5 Questions with Greg Proops

smartest bookOn Thursday, May 21st, City Lights is proud to present an evening with internationally renowned comedian, SF Giants superfan, and smartest man in the world Greg Proops at the McRroskey Mattress Factory on Market St. (at Gough). The event will be co-presented with the good people at the Green Arcade. Mr. Proops will be celebrating his peerless and luminescent new book from Simon & Schuster, The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, a Rancorous Reportage, a Concise Curriculum of Cool.

The book is out right now – find it at your local independent bookshop. Greg answered our questions below!

Event: Thursday, May 21st at McRoskey Mattress Factory on the 3rd Floor (1687 Market St at Gough), co-presented by the Green Arcade. Doors open at 6:30PM and event starts at 7:00PM. Tickets are available at the door and are $10.00, or free with the purchase of the book.

About the Book: From the brazen, bold, and beloved comic and podcast star Greg Proops comes an electrifying, thought-provoking, and unrelenting collection of rapid-fire references, historical name-checking, Satchel Paige bon mots, and genuine wisdom.

The Smartest Book in the World is based on Proops’s sensational, iTunes Top 10 podcast that has been downloaded more than nine million times, in which his “bold, never-boring voice takes center stage” (The New York Times). The book is a rollicking reference guide to the most essential areas of knowledge in Proops’s universe, from the noteworthy names of the ancient world and baseball, to the movies you must see and the albums you must hear.

Complete with history’s juiciest tales and curious back-stories, Proops expounds on the merits of poetry and proper punctuation, delivering this wealth of information with his signature style and Proopsian panache. An off-beat and exuberant guide to everything, The Smartest Book in the World gives you everything you need to know to always be the smartest person in the room. Well, unless the Proopmaster is there, too.

About the Author: Greg Proops is an internationally renowned comedian, best known for starring on the hit improv comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway? and for his popular award-winning podcast, The Smartest Man in the World, which Rolling Stone called “some of the boldest comedy on the podcasting frontier right now.” But Proops is also a fountain of historical knowledge, a wealth of pop culture trivia, and a generally charming know-it-all.

City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit?

Greg Proops: My wife Jennifer Canaga, who illustrated this fine book, worked at City Lights for years. So I have been backstage and seen how they make the books. It is a scary process, it should be in black and white.

CL: If your book had a soundtrack, what would it be?

GP: There are many chapters on music in my awesome book: jazz, funk, glam, punk. Only the sexy stuff. So, Ohio Players’ “Love Rollercoaster,” Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam,” Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools,” Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Bottle,” Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool, Lou Reed’s “Vicious,” Marc Bolan’s “Bang a Gong (Get It On),” Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music” and the Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach.”

CL: What’s the first book you actually finished reading?

GP: I just finished Dr. Seuss’ One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Hated the ending. Contrived.

CL: If you weren’t a writer, what might you do?

GP: I am not a writer, so what are you gonna do? I am a comedian who has a podcast called The Smartest Man in the World. This is an expensive, elegant attempt to capitalize on whatever cache that may have. As opposed to a cheap, calculated attempt. If I was not a comedian I would be a petty thief or baseball historian, which both pay roughly the same.

greg-proopsCL: Name a few things you’d require if stranded on a desert island for an undefined period of time (and, yes, no Wi-Fi).

GP: A grapefruit spoon, a marijuana dispensary, papers, my wife, her sexy sandals. Melville––what the heck, if I am stuck, I’m finally going to read him. A Greek Taverna near the beach.  A geyser of chilled vodka. A giant bicycle powered generator so I can power my Zoom recorder and still do my podcast. A carrier dolphin to deliver the podcast and kicky deck shoes, this time I go sky blue.


Greg celebrates his new book The Smartest Book in the World on May 21st at the McRoskey Mattress Factory. Do not miss the opportunity to see Greg Proops live. A $10 ticket is a steal.

For more Greg, check out his official site for tour dates and live podcast recordings at a city near you, and follow him on Twitter. Check out his podcast, The Smartest Man in the World, which is released weekly. And check out his book, which was released this week: buy it at City Lights or ask for it at your local independent bookshop.


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