Cover image for The essential Groucho : writings by, for, and about Groucho Marx
The essential Groucho : writings by, for, and about Groucho Marx
Marx, Groucho, 1890-1977.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Works. Selections. 2000
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Vintage Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
xvi, 254 pages ; 21 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN2287.M53 A22 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Groucho Marx may be the funniest man who ever lived.nbsp;nbsp;Here in one volume are the classics of Marxian mayhem: excerpts from the scripts of the immortal movies, passages from his books, his articles for magazines ranging from The New Yorker to the Saturday Evening Post , thenbsp;nbsp;choicest ad-libs and quips from his long-running game show, You Bet Your Life , and selected letters, including his classic correspondence with T. S. Eliot.nbsp;nbsp;It's all here-the finest and funniest work by this century's most influential comedian, that man of whom Woody Allen said, "He is simply unique in the same way Picasso and Stravinsky are, and I believe his outrageous, unsentimental disregard for order will be equally funny a thousand years from now.nbsp;nbsp;In addition to all this, he makes me laugh."

In the words of Groucho Marx:

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.
How he go in my pajamas I don't know.

Time flies like an arrow.nbsp;nbsp;Fruit flies like a banana.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.nbsp;nbsp;Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

Author Notes

Stefan Kanfer lives in New York.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

As blandly handsome You Bet Your Life announcer George Fenneman used to say (didn't he?), "Here's Groucho!" To which one could add "in spades." Just why all this attention comes just at this time is neither obvious nor explained in any of these books. The spotlight, however, is unquestionably on the youngest of the three brother comedians (the fourth and youngest performing brother, Zeppo, was too handsome and calm to be anything but a straight man), even in Louvish's collective biography. (For his part, because the Marxes worked together and lived near one another, Kanfer is obliged to limn the other brothers' lives quite fully.) Groucho was the most verbal Marx, gifted from the beginning with a wit capable of hilariously reducing, in mere seconds, any conversation, however rational and civilized, to free-associating, anarchic drivel. Indeed, Groucho's comic mind and tongue were so sharp that he was one of the few comics who could use another language-mangling, zany foil--Chico Marx--as a regular partner. The best parts of all three books are quotations from Groucho's routines and writings. Kanfer and Louvish know this and compensate for the comparative drabness of their own prose by, in Kanfer's case, homing in on Groucho's cantankerousness, and, in Louvish's, by covering the Marxes' enduring legacy--their films--in great detail. Early on, Kanfer allows that there really isn't anything in his book that hasn't been published before, and Louvish's reliance on the same sources endorses Kanfer's assessment. If neither book makes any big breakthroughs knowledge-wise, both books are more thoroughly researched and formally presented than any of their predecessors, and either is an excellent summary source on the Marxes, whose success is one of the greatest Lower-East-Side-to-Hollywood, vaudeville-to-the-cultural-vanguard stories. Readers could be forgiven, though, if they abandoned the biographies mid-read for Kanfer's gathering of writings (overwhelmingly) by Groucho. He just may have been the funniest man of the twentieth century. --Ray Olson