Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy

Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy

by Phyllis Diller
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Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy by Phyllis Diller

You think I’m overdressed? This is my slip!

No, I’m going to tell you the truth about what I’m wearing.

I used to work as a lampshade in a whorehouse.

I couldn’t get one of the good jobs.
 From housewife to humorist, Phyllis Diller made millions laugh for over five decades with her groundbreaking comedy. Boasting unique material, a raucous laugh, wild hair, the trademark cigarette holder, and garish clothes, this pioneer blazed a trail for comediennes during the fifties and sixties, leading them out of small dives into the kinds of top venues that had previously played host only to their male counterparts. While her routine broke new ground and opened doors to subsequent generations of female standups, it also served as a form of self-therapy amid a life steeped in tragedy and turmoil.

                Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse is Phyllis Diller’s own story about the struggle and the pain behind the comedy and the success: her Depression-era adolescence; her marriage to the chronically unemployed husband who inspired her most famous comic character, Fang; her desperate attempts to stave off poverty as a professional comic while raising five children; the disastrous club engagements that coincided with homelessness and separation from her young family; and the problems that clouded her stage and screen success when a second marriage unraveled because of her new spouse’s alcoholism and inner demons.

                Over fifty years after Diller’s professional debut as a standup comic, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse describes her separate careers as an artist and as a piano soloist with symphony orchestras; her failed attempts to become a Playboy centerfold; and her outspoken attitude toward her extensive plastic surgery that earned her a special award from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. It’s quite a story.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781585424764
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/16/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 325,173
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.93(h) x 0.82(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Phyllis Diller, the world’s first and foremost female standup comic, entertained audiences for over half a century with her pioneering, often self-penned material, zany looks, and trademark laugh in countless stage, film, and television appearances.

Richard Buskin is the New York Times-bestselling author of more than a dozen books. His articles have appeared in newspapers such as the New York Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Observer, and The Independent. A native of London, he lives in Chicago.

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Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is both a serious and humorous memoir of Phyllis Diller's life as she worked to become one of the first successful female comediennes. We all remember her as the hilarious lady with the crazy hair and clothes who complained about her husband, "Fang," but this book goes in depth to explain her insecure childhood and how by reading a certain inspiring self-help book she began to believe in herself and fulfill her dreams. The text is interspersed with all of her zany jokes and details her life in the '50s and '60s from her early gigs at the Purple Onion in SF to her acts in Miami and Vegas and on TV with Jack Paar and Bob Hope. She even describes all of her plastic surgery and also tugs at your heartstrings when she tells of her failed marriages, her crises with death, and the loss of two of her children. But, she explains how her comedy got her through all the tough times and teaches you to see the glass as always half-full. Some parts were a little overly detailed, but it was a good read.
mooneyd7 More than 1 year ago
I don't know why people are rating this low because they're saying it's depressing. This is probably one of the move inspiring books I've ever read. she doesn't sugar coat anything that happened in her life. This is a woman who had depressing, miserable circumstances in her late 30s, and totally turned it around to become an icon. In her later life, despite all the injustices that have happened to her, she was one of the happiest, most positive people. Reading this book has been transformational to me. Before reading this book, I was kind of depressed, and I thought that it was too late in life to do anything great. After reading  Like a Lampshade, I've turned a new page in my own life and made some really great changes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a very honest and depressing autobiography. She went into excrutiating detail of her truly horrible families and mentioned every petty hurt and injustice done by anyone. The good friends, such as Bob Hope, were one-dimensional and briefly mentioned. The jokes interspersed in the book were jarring and didn't mesh with the tone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Phyllis Diller said: "I'm just a comic" and smiled. It would have been a lighter and more interesting book if that were the emphasis. Her husband and family members were tossed about unfairly in the book. If the emphasis had been on her work, her line of expertise, this book would not have slipped into the lower realm of today's popular interest in sad stories. There are untruths, serious untruths here. She was quite elderly and easily influenced by styles. Sherwood, for instance, was not chronically unemployed. Alot of confusion. In her earlier reporting, if people were bold enough to ask about things that were private, you would have received positive, helpful, happy, upbeat statements from her. Shame.
PhDrSeuss More than 1 year ago
this book is real funny. i can remember her from watchin tv when i was a child and even then laffin. Like A Lampshade In A Whorehose tells bout the life of comedienne phyllis diller who's now in her early 90's. the jokes that are stated ---- OMG. they had me laffin. she went thru a life of things i didnt expect. i love the way she tells bout her life & the jokes/remarks are included (especially her jokes about fang & how this character came about). amazin how 1 can go from entertainer to artist (especially when it comes to her). i see why her oneliners are so funny. there arent that many entertainers that can away with and do such jokes like that today. she is one of a kind and is still kickin it (and funny). so 4 a good laff this is the book.