Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Yesterday I wrote a little article for Collector's Quest about comedy paperbacks, from funny stories to satire to joke books. It is rather sad that they can be such a huge part of our culture's literary quilt, but they get such little acknowledgement. Much like comedy's invisibility to the Oscars, humorous authors seem to have their day and move on without lasting reward; they don't grow upwards in the direction of fine literature like their more dramatic relatives. Even Shakespeare's comedies are seen as a bit 'lesser' than the others. Hamlet and R&J get the respect, while A Midsummer Night's Dream isn't quite on the same level. But, then again, comedy writers aren't in it for the awards or the prestige. Humor generally has a message, and provided that gets across (even if it's just to point out the absurdity of the culture at large), the writer is pleased with what they've wrought. Nobody in Zucker's team shed a tear that Airplane! was passed over for an Oscar, but their place in the fabric of our culture still happened without a little statuette or arts grants.