Jonathan Ames

Jonathan Ames
Born (1964-03-23) March 23, 1964
New York City, United States
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Period 1989–present
Genre Memoir, Literary fiction
Children 1

Jonathan Ames (born March 23, 1964)[1] is an American author who has written a number of novels and comic memoirs. He was a columnist for the New York Press for several years, and became known for self-deprecating tales of his sexual misadventures. He also has a long-time interest in boxing, appearing occasionally in the ring as "The Herring Wonder".[2] In 2009, he created the HBO television series Bored to Death.

Raised in Oakland, New Jersey, Ames attended Indian Hills High School.[3][4]


Ames's novels include I Pass Like Night (1989), The Extra Man (1998), and 2004's Wake Up Sir!, described by The New York Times as "laugh-out-loud funny".[5] In September 2008 Ames released The Alcoholic, his first foray into graphic novels[6] and an excerpt was included in The Best American Comics 2010.[7] In 2009, he published a new collection of essays and fiction with Scribner, titled The Double Life Is Twice as Good.

While at the New York Press his columns were often recollections of his childhood neuroses and his unusual experiences, written in the gritty tradition of Charles Bukowski. These columns were collected in four nonfiction books, What's Not to Love?: The Adventures of a Mildly Perverted Young Writer (2000), My Less Than Secret Life (2002), I Love You More than You Know (2006), and The Double Life Is Twice As Good: Essays and Fiction (2009). Ames was also responsible for the Most Phallic Building contest which followed an article he wrote for Slate magazine where he claimed that the Williamsburg Bank Building in Brooklyn, New York, was the most phallic building he'd ever seen.[8]

Other media

Ames became known as a raconteur in New York City following his 1999 one-man stage show, "Oedipussy," and continues to perform frequently with the New York-based storytelling organization The Moth. He has also been a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman several times and played the lead role in the 2001 IFC film The Girl Under the Waves, an on-screen experiment in improvisational acting.

In 2004, Showtime commissioned Ames to develop a pilot based on his writings, titled What's Not to Love? Ames starred as himself, but it was not developed into a series, instead airing as a one time special in the winter of 2007-2008. Ames also appears in The Great Buck Howard, directed by Sean McGinly and starring John Malkovich, which debuted at Sundance in 2008.

Ames created the HBO series Bored to Death, which stars Jason Schwartzman as a struggling Brooklyn novelist named Jonathan Ames who moonlights as an unlicensed private detective. The show debuted on September 20, 2009. He also started to guest-star as Irwin during the second season, appearing fully nude in one scene. On December 20, 2011 it was reported that Bored to Death was cancelled by HBO after airing its third season.

The film adaptation of Ames's novel The Extra Man, starring Kevin Kline, John C. Reilly, Katie Holmes, and Paul Dano, was released in 2010.

Ames has also appeared in HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm in the Season 8 episode "Car Periscope," playing a brief role as Larry David's business manager.

Ames acted as Executive Producer on the ASS Studios horror-comedy Satan, Hold My Hand, written by Reverend Jen Miller and directed by Courtney Fathom Sell. The budget of the project was estimated at $27.00 [9][10]

More recently, Ames has teamed up with Patrick Stewart and Seth MacFarlane for the sitcom Blunt Talk, slated to premier on the Starz network August 22, 2015.[11]


Ames is a 1987 graduate of Princeton University and he holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from Columbia University. He has been an infrequent faculty member at Columbia University, The New School, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.



Short Stories






  1. "Cover Biography for October 2007". 2007. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
  2. Littlefield, Alex (2007-07-25). "Jonathan Ames's Punch-out!". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  3. Spelling, Ian. "Ennui Enterprise: Oakland native Jonathan Ames strikes gold with Bored to Death", (201) magazine, June 1, 2011. Accessed September 12, 2015. "Ames’ years in Oakland, he notes, helped shape his life and career path. His mother was a teacher and a poet, and his father was a salesman and a voracious reader. He studied at Indian Hills High School."
  4. Barone, Matt. "Happy to Be 'Bored to Death'", Inside Jersey, April 6, 2011. Accessed September 12, 2015. "The prolific 47-year-old writer was born and raised in Oakland, where he attended Indian Hills High School."
  5. Alford, Henry (2004-08-01). "Crying Jeeves When There Is No Jeeves". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  6. "DC Comics: Coming September 2008". 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-01.
  7. Neil Gaiman, ed., The Best American Comics 2010 (Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010), 317
  8. Ames, Jonathan. "Entry 4" Slate (July 17, 2003)
  11. "Patrick Stewart Stars in Starz Comedy Blunt Talk". August 16, 2015. Retrieved August 16, 2015.

External links

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