A Futile and Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney and National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever

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Chicago Review Press, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 402 pages
Now a Netflix original film starring Will Forte, Domhnall Gleeson, and Emmy Rossum.

Comic genius Doug Kenney cofounded National Lampoon, cowrote Animal House and Caddyshack, and changed the face of American comedy before mysteriously falling to his death at the age of 33. This is the first-ever biography of Kenney--the heart and soul of National Lampoon--reconstructing the history of that magazine as it redefined American humor, complete with all its brilliant and eccentric characters. Filled with vivid stories from New York, Harvard Yard, Hollywood, and Middle America, this chronicle shares how the magazine spawned a comedy revolution with the radio shows, stage productions, and film projects that launched the careers of John Belushi, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Gilda Radner, while inspiring Saturday Night Live and everything else funny that's happened since 1970. Based on more than 130 interviews conducted with key players including Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, P. J. O'Rourke, John Landis, and others and boasting behind-the-scenes stories of how Animal House and Caddyshack were made, this book helps capture the nostalgia, humor, and enduring legacy that Doug Kenney instilled in National Lampoon--America's greatest humor magazine.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mensheviklibrarian - LibraryThing

Very good biography of both Doug Kenney and National Lampoon. Although the prose is workmanlike, Kenney's brilliance and fascinating personality hold our attention. Recommended. Read full review

A Futile and Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney and National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

For the multitude of baby boomers coming into full adolescent bloom in the 1970s, the National Lampoon was the catƒ¯‚¿‚½s ass. With comedic masterpieces like the 1964 Kefauver High School ... Read full review


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About the author (2006)

Josh Karp is a freelance journalist who writes for a variety of national publications, including The Atlantic Monthly Online, Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, Playboy, Premiere, and Salon.com.

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