The Legacy of the Wisecrack: Stand-up Comedy as the Great American Literary Form

Universal-Publishers
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Despite the claim of many a Borscht Belt comic that he is a practitioner of "the world's second-oldest professsion," stand-up comedy is a young and distinctly American literary form. It was not until the last decades of the nineteenth century when, enabled by unprecedented prosperity and the right to free expression, that monologists began appearing in American vaudeville halls. Yet even though it has since become an entertainment industry mainstay, stand-up comedy has received precious little scholarly attention. The Legacy of the Wisecrack: Stand-up Comedy as the Great American Literary Form looks at the theory of stand-up comedy, its literary dimensions, and its distinctly American qualities as it provides a detailed history of the forces that shaped it. The study concludes with a look at the works of specific comedians such as Steven Wright, whose three decades of performances comprise a single picaresque tale, and Richard Pryor, whose 1982 masterpiece Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip serves as modern America's answer to Dante Aligheri's epic poem, Inferno. The result is one of the first serious treatments of stand-up comedy as a literary form.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Universal-Publishers
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Published on
Dec 31, 2009
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Pages
236
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ISBN
9781599424958
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / American / General
Literary Criticism / Humor
Performing Arts / Comedy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times • Newsday • Esquire • NPR • Booklist

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Praise for Born a Crime

 “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“[An] unforgettable memoir.”—Parade

 “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today

“[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People

“[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”—Booklist (starred review)

“A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”—Kirkus Reviews
The riveting, mega-bestselling, beloved and highly acclaimed memoir of a man, a vocation, and an era named one of the ten best nonfiction titles of the year by Time and Entertainment Weekly.

In the mid-seventies, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. This book is, in his own words, the story of “why I did stand-up and why I walked away.”

Emmy and Grammy Award–winner, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been a writer. His memoir of his years in stand-up is candid, spectacularly amusing, and beautifully written.

At age ten Martin started his career at Disneyland, selling guidebooks in the newly opened theme park. In the decade that followed, he worked in the Disney magic shop and the Bird Cage Theatre at Knott’s Berry Farm, performing his first magic/comedy act a dozen times a week. The story of these years, during which he practiced and honed his craft, is moving and revelatory. The dedication to excellence and innovation is formed at an astonishingly early age and never wavers or wanes.

Martin illuminates the sacrifice, discipline, and originality that made him an icon and informs his work to this day. To be this good, to perform so frequently, was isolating and lonely. It took Martin decades to reconnect with his parents and sister, and he tells that story with great tenderness. Martin also paints a portrait of his times—the era of free love and protests against the war in Vietnam, the heady irreverence of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late sixties, and the transformative new voice of Saturday Night Live in the seventies.

Throughout the text, Martin has placed photographs, many never seen before. Born Standing Up is a superb testament to the sheer tenacity, focus, and daring of one of the greatest and most iconoclastic comedians of all time.
CAN I GET A “RAMEN” FROM THE CONGREGATION?!

Behold the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), today’s fastest growing carbohydrate-based religion. According to church founder Bobby Henderson, the universe and all life within it were created by a mystical and divine being: the Flying Spaghetti Monster. What drives the FSM’s devout followers, a.k.a. Pastafarians? Some say it’s the assuring touch from the FSM’s “noodly appendage.” Then there are those who love the worship service, which is conducted in pirate talk and attended by congregants in dashing buccaneer garb. Still others are drawn to the Church’s flimsy moral standards, religious holidays every Friday, or the fact that Pastafarian heaven is way cooler: Does your heaven have a Stripper Factory and a Beer Volcano? Intelligent Design has finally met its match–and it has nothing to do with apes or the Olive Garden of Eden.

Within these pages, Bobby Henderson outlines the true facts– dispelling such malicious myths as evolution (“only a theory”), science (“only a lot of theories”), and whether we’re really descended from apes (fact: Humans share 95 percent of their DNA with chimpanzees, but they share 99.9 percent with pirates!)
See what impressively credentialed top scientists have to say:

“If Intelligent Design is taught in schools, equal time should be given to the FSM theory and the non-FSM theory.”
–Professor Douglas Shaw, Ph.D.

“Do not be hypocritical. Allow equal time for other alternative ‘theories’ like FSMism, which is by far the tastier choice.”
–J. Simon, Ph.D.

“In my scientific opinion, when comparing the two theories, FSM theory seems to be more valid than classic ID theory.”
–Afshin Beheshti, Ph.D.

Read the book and decide for yourself!


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Billions of you have watched their videos and millions of you have followed them on social media.

So here we go; it's time to back up because YouTube superstars, The Sidemen, are finally here in book form and they're dishing the dirt on each other as well as the YouTube universe.

There's nowhere to hide as KSI, Miniminter, Behzinga, Zerkaa,Vikkstar123, Wroetoshaw and Tobjizzle go in hard on their living habits, their football ability, and their dodgy clobber, while also talking Fifa, Vegas and superheroes. They'll also give you their grand house tour, letting you in on a few secrets, before showing you their hall of fame, as well as revealing some of their greatest shames.

Along the way you'll learn how seven of the world's biggest YouTube stars started off with nothing more than a computer console, a PC and a bad haircut before joining forces to crush the internet. And they'll tell you just how they did it (because they're nice like that) with their ultimate guide to YouTube while also sharing their memories of recording their favourite videos as well as a typical day in the life of The Sidemen.

You'll feel like you're with them every step of the way, smelling the 'sweet' aroma of the boys' favourite dishes in the kitchen, stamping your passport as you follow them on their trips around the world and kicking every ball as the boys gear up for the biggest football match of their lives.

It's going to get personal. It's going to get intense, and JJ is going to have lots of tantrums, so take a moment to prepare yourself, because this is The Sidemen book you've been waiting for!

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