First of Dismay

Neil Hamburger

First of Dismay
Drag City

By John Wenzel

Pinpointing what makes Hamburger so compelling is part of the fun. Is it his carnie inflection? His abusive, unpredictable rage and profanity? His spot-on critiques of consumer culture that have made him a must-follow on Twitter? Ultimately it’s all in service of the mood he creates.

poking a dead frog

Mike Sacks

Poking a Dead Frog
Penguin Books

By Nick A. Zaino III

Comedy writing is the cohesive thread throughout the book, but it can be read and enjoyed by any comedy fan. Sacks sets his history, he’s done his research, and he has pulled some wonderful detail from his subjects.

mating season

Shane Mauss

Mating Season
New Wave Dynamics

By Elise Czajkowski

Mauss’s hour is intended as a themed hour on the animalistic nature of humans. It’s hard not to appreciate the attempt at cohesion and a greater story, but the material doesn’t quite live up to framework.

Small, Dork and Handsome

Myq Kaplan

Small, Dork, and Handsome
New Wave Dynamics

By Daniel Berkowitz

Kaplan proves himself more than just a linguist deft at manipulating meaning; he’s able to take common items and everyday thoughts and concoct alternative theories that spring from a grain or two of truth and are magnificent to behold simply for the logic in which they’re grounded.

700 sundays

Billy Crystal

700 Sundays
HBO

By Josh Bell

Crystal’s account of his Long Island childhood is a flood of hokey nostalgia and emotional manipulation, diluting his undoubtedly genuine feelings (including his grief over the death of his father when he was 15) into so much shtick.

 
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