Posts tagged ‘Humorist’

March 18, 2013

Paul Krassner

The Realist

Paul Krassner (b. 1932) is an American author, journalist, stand-up comedian, and the founder, editor and a frequent contributor to the freethought magazine ‘The Realist,’ first published in 1958. Krassner became a key figure in the counterculture of the 1960s as a member of Ken Kesey’s ‘Merry Pranksters’ and a founding member of the Yippies (Youth International Party).

Krassner was a child violin prodigy (and was the youngest person ever to play Carnegie Hall, in 1939 at age six). His parents were Jewish, but Krassner is firmly secular, considering religion ‘organized superstition.’

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November 30, 2012

David Rees

david rees

David Rees (b. 1972) is a cartoonist and humorist whose best-known work combines bland clip art with outrageous ‘trash talk’ to incongruous effect. The comic strips have achieved wide popularity and some controversy.

Rees grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and was an avid reader of ‘Rex Morgan, M.D.’ comics. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, and drew comics for the school’s newspaper. His office-cubicle humor is partly inspired by his experience working in a basement for Citicorp; he was later a part time fact-checker for ‘Maxim’ magazine and ‘Martha Stewart Weddings’ magazine, until he was laid off. Rees’s best-known and most controversial comic is ‘Get Your War On.’

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November 28, 2012

Del Close

Del Close Marathon

Del Close (1934 – 1999) is one of the premier influences on modern improvisational theater. He was also an actor appearing in a number of films and television shows.

He was a co-author of the book ‘Truth in Comedy,’ which outlines techniques now common to longform improvisational theater and describes the overall structure (he named ‘Harold’) which remains a common frame for longer improvisational scenes. His favorite framework for comedic storytelling was the structures of Wagner’s ‘Ring Cycle.’

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May 11, 2012

Childish Gambino

childish gambino

Donald Glover (b. 1983) is an American actor, writer, comedian, and musician. Glover first came to attention for his work in the sketch group Derrick Comedy. He is best known for being a writer for ’30 Rock,’ and for his role the NBC comedy series ‘Community.’ In 2011, Glover signed to Glassnote Records under the stage name Childish Gambino; his first studio album, ‘Camp,’ was released in 2011. Glover DJs and produces his own music under the moniker ‘mcDJ.’

His music is of the electronic/remix variety and is often made available for free download via his official site. Glover raps as Childish Gambino, a name he found from a Wu-Tang Clan name generator. His work touches on family issues, schoolyard bullying, troubled romantic relationships, suicidal thoughts, and alcoholism. He has disowned his 2005 album, ‘The Younger I Get,’ as the too-raw ramblings of what he calls a ‘decrepit Drake.’

April 26, 2012

Ken Nordine

word-jazz

Ken Nordine (b. 1920) is an American voiceover and recording artist best known for his series of ‘Word Jazz’ albums. His deep, resonant voice has also been featured in many commercial advertisements and movie trailers. One critic wrote that ‘you may not know Ken Nordine by name or face, but you’ll almost certainly recognize his voice.’ During the 1940s, he was heard on ‘The World’s Great Novels’ and other radio programs broadcast from Chicago. He attracted wider attention when he recorded the aural vignettes on ‘Word Jazz’ (1957), which features Nordine’s narration over cool jazz by the Chico Hamilton jazz group, recording under the alias of Fred Katz, who was then the cellist with Hamilton’s quintet.

Nordine began performing and recording such albums at the peak of the beat era and was associated with the poetry-and-jazz movement. However, some of Nordine’s ‘writings are more akin to Franz Kafka or Edgar Allan Poe’ than to the beats. Many of his word jazz tracks feature critiques of societal norms. Some are lightweight and humorous, while others reveal dark, paranoid undercurrents and bizarre, dream-like scenarios. Nordine was Linda Blair’s vocal coach for her role in ‘The Exorcist.’

