You Can't Be Serious: Writing and Living American Humor

Ralph Schoenstein, Author St. Martin's Press $14.95 (164p) ISBN 978-0-312-05190-7
This sad autobiography of a humorist who has written 16 books himself ( I-Hate-Preppies Handbook ) and collaborated with Bill Cosby on three others is the chronicle of a wordsmith in a society that doesn't care much for words. Schoenstein began as a ghostwriter for H. Allen Smith, wrote a column for the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger for a few years, then launched himself as a freelancer. He tried his hand at TV and movie scripts but found producers and executives unbearably obtuse and insensitive. In fact, Schoenstein encountered many people who did not recognize humor unless it was indelibly so labeled; he claims to have found prize illiterates clerking in bookstores and attending colleges. But through it all the author has held on to his sense of the ridiculous. In this lively volume, he proves that, like Don Marquis's mehitabel, he remains toujours gai. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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