Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America

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Grand Central Publishing, Dec 2, 2008 - Performing Arts - 384 pages
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From the most popular routines and the most ingenious physical shtick to the snappiest wisecracks and the most biting satire of the last century, MAKE 'EM LAUGH illuminates who we are as a nation by exploring what makes us laugh, and why. Authors Laurence Maslon and Michael Kantor draw on countless sources to chronicle the past century of American comedy and the geniuses who created and performed it-melding biography, American history, and a lotta laughs into an exuberant, important book.





Each of the six chapters focuses a different style or archetype of comedy, from the slapstick pratfalls of Buster Keaton and Lucille Ball through the wiseguy put-downs of Groucho Marx and Larry David, to the incendiary bombshells of Mae West and Richard Pryor . And at every turn the significance of these comedians-smashing social boundaries, challenging the definition of good taste, speaking the truth to the powerful-is vividly tangible. MAKE 'EM LAUGH is more than a compendium of American comic genius; it is a window onto the way comedy both reflects the world and changes it-one laugh at a time.





Starting from the groundbreaking PBS series, the authors have gone deeper into the works and lives of America's great comic artists, with biographical portraits, archival materials, cultural overviews, and rare photos. Brilliantly illustrated, with insights (and jokes) from comedians, writers and producers, along with film, radio, television, and theater historians, MAKE 'EM LAUGH is an indispensible, definitive book about comedy in America.


 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bostonian71 - LibraryThing

A sheer delight. "Make 'Em Laugh" is an excellent historical survey that profiles many of the major funnymen and funnywomen, showcases some of their best lines, and places their work in the context of ... Read full review

Make 'em laugh: the funny business of America

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This well-illustrated companion to the PBS television series features concise yet captivating insights on the art of comedy in America and the men and women who have made us laugh for over 100 years ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
SOCK IT TO
NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK
WOULD YA HIT A GUY WITH GLASSES?
HONEY IM HOME BREADWINNERS AND HOME
WHEN IM BAD IM BETTER
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Kantor is a writer, director, and producer. He is president of Ghost Light Films and Almo Inc., companies dedicated to bringing the arts to television.

Laurence Maslon is an associate arts professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He is the coauthor, with Michael Kantor, of the acclaimed companion volume to the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary series "Broadway: The American Musical", for which he also cowrote two episodes. He also wrote the "American Masters" documentary on Richard Rodgers and was senior consultant on the fortieth-anniversary DVD release of "The Sound of Music". He lives in New York City and on Long Island with his wife, Genevieve, and their dog, Ruby.

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