March 19, 2012

Gary Shteyngart

super sad true love story

Gary Shteyngart (b. 1972) is an American writer born in Leningrad, USSR. Much of his work is satirical and relies on the invention of elaborately fictitious yet somehow familiar places and times. Shteyngart spent the first seven years of his childhood living in a square dominated by a huge statue of Vladimir Lenin in what is now St. Petersburg, Russia; (he alternately calls it ‘St. Leningrad’ or ‘St. Leninsburg’). He comes from a Jewish family and describes his family as typically Soviet. His father worked as an engineer in a LOMO camera factory; his mother was a pianist. Shteyngart emigrated to the United States in 1979 and was brought up with no television in the apartment in which he lived, where English was not the household language. He did not shed his thick Russian accent until the age of 14.

Shteyngart took a trip to Prague, and this experience helped spawn his first novel, set in the fictitious European city of Prava. He is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School in New York City, Oberlin College in Ohio, where he earned a degree in politics, and Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he earned an MFA in Creative Writing. Shteyngart now lives in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He has taught writing at Hunter College, and currently teaches writing at Columbia University and Princeton University. Shteyngart’s novels include ‘The Russian Debutante’s Handbook’ (2002), ‘Absurdistan’ (2006), and ‘Super Sad True Love Story’ (2010).

February 20, 2012

John K

spumco

ren and stimpy

Michael John Kricfalusi [kris-fuh-loo-see] better known as John K., is a Canadian animator. He is creator of ‘The Ren & Stimpy Show,’ its adults-only spin-off ‘Ren & Stimpy ‘Adult Party Cartoon,” ‘The Ripping Friends’ animated series, and ‘Weekend Pussy Hunt,’ an interactive web-based cartoon, as well as the founder of animation studio Spümcø.

He spent his early childhood in Germany and Belgium, while his father served in the Canadian air force. At age seven he returned with his family to Canada. Having moved in the middle of a school season, he spent much of his time that year at home, watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons and drawing them. Kricfalusi’s interest in Golden Age animation crystallized during his stay at Sheridan College, where an acquaintance of his held weekly screenings of old films and cartoons, among them the cartoons of Bob Clampett and Tex Avery, which left a deep impression on him.

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July 13, 2011

Hunter S. Thompson

thompson for sheriff

Hunter S. Thompson (1937 – 2005) was an American journalist and author. He is credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories.

He is known also for his unrepentant lifelong use of alcohol, LSD, mescaline, and cocaine (among other substances); his love of firearms; his inveterate hatred of Richard Nixon; and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism. While suffering a bout of health problems, he committed suicide in 2005, at the age of 67.

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June 17, 2011

Kurt Vonnegut

vonnegut signature

tralfamadore

Kurt Vonnegut (1922 – 2007) was an American writer of the 20th century. He wrote such works as ‘Mother Night’ (1961), ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ (1969), and ‘Breakfast of Champions’ (1973) blending satire, gallows humor, and science fiction. He was known for his humanist beliefs and was honorary president of the American Humanist Association. Vonnegut’s experience in WWII as a soldier and prisoner of war had a profound influence on his later work.

He was captured during the Battle of the Bulge. ‘The other American divisions on our flanks managed to pull out: We were obliged to stay and fight. Bayonets aren’t much good against tanks…’ Imprisoned in Dresden, Vonnegut was chosen as a leader of the POWs because he spoke some German. After telling the German guards ‘…just what I was going to do to them when the Russians came…’ he was beaten and had his position as leader taken away. While a prisoner, he witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden in February 1945 which destroyed most of the city.

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March 31, 2011

Joe Wong

joe wong

Joe Wong is a Chinese American comedian. He grew up in Jilin Province, China, and came to study chemistry at Rice University in Texas in 1994. He moved to Boston in 2001 and began to perform his comedy.

February 23, 2011

Reggie Watts

Reggie Watts

Reggie Watts is a New York-based comedian and musician.

Watts’ shows are mostly improvised and consist of stream of consciousness stand-up in various shifting personae, mixed with loop pedal-based a cappella compositions.

February 11, 2011

Mitch Hedberg

escalator

Mitch Hedberg (1968 – 2005) was an American stand-up comedian known for his surreal humor and unconventional comedic delivery. His comedy typically featured short, sometimes one-line jokes, mixed with absurd elements and non sequiturs.

Hedberg’s comedy and on-stage persona gained him a cult following, with audience members sometimes shouting out the punchlines to his jokes before he could finish them.

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