Beyond a Joke, By Bruce Dessau


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Good stories, like good jokes, never tire. Miserable jester consults doctor. Medic: "Cheer yourself up! Go and see the hilarious clown Grock!" Funny man: "Doctor, I am Grock".

A salty melange of tabloid gossip and shrewd analysis, comedy critic Dessau's book about the dark side of stand-up plays many variations on its theme: "the excessive, depressive clown".

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His juiciest subjects do stick to the script, from Hancock and Cook to Brand. Its sporadic vulgarity leavened by wit and insight, the book mirrors the mood of a late-night gig.