Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Top ten books about comedians

William Cook's books about comedy include: Ha Bloody Ha - Comedians Talking (Fourth Estate); The Comedy Store - The Club That Changed British Comedy (Little, Brown); Tragically I Was An Only Twin - The Complete Peter Cook, and Goodbye Again - The Definitive Peter Cook & Dudley Moore (both published by Century); 25 Years of Viz (Boxtree), Eric Morecambe Unseen - The Lost Diaries, Jokes & Photographs (HarperCollins), and Morecambe & Wise Untold (HarperCollins).

In 2006 he named his top ten books about comedians for the Guardian. One title on the list:
That Was the Satire That Was by Humphrey Carpenter (Victor Gollancz, 2000); US title: A Great, Silly Grin: The British Satire Boom of the 1960s

The biographer of Jesus Christ and Dennis Potter scrutinises the 1960s satire boom, in a book that almost doubles as a biography of Peter Cook. As Carpenter points out, the four cornerstones of 60s satire were the stage show Beyond The Fringe, the private members club The Establishment, the periodical Private Eye and the TV series That Was The Week That Was (TW3). Cook was the star of Beyond The Fringe, the founder of The Establishment and the owner of Private Eye, and the only reason he wasn't all over TW3 was because he was busy performing Beyond The Fringe on Broadway when it started.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue