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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Vicki Richman <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 2 Sep 1994 11:32:26 -0400
<[log in to unmask]> from "Siva Vaidhyanathan" at
1, 94 12:56:48 pm:
1, 94 12:56:48 pm
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (23 lines)
There's much merit in seeing Mark Twain as the prototypical
standup comic. He earned a substantial income from his
"lectures," as they were called, perhaps as a professorial
euphemism assuaging bourgeois guilt over an evening of fun.

The bare fact is that Mark Twain was not only an author, but
also the most popular entertainer of his day.

Will Rogers was certainly informed by Twain. He grudgingly
allowed himself to be called a comedian ("The real comedians
are in Congress . . . ."), bringing respectability to what
had been a disparaging term. Fred Allen was Rogers's
immediate heir, and most later political or "irreverential"
satirists, including Lenny Bruce, were spawned by Allen.

Go for it, Siva. Pryor is fine. Can't you just see Richard
doing the Whittier Dinner Speech? Next best thing to having
been there. Alas, Richard's career is done. Who's left? Lily
Tomlin in drag?

Vicki Richman
Bedford, Brooklyn NY