For friends and extended family of “the most legendary comic club there ever was.”

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MAKE 'EM LAUGH

35 YEARS OF THE COMIC STRIP, THE GREATEST COMEDY CLUB OF ALL TIME!

Brief, repetitive interviews with comedians recalling the club that gave them their starts.

Consider this a vanity project commemorating the 35th year of the Comic Strip in Manhattan (a milestone it passed in 2011), with the club’s owner (Tienken) credited as co-author, leaving the questioning and transcribing to comedy writer Gurian (co-author: Filthy, Funny and Totally Offensive, 2007). Comedians who cut their teeth at the club still feel a great allegiance to it, so the authors have access to some of the biggest names in comedy, including Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Chris Rock and Ray Romano. (Conspicuously absent is Eddie Murphy, though Tienken’s long association as his manager receives frequent mentions.) While the interviews provide a cumulative sense of what it takes to make the leap from comedy clubs to bigger projects, as well as how a comedian might get his foot in the door in the first place (perseverance would seem to be a key, and being very funny helps), there are few laughs along the way and lots of instances of the same old names. Part of the problem is the question-and-answer format, with most of the interviews starting with some version of, “What year did you start performing comedy and what are your earliest memories of The Comic Strip?”—and ending with, “Tell me about Richie Tienken.” Seinfeld says of the club, “They were happy to have us, we were happy to have them, and we were one, big happy family.” George Wallace says Seinfeld is “the nicest guy in the world.” Gilbert Gottfried, the only one who refuses to play it straight (and, thus, the funniest), says, “Seinfeld was the star of The Comic Strip. And it seemed like 99 percent of the comedians who were Comic Strip regulars would talk exactly like him…even the girls.” Among other revelations, the family of Chris Rock knows him as “Chrissy.” Toward the end, there’s also an interview with the club’s landlord, who says that he’s been to “only one” show there: “I have a feeling I must have missed some of the highlights.”

For friends and extended family of “the most legendary comic club there ever was.”

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-62087-074-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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