I Wanna Be Literated! #130

I Wanna Be Literated! #130

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Thursday, 29 September 2016
COLUMN

The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy
by Kliph Nesteroff

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 when said boom goes bust, forever forgotten. Unless of course some avid fan (read: nerd) writes a book about them.

Enter the Comedians by Kliph Nesteroff.

Documenting the life and history of comedy for the past 100 years seems like a daunting task but it’s pretty clear early on that Nesteroff is the right man for the job: his writing is clear and engaging, and very thorough. The man knows his stuff.

Another great aspect of the Comedians is its flow. Instead of devoting tiresome chapters or going on and on about certain topics grinding the narrative to a halt, the Comedians instead briefly flashes a spotlight on a trend, or comedian, or club and smoothly moves the story right along. Everything serves to propel the narrative forward. From the old vaudevillian days to the latest comedy boom, we learn about the birth of standup, the feuds, the clubs, the trends, the mob, the locations, the shows and characters that helped the genre evolve through all the years. The results are engaging and damn-right exciting. The only flaw in this book is that unfortunately Nesteroff cuts his story a bit short, ending his chronicle in the late 2000s and leaving us craving more. But then again, that’s a pretty great problem to have.

The Comedians is an informative and imperative read for anyone interested in show business and entertainment. And for comedy fans it’s absolutely essential.

Get it here! 

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