A.J. Giorgi

Creative Nonfiction | Kent State University | Class of 2021

If humor, as the saying goes, is tragedy plus time, then A.J. Giorgi’s memoir of his life as a burgeoning stand-up comic is pretty damn funny. After all, it’s got a dead body, a soul-crushing Walmart job, relentless hecklers, a self-destructive partner in crime, a car in impound, and a perpetual hangover. All of this is woven through an impressively crafted narrative whose scenes and sentences shine with the precision of well-written jokes and whose protagonist – the real-life A.J. – is someone you want to root for as life hurls him one insult after another.  —David Giffels


About A.J.

A.J. Giorgi is a writer and standup comedian. He has devoted the last decade of his life to telling better stories and learning as much as he can about language. 

A.J. grew up in western Pennsylvania where he spent his childhood playing soccer, drawing dinosaurs on printer paper, and exploring the forest behind his parents’ home. In his early teens, he discovered the joys of journaling and wrote almost daily well into his mid-twenties. As a young adult, he attended Youngstown State University, majoring in Psychology but left the university in 2011 before completing his degree. 

In 2012, A.J. performed his first standup comedy set and quickly became obsessed with traveling, writing jokes, and performing. He has told jokes to live audiences throughout northeast Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and the West Virginia panhandle. Nearly five-hundred performances later, he still loves to take the stage whenever he has the time.

In 2015, A.J. returned to college, this time at Kent State University, where he started a degree in English and continued his study of Psychology. While finishing his studies, he worked as a research assistant in the KSU’s Language and Cognition laboratory, helping to design experiments for second language acquisition and Tourette’s syndrome research.

A.J. holds a B.A. in English and Psychology from Kent State University. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing--specializing in creative nonfiction--from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts. His first memoir will explore personal failure and learning how to be a standup comedian.

Your advice to an incoming MFA student?

Be sure to take care of your writing first. Your students will forgive you if their grades are a little late.

What’s on your nightstand right now?

I am not Jackson Pollock by John Haskell.

Your favorite place to write while in the NEOMFA?

I had secret hiding spots in all the university libraries throughout the consortium, but my favorite place was probably the Kent Free Library.

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Cleveland State University
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