A darkly witty, deeply affecting, and finely crafted memoir by the Big Bang Theory andSpeechless star and comedian, John Ross Bowie.

From his earliest memories of watching Rhoda with his parents in their tiny Hell’s Kitchen apartment, John knew that he wanted to be an actor. The strange, alternate world of television—where people always cracked the perfect joke, lived in glamorous Upper East Side buildings, and made up immediately after fighting—seemed far better than his own home life, with a mother and father on the brink of divorce and a neighborhood full of crumbling pre-war architecture and not-so-occasional muggings. And yet that other world also seems unattainable. Besides crippling stage fright (which would take him years to overcome) John's father, ever aloof and cynical, has instilled within him the notion that acting is “no job for a man.”

His father would impart that while theater, film, and television should be consumed and even debated, to create was no way to make a living or support a family. Putting aside his acting dreams, John stumbles through his twenties. He tries his hand at teaching and other traditional occupations, but nothing feels nearly as fulfilling as playing with his fleetingly on-the-map punk band, Egghead.

When he and his bandmates break up, John lands a joyless job copywriting for a consulting agency and slips into a dark depression. He loses weight, begins drinking heavily, and his relationships flounder.

But everything changes when John discovers improv (and anti-depressants). As a part of New York’s now-famous Upright Citizens Brigade, John not only explores his passion for acting and comedy—and begins to envision himself doing so professionally—he also meets his future wife and fellow actor, Jamie Denbo.

No Job for a Man follows the couple as they relocate to Los Angeles and try to make it in the arts, meeting success and failure, wins and losses, despair and hope along the way. Though his father chronically refuses to acknowledge pride in his adult son’s accomplishments, John comes to realize what being a man truly means.

About the author(s)

John Ross Bowie is perhaps best known for playing recurring villain and fan favorite Barry Kripke on the international hit television show The Big Bang Theory.  He also recently co-starred as Minnie Driver’s husband, Jimmy DiMeo, on ABC’s “Speechless.” John has been appeared on the television shows Veep, Fresh off the Boat, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Brooklyn 99, CSI, and Glee, among many others, and in movies such as Road Trip, The Heat, He’s Just Not That Into You, The Santa Clause 3, Jumanji: The Next Level, and the cult hit What The Bleep Do We Know? Prior to his acting career, John was a contributing writer for the New York Press and has since written and developed television scripts at Fox, CBS, and Amazon. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Jamie Denbo and their two children and he thinks an author bio on a memoir is a real “hat-on-a-hat” situation.


"While you’ve long known John Ross Bowie as 'that guy from that thing,' get ready to know him as a thoughtful raconteur whose stories beautifully blend heartfelt contemplation on masculinity, generational shifts, forgiveness, and the way that the arts can save wandering souls."

Chris Gethard, “Beautiful/Anonymous,“ HBO’s “Career Suicide.”

No Job For A Man is the kind of personal journey I want to read about.  Filled with fascinating stories beginning with John Ross Bowie growing up in Manhattan in an environment of theatre, TV comedy, and music. His relationship with his father is complicated, and is beyond just simple generational resentment. There are expectations and disappointment, but at the same time, a lot of love and understanding. The way John sees his life is endlessly entertaining. It was not always easy, and now I see what is behind his wonderful performances and his love of punk music.”

Fred Armisen, Saturday Night Live, Portlandia, and Trenchmouth.

"John has seemingly lived ten thousand lives.  He was a kid that got mugged in New York City. He was in a punk band. He was a teacher. And he ultimately became an actor in one of the most popular sitcoms of all time.  He manages to tell each life story with a perfect balance of introspective wisdom and laugh-out-loud humor.  Reading this book feels like sitting down with a friend and having one of those long chats that spellbind you til you realize it’s six hours later and you should move your car so you can listen for another six hours.”

Broti Gupta, writer, The Simpsons, The New Yorker

More Celebrity & Popular Culture

More Topic

More Humor