Kyria Abrahams was a regular columnist for Jest Magazine for several years, where she was featured alongside performers and writers from The Daily Show and Chappelle’s Show. Her humor has also been published in Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure (Harper Perennial, 2007) the THE BOOK OF ZINES: Reading From the Fringe. For two years, Kyria Abrahams was a regular columnist for Jest Magazine, where she was featured alongside performers and writers from The Daily Show and Chappelle’s Show. She has been a past performer at alternative comedy shows like Eating It and Invite them Up, as well as literary readings like How to Kick People.
As a standup comic, Comedy Central twice selected her as one of ten semi-finalists for the Boston Laugh Riots Competition. She has also been a repeat performer at alternative comedy shows like “Eating It” and “Invite them Up,” as well as literary readings like “How to Kick People”–each of them places where the likes of Jon Stewart, Janeane Garafalo, Patton Oswalt, Fred Armisen, and David Cross have appeared. Raised in Providence, Rhode Island she now lives in Queens with an abused cat that she just knows will start to love her some day.
Raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, Kyria Abrahams’s childhood was haunted by the knowledge that her neighbors and schoolmates were doomed to die in an imminent fiery catastrophe; that Smurfs were evil; that just about anything you could buy at a yard sale was infested by demons; and that Ouija boards—even if they were manufactured by Parker Brothers—were portals to hell.
Given that Abrahams is now a stand-up comic and spoken-word poet, it makes perfect sense to begin her very funny memoir with her performance debut at the Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Kingdom Hall, at age 8 (her presentation was about freedom from demon possession). She describes the children’s books she read as a child as a cross between “Dr. Seuss rhymes and tales of how sinners would scream and gnash their teeth at Armageddon.” In her world, Smurfs were “little blue demons” and yard sales were enticements from Satan. As a bored teenager with OCD, she didn’t know what to do with herself or how to make sense of the world. On the verge of 18, she married a 24-year-old part-time college math teacher because, even if his interest in her was, at best, halfhearted, she wanted a boyfriend and didn’t know any other Jehovah’s Witnesses who liked her. Anyway, she reasons, “this is what adults did, and I was an adult.” It wasn’t long before she longed to be out of the marriage. Between threats of suicide, she tried to be “disfellowshipped,” or shunned, by her congregation, which proved surprisingly difficult to accomplish. Abrahams is a natural writer whose prose flows effortlessly as she easily mixes throwaway humor and painful memories in a compelling narrative.
When Kyria turned eighteen, she found herself married to a man she didn’t love, with adultery her only way out. “Disfellowshipped” and exiled from the only world she’d ever known, Kyria realized that the only people who could save her were the very sinners she had prayed would be smitten by God’s wrath. Written with scorching wit and deep compassion, I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed manages to be hilarious about the ironic absurdity of growing up believing that nothing matters because everything’s about to be destroyed.
Read I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing by Kyria Abraham, or save to your list on GoodReads.