How Many Surrealists Does It Take to Screw in a Lightbulb? or, Why did the Intellectual Cross the Road and Walk into a Bar?: A collection of over 1,000 cartoons, jokes, and epigrams for the over-educated and cognitively curious (yes, that means you!) as compiled and for the most part understood by John Howard Towsen, Ph.D
John’s most recent book, Clowns, came out 39 years ago, so he figured it was high time for another. Yes, he really does have a Ph.D. (drama, NYU) —which will no doubt come as a surprise to some of his friends— as well as an NEH fellowship and a Fulbright. He grew up in New York City’s Greenwich Village, where he still lives and had his first exposure to laugh-so-hard-it-hurts comedy when he saw Danny Kaye on the big screen, probably in The Court Jester (1955). A few days after his 7th birthday he made his live television debut in a comedy sketch with Red Skelton and Jackie Gleason on The Red Skelton Show. He subsequently acted in dozens of television shows and commercials, working alongside such names as Gary Moore, Julie Andrews, Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, Edie Adams, Myrna Loy, Claudette Colbert, Robert Preston, Tab Hunter, Sid Caesar, Ed Wynn, Claude Rains, Charlie Ruggles, Walter Slezak, Kate Smith, Shirley Booth, Sam Levenson, Margaret Hamilton, Patty Duke, and Joseph Papp. In his twenties he returned to show biz, this time somehow eking out a living in the world of clown and physical comedy, from the schools of Long Island to the circus sands of Saskatchewan, Saudi Arabia, and points in between, most of it with partner Fred Yockers. He was artistic director for the first two New York international clown-theatre festivals (1983, 1985) and has taught full-length physical comedy courses at Princeton University, Ohio University, and the Juilliard School, plus innumerable shorter workshops in numerous countries. Former students include Laura Linney, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Andre Braugher, Michael Hayden, and Michael Stuhlbarg. His latest research on physical comedy is to be found on his blog: physicalcomedy.blogspot.com. In other parallel lives he taught theatre, multimedia, and digital video in the Creative Arts & Technology program at Bloomfield College for 26 years, and spent many a summer working for the Open Society Institute doing media training for activists in hot spots across the globe.
Zany. Whacky. Hilarious (Apollinaire-ious?) More than twenty years in the making, author Towsen generously shares his collection of jokes, funny stories, cartoons, limericks, wise sayings, poems, and more. He gives us favorite knock-knock jokes and screw in the lightbulb jokes but, drawing from such creative minds as Mark Twain, Noel Coward, Albert Einstein, Bill Watterson, Leo Cullum, and Groucho Marx, also covers a whole range of subject matter—the meaning of art, mental balance (or was that imbalance?), language and literature, writing, math and science, history, technology, etc. This is definitely a prerequisite for the next history of the world book, so get your copy now (or, better yet, get several; they’re small and make great graduation gifts, just because gifts, or un-birthday presents). In just a few hours you can become smarter and funnier than the guy next door, so how can you resist?
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A fantastically funny collection of jokes and cartoons, some you will know, many will surprise you, it is a hilariously funny collection, well worth reading and then keeping on your shelf to read it again!
Available wherever good books are sold! (And on Amazon.)