Download Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-up in the 1970s Changed by Richard Zoglin PDF

By Richard Zoglin

What Peter Biskind did for filmmaking, Time magazine critic Richard Zoglin does for comedy during this meticulously researched and hilariously readable account of stand-up comedy within the Nineteen Seventies.

In the rock-and-roll Seventies, a brand new breed of comedian, encouraged by means of the fearless Lenny Bruce, made telling jokes an paintings shape. leading edge comedians like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Robert Klein, and, later, Steve Martin, Albert Brooks, Robin Williams, and Andy Kaufman, tore in the course of the nation and have become as colossal as rock stars in an period while Saturday evening stay was the apotheosis of cool and the Improv, seize a emerging megastar, and the Comedy shop have been the most popular golf equipment round. In Comedy on the Edge, Richard Zoglin provides a behind the curtain view of the time, while a gaggle of great, iconoclastic comedians governed the world—and rather in all probability replaced it, too. in keeping with broad interviews with membership proprietors, brokers, producers—and with remarkable and limitless entry to the avid gamers themselves—Comedy on the area is a no-holdsbarred, behind-the-scenes examine the most influential and tumultuous a long time in American pop culture.

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Additional info for Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-up in the 1970s Changed America

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The premise: western movies spend lots of time showing us how the cowboys get ready for an attack, but we never see how the Indians prepare. Carlin then becomes the battle-hardened, New York-accented Indian sergeant, trying to whip the troops into shape: All right, tall guys over by the trees, fat guys down behind the rocks—you with the beads, outta line . . There'll be a massacre tonight at nine o'clock. We'll meet down by the bonfire, dance around a little, and move out. This will be the fourth straight night we've attacked the fort.

This is their story. CHAPTER 1 After Lenny If God made the body and the body is dirty, the fault lies with the manufacturer. —Lenny Bruce The police paddy wagon was a fitting place for two comedy renegades—one under siege for his "obscene" material, the other just along for the ride—to run into each other. Lenny Bruce and George Carlin had met before. Indeed, Bruce had played an important role in the younger comedian's early career. When Carlin was still a radio DJ in Los Angeles, developing a comedy act with his drive-time partner, Jack Burns, Bruce came to see them at a Hollywood coffeehouse called Cosmo Alley and liked them well enough to get his talent agency to sign the team.

Klein, by the end of the '70s, had stopped releasing albums and was doing Broadway. Kaufman, whose performance art stunts were growing more bizarre and self-destructive, died of cancer in 1984. Only Carlin, of the era's major innovators, kept his stand-up career going at full speed into the '80s, '90s, and beyond. Television, meanwhile, was luring away the best and brightest of the younger comics who might have replaced them. Starting in the mid-'70s, when comics like Freddie Prinze and Jimmie Walker became sitcom stars, and accelerating in the 1980s with the success of The Cosby Show, TV producers and network execs began scouring the clubs for comedians whose material and comic persona could be repurposed for prime time.

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