This dark comedy about celebrity is from the author who is “among the most perceptive and edgy chroniclers of an increasingly coarse American culture” (New York Journal of Books). The funny man is a middling comic in an unnamed city. By day he takes care of his infant son; by night he performs in small clubs. His wife waits tables to support the family. It doesn’t sound like much, but they’re happy, more or less. Until the day he comes up with it. His thing. His gimmick. And everything changes. He’s a headliner, and the venues get bigger fast. Pretty soon he has a starring role in a Hollywood blockbuster, all thanks to the gimmick. Which is: He performs with his fist in his mouth. Jokes, impressions, commercials—all with his fist in his mouth. The people want him—are crazy for him—but only with his fist in his mouth. And the funny man is tired of having his fist in his mouth. Thus, as the novel begins, his career is in tatters, his family has left him, and he’s on trial for shooting an unarmed man six times. His lawyer argues that he is not guilty by reason of celebrity. It remains to be seen whether he can be saved . . . A smart satire of our absurd culture, The Funny Man documents one individual’s slide from everyman to monster—even as it reveals the potential for grace and mercy in his life.
the funny man
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“Her complexion was as though she had been immersed in a mixture of one part whisky and three parts white wine. (Would she have tasted like the cocktail as well? I don’t know, sir.) Her eyes, nose, lips and ears had all had their own pretty little stories to tell. Together, the sum total told a gargantuan story. Her hair was darker than the road under her feet and was oozing out of her cap like a cascade of crude oil. Her figure was like that of a balloon that was on a diet, if balloons dieted at all, and then tied in the middle with a string.” “Aren’t you a little too young to be acting funny with me?” What?? I saw that the silly girl had got it all wrong. The situation needed correction on an emergency basis. I immediately started nodding my head to convey to her that I indeed was younger than her but realised that the second part of the question about acting funny needed shaking of the head. So, I stopped the nodding halfway through and took up the shaking. This was a cross between nothing and nothing. I ended up making a complete fool of myself. The girl was getting impatient and had no time for my antics.” “To sit in the beautiful garden with a glass of chilled beer whenever a drizzle the size and sharpness of pine needles came down from the sky to ever-so-lightly caress us to the accompaniment of mournful songs from the HMV record player that was in the barracks was heaven on the Earth. Lord, did we savour the moments so very thoroughly! Nostalgia threatens to drown me as I relive those days sitting in my upright chair at home now”
A hilarious picture book biography about Max Patkin, a professional ballplayer turned legendary baseball clown, from the author of the acclaimed Brothers at Bat and other baseball nonfiction. Max Patkin was pitching in the minor leagues when he was injured and had to leave his dreams behind. He joined the Navy and eventually was able to play again while in the military . . . and this time he got to pitch against superstar Joe DiMaggio. When Joe hit one of Max’s throws out of the park, Max threw down his glove, left the mound, and chased Joe around the bases, making faces and imitating his every move. The crowd loved it! And a baseball clown was born. This inspiring and comical biography carries an important message: Life doesn’t always turn out exactly as you hope . . . but moving in a new direction can sometimes bring happy surprises.
Here is a kaleidoscopic analysis of Jewish humor as seen through Funnyman, a little-known super-heroic invention by the creators of Superman. Included are complete comic-book stories and daily and Sunday newspaper panels from Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s creative fiasco. Siegel and Shuster, two Jewish teenagers from Cleveland, sold the rights to their amazing and astonishingly lucrative comic book superhero to Detective Comics for $130 in 1938. Not only did they lose the ownership of the Superman character, they also agreed to write and illustrate it for ten years at ten dollars per page. Their contract with the DC publishers was soon heralded as the most foolish agreement in the history of American popular culture. After toiling on workman’s wages for a decade, Siegel and Shuster struggled to come up with a new superhero, one that would right their wrongs and prove that justice, fair-play, and zany craftsmanship was the true American way and would lead to ultimate victory. But when the naïve duo launched their new comic character Funnyman in 1947, it failed miserably. All the turmoil and personal disasters in Siegel and Shuster’s postwar life percolated into the comic strip. This book tells the back story of the unsuccessful strip and Siegel and Shuster’s ambition to have their funny Jewish superhero trump Superman. Mel Gordon is the author of Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin. Thomas Andrae is the author of Batman and Me.
