We Killed by Yael Kohen(3 out of 5)

Time and time again I’ve blogged that I love oral histories. Espicially ones revolving around the music and entertainment industries. This was another good entry.

Kohen charts the history of lady comedians going back to the early 60’s with the likes of Laugh-In and The Mary Tyler Moore, skips through the decades and those who shaped comedy, up to today’s comedians holding down the fort. The book is easy to jump into and equally easy to put down and pick back up at a moment’s leisure. That’s not meant as an insult, either. This time of year is hard for anyone to get any reading done, espicially those in retail(moi).  This was the perfect book for me to read at this time.

There’s a lot to be liked here. Not only does this book cover the comics, but it also covers those behind the scenes, from those who pioneered comedy clubs(Mitzi Shore with The Comedy Store), to SCTV in Chicago, to Groundlings in Los Angeles. You get an idea for how formulative the comedy machine was for women, as opposed to the simplicity of the machine for men. You get a fair idea of how sexist the scene was back then and how far it’s come today(meaning female comics get more of a fair say than they used to, thankfully).

You get first-hand accounts and anecdotes not published elsewhere(I really do NOT recall reading in the Saturday Night Live book about how much of an asshole John Belushi was to women on the set of Saturday Night Live, for example). You also get unfettered access to what happened behind the scenes in many landmark television shows centered around women comics. I learned more about Maude(a favorite)than I have ever been able to claim in my life thus far. I also learned about how interoffice politics at networks like CBS really almost put the kibosh on shows that ended up being smash hits, like the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  I read a lot, and believe me, I learned a lot from this book. There were many things reported here that were not reported in anything I’ve previously read. All I can say is, if you have someone in your life who enjoys comedy and wants the inside scoop from the ladies, this is the book to give this holiday season.

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~ by generationgbooks on December 18, 2012.

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