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All-Star Comedy Team Creates Middle-Grade Comic Novel

The shadow of a boy at a piano appears to be happily banging out a tune, while his face reveals his secret panic.

When a comedian, a cartoonist and an author team up to write young adult fiction, it leads to a hilarious book about a sixth-grader with a secret.

The book “Jake the Fake Keeps it Real” (Penguin Random House/2017) is the collaboration of Craig Robinson, Adam Mansbach and Keith Knight. Robinson is best known for his role on the television sitcom “The Office” and movies including “Hot Tub Time Machine” and “This is the End.” Mansbach is famous for his expletive-ridden book masquerading as a children’s bedtime story, and cartoonist Keith Knight created the “K-Chronicles.”

The story and 160 of Knight’s illustrations show the efforts of a decidedly-average middle schooler trying to fit in at a magnet music and arts academy.

Keith Knight presents his cartoons dealing with police brutality at 7 p.m. tonight at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Host Frank Stasio talks with Knight, Mansbach, and Robinson about their collaboration.


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Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.