As an avid reader, it takes a lot for me to love a book, so The Comedians, by Kliph Nesteroff, let’s just say, has taken me hostage.
His hefty book denting your lap…357 pages, reads like a brush fire only revealing facts one would wish to know. This is big for me as a reader finding incessant data boring, especially if the humanity is absent. Mr. Nesteroff skillfully knows when to fish and cut bait.
Comedy is hard enough without being judged for your nuclear origins.
And we mustn’t forget the women: Jean Carroll, Phyllis Diller, Totie Fields, Gracie Allen and Joan Rivers who brake their own color line in a business men dominated with little give.
Then the mob moseys in muscling on all the profits. If you didn’t play nice you didn’t work, not because of lack of opportunity, but because you no longer had a face to work with. Just ask the ghost of comic Joe E. Lewis if you don’t believe me.
Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl and Jonathan Winters were considered trailblazers.
The Comedians, page 166…The generation that followed would cite Bruce, Sahl and Winters their primary inspiration. Lenny Bruce led to George Carlin, Mort Sahl led to Woody Allen. Jonathan Winters led to Robin Williams….They created a new approach to stand-up. They were the New Wave.
Growing up with late night in the wake of Carson, Letterman and Leno, learning where the seeds were planted and bodies buried heightens a very special genre.
You’ll be fascinated by the lore, where it began, the path it took and once more confirming, if a comic gets a break, he more than justly earned it.