Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bob and Ray, Keener Than Most Persons (2013)

Bob and Ray, Keener Than Most PersonsBob and Ray, Keener Than Most Persons by David Pollock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I haven't laughed so much in a long time. David Pollock's story of Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding, seminal comedians for five decades, is funny and  fascinating. He has included reminders throughout the book of the wonderful routines and pranks these two pulled off. One of my favorite recurring characters was Charles the Poet, who read flowery poems until he dissolved in giggles. I loved that as a child.

Bottom Line: If you remember Bob and Ray, you will find this investigation of them and the long list of other performers they inspired a most worthy read.

This was my first request on Net Galley. I remembered Bob and Ray from growing up listening to radio with my mother, and I thought I would be more likely to get accepted for a pre-publication copy with a specialty book rather than popular fiction everyone else was requesting. I thought I was doing the publisher a favor when in fact they were doing one for me.

David Pollock did a ton of research and parts of the book can be confusing and a bit repetitive. The reader has the same problem of differentiating the two men who were Bob and Ray in the book as apparently people did in real life, but eventually that gets sorted out. I have a much better sense of them as individuals and what each brought to the comedy team.

What struck me was so much of my humor was centered around words. We listened to the radio. We listened to comedy albums. As the world embraced television, the visual aspect of comedy took over until today humor is 'funny home videos' of people hurting themselves and/or doing stupid physical things.

Pollock has provided not just the story of Bob and Ray but a history of the shift in radio to television. For someone my age, recognizing so many names of the people Bob and Ray inspired and performed with is a wonderful journey down memory lane.

Disclaimer: A copy of Bob and Ray, Keener Than Most Persons was provided to me by Applause Theatre and Cinema Books/Net Galley for review purposes.

Title: Bob and Ray, Keener Than Most Persons
Author: David Pollock
Genre: Entertainment/Non-Fiction/Biography
Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books
No. of Pages: 320 pages
Copyright: May 14, 2013
ISBN: 1557838305
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: NetGalley

David Pollock, with writing partner Elias Davis, has written for The Steve Allen Show, The Don Rickles Show, The Carol Burnett Show, All in the Family, M*A*S*H, Cheers, and Frasier, and wrote nightclub material for Jack Benny. Their play, Points in Time, was produced by the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif. They have won an Emmy, a Peabody, a Writers Guild and two Humanitas awards. Pollock lives in Los Angeles and is available for interview.

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