Make em Laugh: The Fun­ny Busi­ness of America

Lau­rence Maslon and Michael Kantor
  • Review
By – January 10, 2012
Com­e­dy in Amer­i­ca dates back more than five cen­turies, so it’s amaz­ing com­e­dy chron­i­clers Lau­rence Maslon and Michael Kan­tor were able to suc­cess­ful­ly dis­till it into six dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories. 

Despite the advanced age of Amer­i­can com­e­dy, the come­di­ans and their craft high­light­ed in the tome date back to Char­lie Chap­lin, not Christo­pher Columbus. 

Com­ple­ment­ed by both black and white and col­or pho­tos depict­ing the come­di­ans per­form­ing some of their famous acts, this work is a trea­sure over­flow­ing with the wit and wis­dom of name after name of famous Amer­i­can performers. 

The authors’ metic­u­lous research ensures read­ers can not only envi­sion the var­i­ous per­for­mances and humor of the count­less sub­jects dis­cussed in the book, they can also relive their best per­for­mances by read­ing the actu­al scripts of those time­less moments. Ever felt like reliv­ing Abbott and Costello’s Who’s on First?’ but couldn’t remem­ber the words? Undoubt­ed­ly, at some point in your life, you saw Bob Hope on tele­vi­sion, deliv­er­ing his one-line zingers, but today, you can’t even recall the first word of his some­times humor­ous, often cheesy ditties. 

This book’s got that, and more. 

While at near­ly 400 pages Make Em Laugh is incred­i­bly thor­ough, sur­pris­ing­ly, the name of at least one icon of Amer­i­can com­e­dy did not war­rant any ink. 

Just where is Jack­ie Mason, I implore the authors. Leav­ing him out of this book was decid­ed­ly not funny.
Tami Kamin-Mey­er is a licensed attor­ney who would rather write than fight. Her byline has appeared in a vari­ety of pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing Bet­ter Homes and Gar­dens, The Rotar­i­an, Ohio Super Lawyers, Ohio Lawyers Week­ly, Ohio Mag­a­zine, Cleve­land Jew­ish News, the Jew­ish Tele­graph­ic Agency, and www​.chabad​.edu. She is also an award-win­ning Hebrew school educator.

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