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created two superheroes. One is Superman. The other is Funnyman, and this book details his amazing back story. Inside find reproductions from Funnyman, s rare comic books, Sunday funnies and daily strips. Revealed by authors Andrae and Gordon: The actual living model for Superman. The creation of Jewish humor and the cultural origins of Funnyman. Why a strange comic superhero emerged at the time of the creation of the state of Israel.
A deeply textured and compelling biography of comedy giant Mel Brooks, covering his rags-to-riches life and triumphant career in television, films, and theater, from Patrick McGilligan, the acclaimed author of Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane and Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light. Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy award–winner Mel Brooks was behind (and sometimes in front the camera too) of some of the most influential comedy hits of our time, including The 2,000 Year Old Man, Get Smart, The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. But before this actor, writer, director, comedian, and composer entertained the world, his first audience was his family. The fourth and last child of Max and Kitty Kaminsky, Mel Brooks was born on his family’s kitchen table in Brooklyn, New York, in 1926, and was not quite three-years-old when his father died of tuberculosis. Growing up in a household too poor to own a radio, Mel was short and homely, a mischievous child whose birth role was to make the family laugh. Beyond boyhood, after transforming himself into Mel Brooks, the laughs that came easily inside the Kaminsky family proved more elusive. His lifelong crusade to transform himself into a brand name of popular humor is at the center of master biographer Patrick McGilligan’s Funny Man. In this exhaustively researched and wonderfully novelistic look at Brooks’ personal and professional life, McGilligan lays bare the strengths and drawbacks that shaped Brooks’ psychology, his willpower, his persona, and his comedy. McGilligan insightfully navigates the epic ride that has been the famous funnyman’s life story, from Brooks’s childhood in Williamsburg tenements and breakthrough in early television—working alongside Sid Caesar and Carl Reiner—to Hollywood and Broadway peaks (and valleys). His book offers a meditation on the Jewish immigrant culture that influenced Brooks, snapshots of the golden age of comedy, behind the scenes revelations about the celebrated shows and films, and a telling look at the four-decade romantic partnership with actress Anne Bancroft that superseded Brooks’ troubled first marriage. Engrossing, nuanced and ultimately poignant, Funny Man delivers a great man’s unforgettable life story and an anatomy of the American dream of success. Funny Man includes a 16-page black-and-white photo insert.
Losing her husband Dennis unexpectedly in 2011, at the young age of 47, Debra was faced with handling grief in the only way she knew how, with strength, grace and much laughter. Debra worked through her tears by posting to her husband each day (for one year) on a social media website after his passing. She credits her “seeing the light of day” by sharing funny stories of their time together and walking through the pain, not alone, but with her ever growing unshakeable faith in God and the resounding love of many who have taken this journey each day with her. Through her stories, her daily blog (thehappywidow.com) and her posts she has used her distinctively unique humor, desire to honor the love of her life, and her ability to “tell it like it is” to inspire, lift, and encourage others in a way seldom seen. “Losing the one you love suddenly is like being put on a roller coaster ride (and I have always hated those). You rise slowly, fall fast, hold on for dear life, and scream not so nice words that you hope those around you didn’t hear. But when you get off this ride, while you may not want to buy another ticket, you are so proud of yourself for just being able to say you let go, threw your hands in the air the entire time and you indeed lived through it.” You will laugh, you will cry, at time you will pray you never personally know how she truly feels, but after you read this book that was written to her sweet husband Dennis and for her children Timothy and Sarah, you will believe that just maybe there is a way to face death and come out smiling.
In a world where frustration and sadness seem to be the norm, The Funny Guy breaks the mold. The comic strip focuses on a young man and his everyday situations, which become comical. The cartoons main character (Fun) is a modern-day Charlie Chaplin! His days begin normal and end hilarious! And the people he interacts with each day represent every walk of life. From a pushy landlord, a quick-to-write-a-ticket traffic cop, and a slang-talking hobo. The Funny Guy is a cartoon in which every personno matter what race, age, or religioncan appreciate and enjoy.