A sad farewell to David Rakoff, one of our best humorists.

He will be missed.

Read an excerpt from Half Empty.

Read David’s TNB self-interview.

From his NY Times obituary:

A self-described gay Jewish Canadian transplant to New York City, Mr. Rakoff was a social anthropologist of postmodern life. His research often entailed firsthand field work, as when, in pursuit of conspicuous consumption, he became a passenger on one of the last flights of the Concorde.

He described the trip in his essay “As It Is in Heaven”:

“At 42,000 feet and Mach 1.71 (1,110 m.p.h.), we are given some small canapés. Triple rounds of edible money: filet mignon topped with caviar, smoked salmon, foie gras and a gooseberry.”

(As cultural counterweight, Mr. Rakoff next flew on Hooters Air, the short-lived airline operated by the Hooters restaurant chain and with a crew that included its pneumatic, scarcely clad hostesses, an experience recounted in the same essay.)

While some critics faulted Mr. Rakoff’s writing as overly aphoristic, many praised his singular style, which combined an amiable dyspepsia with an almost palpable undercurrent of melancholy.


BALLOON BOY is your friend. He is also the official mascot and spiritual leader of The Nervous Breakdown.

2 responses to “David Rakoff, 1964 — 2012”

  1. Gloria says:

    I just heard about this. I’m bummed out.

  2. karenjoy says:

    The best eulogy for David Rakoff thus far has been the last radio episode of This American Life (on which Mr. Rakoff was a frequent guest and contributor), hosted with much love and respect by Ira Glass. It made me miss David’s writing even more, but also feel grateful I’d had him along for the ride.

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