May Contain Nuts: A Very Loose Canon of American Humor

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Michael J. Rosen
Harper Collins, Sep 14, 2004 - Humor - 440 pages
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Nutritiousness aside, May Contain Nuts provides 100% of the daily recommended amount of that essential life-enhancer, laughter. With more than 70 contributors and 150 shots from the loose canon of American humor, it's a stellar edition with plenty of real stars from stage and screen(writing):

• Seinfeld's Peter Mehlman • Hairspray's Mark O'Donnell • Ed's Michael Ian Black • and the world's most famous drive-in movie critic, Joe Bob Briggs

Plus, there's Roy Blount Jr. on how to travel "Southern" outside the South; summer recipes from our man in the kitchen, Henry Alford; Firesign Theatre's Phil Austin's yuletide "Tale of the Old Detective"; P. J. O'Rourke's not-so-intimate "Diary of a Country Gentleman"; Daniel Radosh's "PowerPoint Anthology of Literature"; and Tom Gliatto's helpful overview of today's thriving cabaret scene. With umpteen illustrations, many perplexing charts, and our first centerfold ever, this volume is party-sized for your reading pleasure.

New in This Issue

  • a comprehensive teacher's guide
  • a food section (including a transcript from Van Gogh's early cooking show)
  • up-to-the-minute newscrawl
  • a preview of the new all Law & Order Network
  • "Blues for Advanced Beginners"
  • Ingenious and iffy tributes to Orson Welles, Dale Earnhardt, Beck, John Edwards, and Celine Dion
 

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Contents

DAVID MARTIN
179
Sweden vs Clairvoyancy
185
MICHAEL MARTONE
188
PETER MEHLMAN
200
This Clam Is Near Death
202
BRYAN J MILLER
210
MARK ODONNELL
217
P J OROURKE
239

ANDREW BARLOW
34
MICHAEL IAN BLACK
37
An asterisk denotes stardom and the fact that the May Contain
40
ROY BLOUNT
44
KIM McCANN
55
NANCY COHEN
56
bedandbreakfast Henry Alford page 4
58
JILL A DAVIS
64
ELLIS DICKERSON
70
Madrigals vs Freshness
80
TOM GLIATTO
87
Are You Tangential? 126
94
BEN GREENMAN
102
BOB HIRSHON
123
Shakespeares Hamlet Daniel Radosh page 287
127
MARC JAFFE
136
MERLE KESSLER
140
Life AfterTed
148
DANNY LIEBERT
152
KURT LUCHS
164
MABEL MANEY
171
ED PAGE
253
NEIL PASRICHA
268
LOUIS PHILLIPS
276
NEAL POLLACK
282
LAURIE ROSENWALD
294
Towels vs Catholicsm
304
STEPHEN SHERRILL
308
BETH TEITELL
316
doughnuts Stephanie Brooks page 48
319
RICHARD THOMPSON
322
64305
334
JOHN WARNER
339
JUSTIN WARNER
350
Buttered Whale?
358
Late Late Show
369
MIRTH OF A NATION TEACHERS COMPANION
372
Index by Marc Jaffe and Peter Gaido
397
Contributor Notes
417
Andrew Marlatt
423
Permissions
433
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

The editor of More Mirth of a Nation: The Best Contemporary Humor, Michael J. Rosen has been called the unofficial organizer of the National Humor Writer's Union, a pretty good idea for an organization that could offer all kinds of benefits to its struggling members (currently numbering more than 300 who have never been published in The New Yorker or aired on NPR). He has been called other things as well, like in third grade, and then in seventh grade especially, by certain older kids known as "hoods," who made his life miserable, specifically during gym class, lunch period and after school. Later, much later, the Washington Post called him a "fidosopher" because of his extensive publications on dogs, dog training, and dog-besotted people. The New York Times called him an example of creative philanthropy in their special "Giving" section for persuading "writers, artists, photographers and illustrators to contribute their time and talents to books" that benefit Share Our Strength's anti-hunger efforts and animal-welfare causes. As an author of a couple dozen books for children, he's been called...okay, enough with the calling business.

For nearly twenty years, he served as literary director at the Thurber House, a cultural center in the restored home of James Thurber. Garrison Keillor, bless his heart, called it (sorry) "the capital of American humor." While there, Rosen helped to create The Thurber Prize for American Humor, a national book award for humor writing, and edited four anthologies of Thurber's previously unpublished and uncollected work, most recently The Dog Department: James Thurber on Hounds, Scotties and Talking Poodles, happily published by HarperCollins as well.

In his capacity as editor for this biennial, Rosen reads manuscripts year round, beseeching and beleaguering the nation's most renowned and well-published authors, and fending off the rants and screeds from folks who've discovered the ease of self-publishing on the web. Last summer, Rosen edited a lovely book, 101 Damnations: The Humorists' Tour of Personal Hells; while some critics (all right, one rather outspoken friend) considered this a book of complaints, Rosen has argued that humor, like voting and picketing and returning an appliance that "worked" all of four months before requiring a repair that costs twice the purchase price, humor is about the desire for change. It's responding to the way things are compared to the way you'd like things to be. And it's a much more convivial response than pouting or cornering unsuspecting guests at dinner parties.

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