Not people who wasted their one and only life sitting alone in front of a computer trying to think up jokes, in the vain hope, not of fame or fortune let’s not be silly, but someday, maybe, if they’re lucky, making it onto someone’s list of… Now just because your dreams are microscopically small doesn’t mean you’re going to get them, and we’re all responsible for our own shitty career choices, I know that.
It’s a free-ish country, and if I want to pretend it’s still 1947, that’s between me and what I laughingly call “my bank account.” But imagine if a list of “The Ultimate Standup” was limited to You Tubed readings by David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell.
Go back and read what people said about Sid Caesar. TL; DR: print humor is a treasure trove, and comedy fans should explore it widely and deeply, especially if they harbor ambitions in the field.Of the three, Benchley feels the most contemporary, probably thanks to Dave Barry. The Library of America has a lovely edition, one every Thurber fan should have. I always feel like I’m reading the same book, but it’s a good book, so I don’t mind too much. Wodehouse’s great achievement was to create a world utterly without consequence; as such it is a very cozy, and frequently hilarious place to be. I myself prefer Terry Southern, but I find his short stories and journalism more compelling than his novels, which feel dated and overwritten.SJ Perelman has not aged well — his florid vocab and focus on now-ancient pop culture makes him difficult to get through. Definitely for the PBS set, but if you can establish the right frame of mind, there’s nothing better. And I feel obliged to mention Peter De Vries out of fecundity alone — but those of you who find that dusty might be more pleased with someone like Mark Leyner, Christopher Moore or Tom Perrotta. Great style, and an important cultural document, too. Calvin Trillin’s solid all the way down, if a little quiet.If you’re plumbing the depths of college humor, you’re probably interested in comedy history.There’s really one book that I recommend in this regard, and it’s one on Splitsider’s earlier list: Tony Hendra’s , he’s absolutely magisterial when it comes to describing the changes which occurred in comedy from 1965-80.