BOOK OF THE WEEK: THE COMEDIANS

comediansKliph Nesteroff has friends in high places. After working in comedy for eight years, he has Andy Richter, Norm Macdonald and Steve Martin chomping at the bit to read his upcoming book published by Grove/Atlantic, The Comedians. Unlike other history books dealing with celebrity in which the subjects dispute and distance themselves from the facts presented, Nesteroff is gaining such favour because he has lived it. His first comedy gigs  were doing standup at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel in 1998– well before the hotel was the swanky, cultural hotspot that it is today. After a brief stopover in Vancouver, Kliph landed in Los Angeles where he took a job working as an entertainment writer and hosting events with legends like Fred Willard and Mel Brooks.

Nesteroff has since retired from comedy– an experience that involved him killing his alter ego Shecky Grey with a broken bottle onstage alongside Zach Galifinakis– but has retained his razor sharp wit, caustic observations and incredible working knowledge of the field, funnelling it all into The Comedians, published earlier this month.

“This guy is really brilliant. And he is devoted to the things I love –to the art of comedy” Mel Brooks

Although not quite a household name (yet), Nesteroff has been receiving a lot of praise for his book that is an expansive and endlessly entertaining history of stand-up comedy, spanning more than a century from vaudeville, through radio, television, the counterculture, the comedy boom, to the present. The LA Times has called him “one of the most entertaining and observant writers on the history of modern comedy,” for his evenly paced, expertly researched portrait of the evolution of comedy beginning with the first stand-up comedian who abandoned physical comedy to straight-up jokes to this new era of media-driven celebrity.

If you’re in the Toronto area and could use a laugh (and who couldn’t on these dark, grey November days), Kliph will be reading at the Comedy Bar on Bloor Street this upcoming Saturday, November 14th at 7 pm. RSVP to the event here.

The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy

by Kliph Nesteroff

9780802123985

Hardcover, $38.50

History/Social History

Grove/Atlantic

Available now!

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