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Mirth of a Nation: The Best Contemporary Humor

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2005

    An all-star literary cast

    This anthology's contributors roster is a Who's Who of contemporary humorists: Dave Barry, Garrison Keillor, Merrill Markoe, Al Franken, Dave Barry, P. J. O'Rourke, Garry Trudeau, Jon Stewart, Christopher Buckley, Fran Leibowitz, David Sedaris, even John Updike. Not every piece is laugh-out-loud funny, but there are plenty of stitch busters in here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2003

    Seriously Funny, no kidding

    Humor books are usually miscellaneous hodge- podges of 'something for everybody.' This one is not. It's a sustained compilation of great writing. Writing by very talented people who are variously smart-alec, smart-assed. and just plain smart. That's the one thing that's similiar about all the pieces: they're just very well done. After that, there's a huge range, from Sedaris's hilariously scatching review of kiddie theatrical productions to Garry Trudeau's re- re-retranslating of a Madonna interview back and forth from Russian. There are as many expected players--Ian Frazier, Fran Lebowitz, Dave Barry, P.J. O'Rourke with terrific pieces--as there are surprises and newer names. Favorites? Howard Mohr (who worked with Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion for years), John Updike doing a parody about J. Edgar Hoover cross-dressing. David Ives, the brilliant playwright, giving a culinary history through philosophers. Even the index, by Al Franken, shows that Mirth of a Nation is serious about being funny, from cover to cover. I have the second volume, More Mirth of a Nation, and, believe it or not, it's even better. Thirds, anyone? I gather from their website it will be out in 2004. Can't wait.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2000

    Satire and wit galore

    I read Mirth of a Nation and came away thinking I knew something: there are a lot of smartalecks getting paid for this. It was a very funny read and was a good introduction to some of the more noted humorists today, like Dave Barry and P.J. O'Rourke. And there are so many subjects covered, or uncovered, or however the writers decided to eviscerate our tabloid world.

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