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Articles - Comedy Books

Monty Python - comedy books and comic longevity.

Comedy books are a good way to judge if a group, such as Monty Python, is going to stick around after a split up. Monty Python is without a doubt the most famous British humor (they spell it humour) group around and, strangely enough, the only British, English humor group to have successfully crossed the ocean (the pond as they say). Monty Python's humor is perhaps an acquired taste for some or contains The Meaning of Life for others but in their time they were as big as The Simpsons are now. You think Ellen DeGeneres or The Simpsons is on tv every day? Monty Python or Monty Python's Flying Circus is on on some channel, in some state or province or country right now. Only The Simpsons can say that. Monty Python is for you if you like comedy books (almost all of the movies or the tv show have one or two books about it or associated to it) and is really, really for you if you like funny video clips. Monty Python, whose members met on one of the many British radio comedy shows, quickly moved on to television in a 30-minute funny video clips format. Short, funny video clips about strange things like the Ministry of Silly Walks or buying a dead parrot from a pet shop. Some say Monty Python represents the best and most universal aspect of humor or comedy from England. That is probably true. Check out the many comedy books associated with Monty Python, there are about as many as books associated to The Simpsons and much more than the two books written by Ellen DeGeneres (you should also check out her cd Taste This), or the one and only book about Ellen DeGeneres. You will notice that all Monty Python books, DVDs, and so on all have the same kind of funny pictures, strange offbeat illustrations. It is their signature, much like The Simpsons are unique because of their strange yet universal skin tone, Homer's combover, and Marge's hilarious blue hair.

Perhaps you want to know more about your favorite comedian. Comedy books are a good way to search for that kind of information. Most famous comics, such as George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Garrison Keillor (perhaps not a comedian buy definitely a funny guy) have written or released some kind of comedy book, and that also includes, or course, Ellen Degeneres. Comedy books by Cosby tend to be similar to his material and talk about his family, his life and his way of seeing things. Comedy books by George Carlin are there sarcasm, cynicism, and a dark yet funny outlook on life can be found; defenitely not the kind of stuff you will find on The Simpsons although a careful review of some The Simpsons shows, cartoon books, funny video clips in some of their "greatest hits" shows will reveal to those who pay attention the same kind of dark take on society Carlin is associated with. Comedy books can also be useful if you are depressed: there's nothing quite like look at a few funny pictures from The Far Side, Close to Home, or Bizarro to make you feel better about yourself. Humor and comedy are good remedies for what ails you. If you really want something offbeat, really, really different, try watching one of Monty Python's movies or compilations of their tv shows (also known as Monty Python's Flying Circus).

Then again, maybe you like to read funny stuff after a hard day at work or want to become a comedian (not a professional, just a funny guy or gal to be around with) Comedy books are a good start. Comedy books include such categories as joke books, books of funny quotes (why quote Homer when you can quote Homer Simpson), and books about funny people either biographies (even at her young age there is a biography about Ellen DeGeneres available) or books by those funny people such as Bill Cosby, Drew Carey, Jeff Foxworthy or Garrison Keillor. If life is really beating you down, watching funny video clips on tv or on compilation DVDs or maybe on the net are a good way to remind yourself that, like that stupid, funny song says, "Life Goes On".

Finally, if you are looking for an interesting book about comedy in general, a good bet, believe it or not, is "The Road to Mars" by Monty Python alumni Eric Idle. It sounds like a sci-fi book and looks like a sci-fi book but in many ways it is Idle's version of what is comedy and the history of comedy. An interesting read.

Richard Lanoie



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