a compelling case for community, while arguing for a definition that eschews tribalism… hilarious and insightful…

    Bill Maher

    Praise for I See You Made an Effort

    The stories in Annabelle Gurwitch's book are unexpected, imaginative and her observations just plain cracked me up. It's so great it should be required reading for everyone between the ages of 40 and death. Scratch that—even after death it's a must-read.

    Bill Maher
  • Books by Annabelle Gurwitch

  • Media About Annabelle Gurwitch

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