Laughing Matters: On Writing M-A-S-H, Tootsie, Oh, God!, and a Few Other Funny Things

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Random House, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 276 pages
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Larry Gelbart is the comic genius who developed M*A*S*H for TV, one of the longest-running, most beloved series in history; he was a much-admired member of that memorable gaggle of writers who worked for Sid Caesar, which also included Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Woody Allen, and Neil Simon; and he's written successful movies like Tootsie and Oh, God!, smash hits for Broadway, including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and City of Angels, TV comedy-dramas like Barbarians at the Gate and Weapons of Mass Distraction, and more.
His book now adds to the fun. Part memoir, part sampler, part love letter, Gelbart tells of writing radio comedy at age sixteen for Danny Thomas--and later for Bob Hope, Jack Paar, and Red Buttons; he offers behind-the-set stories about Milton Berle, George C. Scott, and George Burns, "Klinger" and "Radar" and "Father Mulcahy"; and he lets us know about the places he's lived and how he's lived and what he's learned while doing so.
Not everything is played for laughs. Some of Laughing Matters is serious--Gelbart is a wit, not a gag writer, and he cares deeply about writing. Some is touching--for instance, his account of the last days of M*A*S*H. His sketches of comedy performers and writers are "elegant," said Publishers Weekly in an early review, his sense of form original.
He's won Emmys, Tonys, and Peabody awards, he's twice been nominated for an Academy Award, and now, in print, he may well win your heart.
A lot of funny things happened on the way to this book--and you'll be hugely entertained.

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Laughing matters: on writing M-A-S-H, Tootsie, Oh, God!, and a few other funny things

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In the parlance of Hollywood-speak, a language with which we are all becoming increasingly inundated, comedy writer extraordinaire Gelbart is the "total package." Over the course of his 50-plus-year ... Read full review

Review: Laughing Matters

User Review  - Joy H. - Goodreads

You can see and hear Larry Gelbart tell the story in his own words about how MASH got started on TV and how the show was cast, etc., at: http://www.emmytvlegends.org/intervie... I think it's in Part 4 of the clips there. He gives lots of details. Read full review

Contents

Becoming Somebody
12
MASH Notes
32
The Comedians
62
Copyright

25 other sections not shown

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Spy Television
Wesley Alan Britton
Limited preview - 2004
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About the author (1998)

Larry Gelbart has gained widespread fame as one of the creators of the hit TV series M*A*S*H. Born on February 25, 1923 in Chicago, he got his first break at the age of 16, when he became a joke writer for Danny Thomas. Gelbart wrote radio scripts for such noted personalities as Bob Hope and Sid Caesar and quickly moved on to authoring plays. In 1962, Gelbart's smash musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, co-written with Stephen Sondheim, opened to rave reviews and has become a classic in musical theatre. Gelbart's works have entertained millions. He wrote the screenplays for Tootsie and Oh God!, wrote the musical City of Angels, and wrote and produced the TV series M*A*S*H. He has won numerous awards including several Tonys, an Emmy and a Drama Desk award. In 1998, he wrote his autobiography, Laughing Matters: On Writing M*A*S*H, Tootsie, Oh, God!, and a Few Other Funny Things. This highly enjoyable work is filled with humorous anecdotes, recollections and Gelbart's incomparable humor.

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