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The Comedians

In The Comedians comedy historian Kliph Nesteroff brings to life a century of American comedy with real life characters forgotten stars mainstream heroes and counterculture iconoclasts Based on over 200 original interviews and extensive archival research Nesteroff's groundbreaking work is a narrative exploration of the way comedians have reflected shaped and changed American culture over the p I am a sucker for this kind of book I like a good History book especially when it covers a subject I am interested inAt 57 there isn t an era of comedy covered here that I don t have a connection to To clarify I wasn t around for vaudeville but I certainly remember seeing Groucho Marx and Jimmy Durante on my television screen at an early ageThis book touches on just about everyone but never goes too deep If like me you grew up reading Rolling Stone profiles of Steve Martin Sam Kinison and every SNL member who made it big you will not get much new information here Likewise with the histories of The Tonight Show SNL or the Daily Show If you didn t read these articles growing up or did but are only 24 years old you will find a ton of good information hereThe book does a nice job of showing you how the comedy torch was passed albeit begrudgingly from generation to generationIt is also fun to see the stories of people like Lorne Michaels and Steve Martin come together and pull apart like strands of DNAAn interesting footnote Because I was reading an advanced copy there were no photos as there will be in the finished book10 years ago this would have been a real loss but now hello google and hello you tube not a problem In fact a real enhancement that the author doesn t have to shell out time or money onPS while a few of their members were mentioned separately a few paragraphs about Kids in The Hall would have been nice I know I know they are Canadian but so influential to their time here in the states

Summary The Comedians

Up to a wide public while Lenny Bruce Mort Sahl and Jonathan Winters attacked conformity and staged a comedy rebellion in coffeehouses From comedy's part in the Civil Rights movement and the social upheaval of the late 1960s to the first comedy clubs of the 1970s and the cocaine fueled comedy boom of the 1980s The Comedians culminates with a new era of media driven celebrity in the 21st centu Interesting stuff and the book left me wanting to know about the subject and the personalities mentioned But when I finished reading I had the feeling that this could have been a much better book or at the very least entertaining I gave it only 2 stars because I feel I remain mostly ignorant of the subject matter even after finishing the bookIt read at times like a series of lists of often obscure names for the benefit of industry insiders To make it difficult for the uninformed the timeline seemed to jump around as comedians entered and exited the vaudeville and standup circuits radio and TV gigs and writing contracts Although I guess the book could be worthy of a better grade for historical accuracy or simply the feat of collecting all of the information offered in one place it wasn t very entertaining Maybe a reader with knowledge of the history and the various aspects of American show business over the years and particularly a comic s life throughout the last hundred years would say OK that s insightful but I couldn t decide that from the material presentedThe book had no spark and very few funny or warm hearted anecdotes The sheer numbers of names of people I d never heard of and mainly very brief references to their role in standup comedy left me with no context with which to judge the author s expertise or the validity of his remarksOverall the writing itself was a bit sophomoric and thesis like Oh well I m not unhappy that I read this book but I wish it had been better I ll warrant the subject is simply too broad and overwhelming in its complexity to be well referenced in the available space and almost assuredly beyond the scope of any single book

Download ✓ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free À Kliph Nesteroff

Ast 100 yearsStarting with the vaudeville circuit at the turn of the last century Nesteroff introduces the first stand up comedian an emcee who abandoned physical shtick for straight jokes After the repeal of Prohibition Mafia run supper clubs replaced speakeasies and mobsters replaced vaudeville impresarios as the comedian's primary employer In the 1950s the late night talk show brought stand The earlier sections of the book when it covers the comedians who came out of vaudeville was interesting The Marx Brothers Milton Berle and many others paid their dues in the declining backwater of the vaudeville circuit before they made the transition to radio and TV As the book develops it becomes dry reading and even a chore to plow through as it reads like a list of comics and venues Probably closer to a 25 rating as it does give a good snapshot of comedians like Woody Allen Seinfeld et al Also has good coverage of how the Mob dominated the stand up comic world and how Hugh Hefner proved very progressive by offering outlets for black comedians who were largely invisible in high profile settings Unfortunately there is no unifying story line that holds the narrative together and it could have used editing to slash some of the clutter


10 thoughts on “The Comedians

  1. says:

    This book probably annoyed my wife than any book I have read in years I seldom went two pages without interrupting her with Did you know Jack Benny refused to perform for segregated audiences starting in 1940 or When Redd Foxx was a dope dealer his partner was Malcolm X or Rodney Dangerfield was a crooked telemarketer or You will n

  2. says:

    I am a sucker for this kind of book I like a good History book especially when it covers a subject I am interested inAt 57 there isn't an era of comedy covered here that I don't have a connection to To clarify I wasn't around for vaudeville but I certainly remember seeing Groucho Marx and Jimmy Durante on my television screen at an early ageThis book touches on just about everyone but never goes too deep If

  3. says:

    As the subtitle says this is a history of American comedy from vaudeville to the death of Robin Williams Odds are your personal favorite comedian is given short shrift in this book if they're even mentioned at al

  4. says:

    This book is a prime example of why trade non fiction books need something like the process of academic peer review Nesteroff who is on television and described as a human encyclopedia of comedy is unarguably knowledgeable and clearly did a huge amount of work to produce this book including hundreds of interviews with comedians His website with its recordings of old comics is a valuable resource This book unfortunately i

  5. says:

    The earlier sections of the book when it covers the comedians who came out of vaudeville was interesting The Marx Brothers Milton Berle and many others paid their dues in the declining backwater of the vaudeville circuit before they made the transition to radio and TV As the book develops it becomes dry reading and even a chore to plow through as it reads like a list of comics and venues Probably closer to a 25 rating as it does g

  6. says:

    Books like this one are what it’s all about people I am a comedy nerd and the current comedy boom is the sweet stuff that dreams are made of My dreams anyway Yes with any boom comes an excess of participants Most will fade away wh

  7. says:

    Absolutely one of the very best books you will ever read about the history of stand up comedy This is a scholarly exhaustive but yet entertaining study of this uniue creative art form It's gritty too plenty of tooth and fang and comic dish The author is a real student of the craft and this book isn't fluff piece or PR released He

  8. says:

    Astonishingly funny enlightening readNesteroff knows the turf strides upon it like a giant among comedy fansReally rich in detail you can almost feel the flop sweat trickling down your collarEnthusiastically recommendedIf you love to laugh this book pays offIf you're looking for tragedy it's got thatGossipDown low grittyLook no further

  9. says:

    Interesting stuff and the book left me wanting to know about the subject and the personalities mentioned But when I finished reading I had the feeling that this could have been a much better book or at the very least entertaining I g

  10. says:

    Damn Who knew the World of comedy was that incestuous or that cutthroatI half expected this to be a compendium of profiles but it is actually a history of comedy in the united states starting with vaudeville and black face and going through to the current names in satire and TV such as Colbert Robin Williams May he RIP and CK Louis I would like to of seen current female comedians covered such as Ellen DeGeneres Jessica Williams or Tina Fey

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