I know him from This American Life. His dry, dark sense of humor will be sorely missed.
A great loss. Loved that man.
Only know him from his “Christmas Freud” bit on This American Life, but that was pretty funny.
I am so very sad about this. I freakin’ loved his essays. One of few writers that could really make me laugh out loud with his phrasing. Sad sad sad.
He was so young, that’s a shame. I didn’t know he was on This American Life or I would have searched it out (I really should do that anyway). Some years ago I came across one of his books and thought, wow, he’s a lot like David Sedaris! Come to find out he was friends with both David and Amy. I’m going to read all his essays, there are a bunch listed on Wikipedia. Well, that’s a shame, RIP, Mr. Rakoff.
I saw him a few months ago on the TAL Simulcast. He did a monolog about life with the use of only one arm (his other arm was rendered useless during his cancer treatment). He described how difficult it was to do even simple tasks - like grating cheese. It was both very funny and very sad.
I remember him talking about being Canadian, and how he lived in dread of his adopted people, New Yorkers, finding it out.
“But that’s fine.” He made it as a New Yorker all right.
One of my favorite spoken word pieces bar none is his version of the The Tortoise and the Scorpion from the “Frenemies” issue on This American Life. When I first heard it I was profoundly moved not only by the writing but by his reading of it.
My skills are not up to describing my feelings on hearing of his passing.
I often listened to his wonderful audio books while walking in the park at dawn in the very small town where I live. I’d have to stop and just bend over with laughter. He wasn’t only funny, he was witty, and intelligent, and his delivery when reading his own material was perfect. I was so shocked when I heard Terry Gross announce that he had died. She broadcast a couple of interviews with him on the show today. I’m sure they can be found on the Fresh Air site.