Random Female Syndromes The Syndrome Mag. $12.99.
Life is Funny Comedy Workout Publishing. $13.95.
It is rare that people can become professional comedians, and yet local author Leigh Anne Jasheway has made a career as one. A standup comedian of 28 years, Jasheway has created a career of performing, teaching and writing comedy.
The Eugene-based comedian is showcasing two books this year. The first one is an updated version of her 2007 novel Life is Funny and the other book, Random Female Syndromes, was created in collaboration with Syndrome Mag.
Her novel Life is Funny is self-published, so when Jasheway read it again this year she decided to update it and republish it, modernizing technology references and realizing how pertinent the storyline is to modern politics and culture.
“I think its really relevant today,” she says.
The premise of the story is a Texas hair salon filled with various characters including one that wants to be a standup comic, a woman with multiple personalities and a psychic manicurist. In the novel, a Republican running for governor gets his career ruined by a bunch of women, who step out against him in an era before the #MeToo movement took place.
“I’m a standup comic, but originally wanted to be a politician,” she says. “One of my first students was a hairdresser who became a standup comic. I combined the two of us.”
Although the book tackles real issues, including sexual assault, Jasheway says she is careful to use comedy writing only in the portion of the book in which characters are performing stand up. As a comedy writer, she focuses on developing characters and the story to explore trauma, but allows the book to interact with comedy.
This is also reflected in her 2019 book collaboration Random Female Syndromes. This book was created through the Syndrome Mag — a nonprofit online magazine with the mission of raising awareness for gender equality.
The anthology of articles represented in Random Female Syndromes reveal true stories of how women exist in the world.
“We have stories like women using a wheel chair, questioning whether she can be a mom. Its societal and personal issues done comically,” Jasheway says.
Although the book is compiled from women from around the world sharing their experiences, Jasheway ties everything together by creating the “syndromes” and prescriptions around the articles. There is the “I forgot to have kids” syndrome, the “Pluck it” syndrome and even the “Anti-Anti-Aging Syndrome.” All these topics cover issues regarding aging, work, kids, body and identity. At the end of each article, Jasheway inserts her recommended treatment, most of which involve embracing the syndromes and womanhood.
“We really wanted to enlighten and educate everyone who will read this book,” she says.