The comedians of the 1950s and 1960s were a totally different breed of relevant, revolutionary performer from any that came before or after, comics whose humor did much more than pry guffaws out of audiences. Gerald Nachman presents the stories of the groundbreaking comedy stars of those years, each one a cultural harbinger: • Mort Sahl, of a new political cynicism • Lenny Bruce, of the sexual, drug, and language revolution • Dick Gregory, of racial unrest • Bill Cosby and Godfrey Cambridge, of racial harmony • Phyllis Diller, of housewifely complaint • Mike Nichols & Elaine May and Woody Allen, of self-analytical angst and a rearrangement of male-female relations • Stan Freberg and Bob Newhart, of encroaching, pervasive pop media manipulation and, in the case of Bob Elliott & Ray Goulding, of the banalities of broadcasting • Mel Brooks, of the Yiddishization of American comedy • Sid Caesar, of a new awareness of the satirical possibilities of television • Joan Rivers, of the obsessive craving for celebrity gossip and of a latent bitchy sensibility • Tom Lehrer, of the inane, hypocritical, mawkishly sentimental nature of hallowed American folkways and, in the case of the Smothers Brothers, of overly revered folk songs and folklore • Steve Allen, of the late-night talk show as a force in American comedy • David Frye and Vaughn Meader, of the merger of showbiz and politics and, along with Will Jordan, of stretching the boundaries of mimicry • Shelley Berman, of a generation of obsessively self-confessional humor • Jonathan Winters and Jean Shepherd, of the daring new free-form improvisational comedy and of a sardonically updated view of Midwestern archetypes • Ernie Kovacs, of surreal visual effects and the unbounded vistas of video Taken together, they made up the faculty of a new school of vigorous, socially aware satire, a vibrant group of voices that reigned from approximately 1953 to 1965. Nachman shines a flashlight into the corners of these comedians’ chaotic and often troubled lives, illuminating their genius as well as their demons, damaged souls, and desperate drive. His exhaustive research and intimate interviews reveal characters that are intriguing and all too human, full of rich stories, confessions, regrets, and traumas. Seriously Funny is at once a dazzling cultural history and a joyous celebration of an extraordinary era in American comedy.
Exploring a paradox, Shawn Bingham and Sara Green show how humor has been used both to challenge traditional views of disability and to reinforce negative stereotypes and social inequalities. Seriously Funny ranges from ancient Greek dramas to medieval courts jesters to contemporary comedy, from stage performances to the experiences of daily life. Rich with insights into issues of identity and social stratification, it offers an eye-opening perspective on attitudes toward disability across the ages.
'Brilliant! Will make a perfect Xmas stocking filler' Bronya Ralley 'Delightful. This dip-in-anywhere book put a smile on my face from the first page . . . for everyone who likes a good chuckle' Ruth Milligan As we all know, the oxymoron is one of the great beauties of the English language. It has been defined as 'a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements that appear to be contradictory'. Famous examples would include 'bitter-sweet', 'open secret' and 'compassionate Conservatism'. Seriously Funny, and Other Oxymorons brings together a great many examples of the oxymoron genre, amusingly illustrated by Paul Thomas. The book is arranged according to various categories ranging from Popular Culture to Political Principles and Business Ethics, all covered in Simon Brett's inimitably witty style. Anyone with an 'unbiased opinion' will quickly grasp that Seriously Funny makes a 'devilishly nice' book.
‘I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.’ The most quotable writer of our time, Terry Pratchett’s unique brand of wit made him both a bestseller and an enduring, endearing source of modern wisdom. This collection is filled with his funniest and most memorable words about life, the universe and snoring.
"Exploring the ways in which political humor has developed and operated in Mexico over more than four centuries, this is groundbreaking work argues persuasively that political jokes are acts of rebellion: their objective is not to overthrow a government but to correct its mistakes"--
The author argues in this book that the proscribing of certain types of humour may not be beneficial. Just as humour has its origins in the cursing of malign spirits, in the present age of political constraint we still need it for our health too.
Poems about Love, Death, Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, and Everything Else
Author: Barbara Hamby
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Can serious poetry be funny? Chaucer and Shakespeare would say yes, and so do the authors of these 187 poems that address timeless concerns but that also include comic elements. Beginning with the Beats and the New York School and continuing with both marquee-name poets and newcomers, Seriously Funny ranges from poems that are capsized by their own tomfoolery to those that glow with quiet wit to ones in which a laugh erupts in the midst of terrible darkness. Most of the selections were made in the editors' battered compact car, otherwise known as the Seriously Funny Mobile Unit. During the two years in which Barbara Hamby and David Kirby made their choices, they'd set out with a couple of boxes of books in the back seat, and whoever wasn't driving read to the other. When they found that a poem made both of them think but laugh as well, they earmarked it. Readers will find a true generosity in these poems, an eagerness to share ideas and emotions and also to entertain. The singer Ali Farka Tour said that honey is never good when it's only in one mouth, and the editors of Seriously Funny hope its readers find much to share with others.
Life, Love & God...Musings Between Two Good Friends
Author: Adrian Plass
Publisher: Authentic Media
A little while ago, concerned that the next time they got together, one of them would be in a coffin, Jeff Lucas and Adrian Plass decided to start exchanging letters and this book is the result. Breathtakingly honest, funny, moving and immensely enjoyable, Seriously Funny is a celebration of 21st century Christianity as well as a no-holds barred expose of its sillier side. And they are equally hard on themselves their most embarrassing moments are a joy to read. Adrian Plass and Jeff Lucas are renowned for their ability to express the silly side of Christian culture, and to cut through our pretensions and foibles with incisive wit. In this candid, moving, hilarious book, they join comedic forces to challenge and entertain us.
The whole idea of the SERIOUSLY FUNNY tour was for Adrian Plass and Jeff Lucas to let people in on their conversations about God, life and the universe - and it went pretty well. After all, that's pretty much what they've been doing in their separate writing and speaking careers all these years. All told, people seemed to like the way their trademark styles came together and shed light on even the most difficult subjects, in a way that perhaps made those burdens a little easier to bear. However, as they toured around the country, Adrian and Jeff realised that other people's questions were at least as interesting as their own - possible more so. Eventually they decided they'd better have a go at some answers. This book is the result. They may not have got the answers right, but they have certainly had a good time along the way - and they hope you will, too.