Al Boasberg essay now available
IJBFC member Ben Schwartz has been working on the Al Boasberg project for several years, and we can all now enjoy the results. Boasberg wrote for Jack Benny in the 20s and 30s, as well as many other comedic legends.
From the Boasberg Institute:
After nine long years, my essay "The Gag Man," the never-before-told, 15,000 word epic study of vaudeville genius Al Boasberg (1891-1937) is finally in print! Boasberg was the guru, mentor, and comedy writin' genius who created the stage characters Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and Burns & Allen all played. Boasberg invented stand-up with Benny and sent a 16-year-old Milton Berle out on stage telling him it would be funny if Berle said he'd been accused of stealing gags. Boasberg co-wrote Buster Keaton's _The General_ and _Battling Butler_, saved the Marx Brothers' careers with _A Night at the Opera_ and _A Day at the Races_, did punch up on _Freaks_, directed the Three Stooges in their first starring feature _Myrt and Marge_, and the last day he wrote a joke, introduced Rochester on the Jack Benny show. Groucho called Boasberg a comic genius. Benny thought him the greatest joke writer in the world. And did I mention nine years? He was o.g. - the original gagster.
It's available on amazon.com in THE FILM COMEDY READER:
But, TFCR has also been spotted for sale in San Francisco at Virgin Megastore and in LA at Book Soup. Besides me, the book also sports essays by J. Hoberman, David Thomson, Frank Capra, Leo McCarey, as well as stuff on everyone from Edgar Kennedy to Woody Allen, and was edited by Gregg Rickman.
Also, if you get the Writers Guild of America magazine WRITTEN BY, there'll be an excerpt article on the Boasberg-Benny partnership published in the April comedy issue.