HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Paul Rudnick

Award-Winning Playwright, Screenwriter, New Yorker Contributer, and Novelist


  • An Evening with Paul Rudnick
  • I Shudder: And Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey
  • I Hate Hamlet: Tales of Life Behind the Wicked Broadway Stage
  • Sister Act: Adventures in Writing for Hollywood


New York

Paul Rudnick is a celebrated playwright, screenwriter, columnist, and novelist. For more than 20 years, he has been one of America's most prominent and beloved comedic writers. From his acclaimed, much performed plays to his screenplays of wildly popular films to his regular contributions to Premiere magazine and The New Yorker, he has established himself as a comic genius whose talents transcend any one genre. A gifted raconteur, he has shared his hilarious adventures of working in Hollywood and on Broadway at the New Yorker Festival, universities, Jewish organizations, and is a perfect keynote speaker for libraries, film and theatre organizations, and as an after-dinner speaker at fundraisers and charitable galas.

Rudnick's collection of stories and essays, I Shudder: And Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey (Harper), is a brilliant, side-splittingly funny collection of essays in which he trains his wickedly perceptive eye on all manner of hilarious subjects: from living in a series of increasingly bizarre, altogether fabulous apartments in New York City; to cavorting with a cast of colorful artists who have to be read to be believed; to dealing with some of the most perplexing yet endearing personalities in show business; to handling the finer points of putting up with, and loving, one's family, however out of their gourds they may be; and, above all, to keeping one's tongue sharp in the midst of life's many obstacles and hilarities.

For more than 25 years, Paul Rudnick's plays have been making America split its stitches in laughter. His latest book The Collected Plays of Paul Rudnick reminds readers far and wide of the great influence that Rudnick's comedic timing has had on the world of American theater.

Rudnick's plays, which have been produced both on and off Broadway and around the world, include The New Century, I Hate Hamlet, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Regrets Only, Valhalla, and Jeffrey, for which he won an Outer Critics Circle Award, the John Gassner Playwrighting Award, and an Obie. His screenplays include In &Out, Sister Act, Addams Family Values, and the screen adaptation of Jeffrey. His articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Esquire, Vanity Fair, and Vogue, and his work appears frequently in The New Yorker. He is rumored to be quite close to Premiere magazine's film critic, Libby Gelman-Waxner, whose collected columns have been published under the title If You Ask Me. His novels are Social Disease and I'll Take It.

Born in Piscataway, New Jersey, Rudnick graduated from Yale University and lives in New York City.

Praise for Paul Rudnick and I Shudder:

"Paul Rudnick is a champion of truth (and love and great wicked humor) whom we ignore at our peril. There's no book wiser or half as funny as I Shudder."
-- David Sedaris

"Line by line, Mr. Rudnick may be the funniest writer for the stage in the United States today."
-- Ben Brantley, New York Times

"I Shudder is filled with deeply funny musings and adventures that elevate Paul Rudnick to the highest level of American comedy writing. It should be noted that I would be at the highest level of American comedy writing if I had had Paul's early advantages."
-- Steve Martin

"Mr. Rudnick is a born show-biz wit with perfect pitch for priceless one-liners."
-- Frank Rich, New York Times

"Uproariously self-deprecating essays about being gay and Jewish in suburban New Jersey and downtown Manhattan...The vignettes that give the book its title offer... irresistible screeds against the indignities of modern urban life."
-- New York Times Book Review

"The witty, sardonic playwright (Jeffrey) and screenwriter (In & Out, Addams Family Values) delivers an acerbic and entertaining memoir about his experiences as a child in New Jersey and an adult in showbiz."
-- Entertainment Weekly

"Is this the month of heavy hitters, or what?... But there's still room on the shelves -- and perhaps in your e-reader of choice -- for... a humorist aiming for that David Sedaris slot on the best-seller list... In this collection of essays the humorist and screenwriter Paul Rudnick tackles his own family, and his history in Hollywood and on Broadway (including the brouhaha over his play I Hate Hamlet, in which one actor walked off stage midperformance after the play's star hit him for real with a sword). Of his time researching the script for Sister Act, Mr. Rudnick writes that in meeting one of the nuns at the Regina Laudis convent, he realized, 'We worshiped entirely different Madonnas.' Running through the book are excerpts from 'the Most Deeply Intimate and Personal Diary of One Elyot Vionnet,' in which Mr. Rudnick's alter ego imparts lessons of style and grace to those around him, often with unintended consequences."
-- New York Times

"Best known for his hilarious stage and screen plays, Paul Rudnick courageously takes on a David Sedaris style of memoir with this collection of essays. Rudnick offers a hilarious romp through the many components of his life: from the sweet tooth that landed him in child therapy to his debut Broadway play, I Hate Hamlet - and everything in between. Rudnick's humor comes from his ability to buoyantly portray the 'large-scale personalities' that fill his life, including his Jewish aunts, a neurotic agent, and a flamboyant costume-designer friend... Rudnick never sacrifices honesty for humor. Rather - as the title suggests - he tastefully incorporates humor into real-life issues, such as his father's death and his friend's struggles with AIDS..."
-- Publishers Weekly

"If you like David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, you'll like Paul Rudnick. They come from the same mold. Like them, he exemplifies a kind of wit he himself calls 'gay banter' and which has three defining characteristics. It is ironic. It is self-deprecating. It has a full-blooded swagger. But even more significantly, it can often be devastatingly funny...When push comes to shove, this is a funny book. Read it; you'll like it."
-- Blogcritics.com

"Piscataway, N.J. and Hollywood don't usually have much in common, but writer Paul Rudnick finds absurdity in both."
-- Modern Tonic