Filed Under Print
Daily Show writer Rob Kutner recruits two more of the show’s correspondents for another promo for his recent book “Apocalypse How”. On hand for this look at nuclear fashion are Kristen Schaal and Aasif Mandvi.
Previously: Be a Thrive-alist
An illustration of the depth of my comedy geekdom. Today, out of the corner of my eye while grabbing lunch, I spotted a copy of the 70s humor anthology “Titters” on the book trucks outside the Strand, the big NYC used book store.
Published in the 70s around the heyday of both National Lampoon and Saturday Night Live, “Titters” claims to be the first collection of female humor and was put together in part by SNL and Lampoon writer Anne Beats and art directed by John Belushi widow Judy Belushi Pisano (nee Jacklin) with contributions from people you’d know like Gilda Radner, Candice Bergen, Laraine Newman, Phyllis Diller and Anne Meara.
It’s not necessarily a major classic, but a minor one. And I wanted it. The reason I saw it was some other man was looking at it - I speculate because the cover is, ah, a bit more male friendly than you’d expect for an anthology of women’s humor. So I pretended to browse until he put it down. And I continued to pretend to browse after a second man picked it up before I could get to it. Reading the one page “Sylvia Plath Cookbook” from the book makes me glad I waited those two probably confused guys out.
There’s not necessarily a lot of stuff when it comes to be a collector of comedy stuff. It’s one of the saving graces of the fandom. But I’m curious - is there a comedy rarity that you found in a record store, book store, eBay or over the web as a torrent that you took more than a little joy in discovering?
Denis Leary is pimping an upcoming book of his online. Though Leary is a doctor (honorary) now, he hasn’t written the self-home tome he proposed in “No Cure for Cancer” (which was called, typically, “Shut the Fuck Up.”) This book is entitled “Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid “ Here’s the promotional video for it, which features a rant, allbeit more subdued, about the fat portion of the book.
The toilet seat in the car thing isn’t all that new, but I liked the line about Dr. Phil’s next book. And when I say “not new” I don’t mean he’s stealing it. But I’m sure Bill Hicks fans will be scouring for passages similar to anything the late comic said or wrote.
Stand-ups and books are a little dicey. Some comics are performers more than writers and their energy really can’t translate - it’s how they say them that’s funny. Where Leary falls in there I don’t know. He can write (despite what Hicks fans say - he’s done funny stuff past HIcks), but a ranting style is often what gives the jokes the oomph. We’ll see…
Update: I don’t know why, but the book publishers actually deleted the video at some point. A really dumb move - as I’ve gotten lots of traffic from the book and they gotten a taste here. It’s seems to be off the Internet. There is a video that appears to be from the same shoot on the Amazon Page for “Why We Suck” in case you really want to see Leary rant.
Filed Under Print
Daily Show writer and friend of the blog Rob Kutner wrote a humor entitled “Apocalypse How” which saw release just last week. It’s a guide for making the end of the world the first day of the rest of your life. Here’s a promo video for the book about staying in shape, with audio assistance from Daily Show correspondent Rob Riggle.
And for those who wonder “What Color is My Tattered Parachute?”, a note on careers…
If you’re in New York, there’s two upcoming signings… go to one so you remember what handwriting was like prior to arms becoming tentacles.
- May 21st - Brooklyn Word, 126 Franklin St. (corner of Milton) B– 7 PM
- May 24th - Manhattan Bluestockings, 172 Allen St (between Stanton and Rivington) - 7 PM
Glad you asked. First of all, he’s gotten a book deal:
Writer/star of both his own Comedy Central special and the recent Live At The Purple Onion DVD Zach Galifianakis’s ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: Comedians Of Comedy, a humorous sequence of essays and musings that shed some light on his magical beard, to Ben Greenberg at Grand Central, by Sally Willcox at CAA (World).
Hard to say how good that will be. Galifianakis material is mostly one-liners, briliant one-liner. He’s also highly improvisational. Will that work as a book?
Also, he’s staring in the upcoming Visioneers, which has cult written all over it. Zach stars as a mid-level office worker who’s worried he’s going to explode. And he appears to have dreams that he’s George Washington.
There’s a level of distance that’s all over this, but it’ll be interesting to see if that’s because of quirk or because that’s the only way to deal with the things George is feeling.
And, when he’s not doing those, he’s making college girls uncomfortable…
Last week, I dropped by a book “warming” at the Friars’ Club for “Milt & Marty” - a fake memoir for an unsuccessful comedy writing team. The book was penned by Tom Leopold and Bob Sand, two veteran comedy writers themselves (but far more successful, much to the consternation of Milt and Marty, who took the pair under their diseased racist wing).
At the warming, Milt and Marty made an appearance via video, in this interview was conducted by the funny (but playing it straight here) Frank Santopadre. There’s more than a little joy watching some old pros biting the hand of the generation before them, packing jokes in the rapid clip of that time, sometimes dropping a reference you might have to look up on Wikipedia.
(BTW, the video was shot by my good friend Carol Hartsell at Drink at Work, who describes some of the challenges in shooting it here.)
The event was held in the club’s Milton Berle room, jokingly described as appropriately the biggest room at the Friar’s Club (the room is actually a little small, doing no justice to the comic’s legendary shvantz). The Friars seem probably to most like the echo of a bygone era, but there’s still something a little amazing about the place - a private club where comedians could be funny uncensored among each other, doing the stuff they couldn’t on stage. That sense of fraternity doesn’t seem necessary today, but it’s still more than a little attractive. Might need to find myself a membership application.
I was strangely hopeful to discover there a suggestion that Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling wants to write a novel about a stand-up comedian. I’ve only read a couple of the Potter books… I don’t remember them as especially funny, but they had a good sense of whimsy about them. So I’m not necessarily a fan (or a hater) of Rowling’s work.
However, what I do kind of love about the idea is that there are tons of young fans who are probably hooked on Rowling. If she were to pen a novel focused on a stand-up comic, it could be the first detailed introduction lots of young people have to stand-up outside of the odd Comedy Central special. Sure, they’ve seen stand-up, but had they thought about as an art form? It’s an interesting opportunity.
As Chortle correctly points out, there’s plenty of reason Rowling might be credible at writing a book about stand-up as she lives in Edinburgh, home to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which brings many of the best international comics working today right to her doorstep. If she’s got a viewpoint on the art form, she’s certainly had the opportunity to see stand-up at its best.
Also, I can’t really think of too many novels where stand-ups are the main characters. The only one that comes to mind immediately is Bill Maher‘s “True Story”, written before Politically Correct and Real Time. I haven’t read it in ages, so I can’t testify to its strengths or weaknesses, but I do remember it being almost a little dismissive of stand-up in a way. The characters are named by what type of jokes they tell - i.e. Dick, Shit, Fat, Chink - which makes for a possibly accurate portrayal of exactly what went wrong with the 80s comedy boom (the book was published in 1994). I don’t think a definitive novel about stand-up has been written yet - but my memory might be spotty. Can anyone else think of other books I’m missing?
Of course, Rowling says she hasn’t written a word yet. So it may never turn up. But I’d read it. Would you?