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Funny Ladies: 100 Years of Great Comediennes…

Funny Ladies: 100 Years of Great Comediennes

by Stephen M. Silverman

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0810933373, Hardcover)

Funny Ladies is a terrific look at, you guessed it, funny women ranging from radio and silent film stars right up through Absolutely Fabulous and Janeane Garofalo. Each subject gets a brief bio and a discussion of her unique performance style and career highlights. (Be sure to keep a pad and pencil by your side to jot down titles for the inevitable rush to the video store.) Author Stephen M. Silverman is even-handed in his approach, including stand-up comics like Moms Mabley, comic actresses like Madeline Kahn, and actresses who weren't necessarily identified as comediennes but nevertheless turned in brilliant comic performances, like Myrna Loy. Though never a performer, Algonquin wit Dorothy Parker gets her much-deserved due as well. The book is richly punctuated with black-and-white photos, both of the dewily pretty and the appropriately loony varieties. The author explores contrasts--attractive women who play ugly, smart women who play dumb, and sophisticated ladies who enjoy tearing up the joint, but Silverman also has a clear appreciation for women who achieve a perfect realization of their own natural type. Mercifully, Funny Ladies never makes the mistake of psychoanalyzing its subjects, though a certain shared feistiness of spirit is definitely in evidence. Don't worry about this being a gender-centered book (its subjects certainly don't), just get it for anyone who has a good appreciation of crack timing and a well-lobbed pie. --Ali Davis

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:42 -0400)

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