September 25, 2001
The purpose of humor and satire is . . . to help provide an eternal perspective, to help us recognize our common humanity, to shine a light on something that needs attention even in the midst of grief and mourning. Naturally, one must be sensible of conditions. It is tasteless, gauche and rude to laugh at someone else's real afflictions. And yet somehow humor is one of the first things that can break through our pain and help us regain balance. Although response to the Sept. 11 attacks has been different, after most national disasters or crises, the jokes start almost immediately - even if those who pass them on feel some shame about doing so. . . . I don't want to suggest that we simply laugh our troubles away.
January 27, 1989 |
A man goes to the doctor, and the doctor tells him he's going to die. "I want a second opinion," the patient yells. "OK," the doctor says, "you're ugly, too. " If you got a chuckle out of that, you feel better already. A group of Swedish medical researchers has found what comedians have known for centuries: Laughter is the best medicine. A study published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that regular doses of humor can ease even the most painful of disorders.
January 27, 1999
One thing we have found sadly absent ever since the dawning of the Age of Impeachment has been humor. Not that there haven't been jokes, mind you, but the slimy, sordid yucks in the Clinton case have more closely resembled the involuntary jerks that happen to your knee when the doctor slams his rubber hammer to check your reflexes. Pure humor - clever, built for amusement laugh-getters - has been harder to find. That's why we were tickled to see the above, an image that graced the cover of The Door, a magazine published by the Trinity Foundation which bills itself as "The world's pretty much only religious satire magazine.
January 25, 1989 |
Marione Nickles Anson, 82, a humor editor at the Saturday Evening Post who was among the magazine's early senior women editors, died Sunday at her home in Littleton, Colo. Then Marione Reinhard and affectionately known as "Reiny," she started working about 1923 as a clerk for the Curtis Publishing Co. in Center City, shortly after her early graduation from Linden Hall Academy in Lititz, Pa. During a career of nearly 40 years at the Evening Post - when it was being edited by George Horace Lorimer - Mrs. Anson was promoted through several positions, and in the 1940s was named associate editor in charge of humor.
September 11, 1994 |
Lewis Haupt Conarroe, 88, a former advertising executive and author who later made a living calling square dances and sing-alongs at dude ranches, died Sept. 3 at Chandler Hall Hospice in Newtown, Bucks County. Mr. Conarroe grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Germantown High School. After graduation in 1929 from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., he landed a job with N.W. Ayer & Son in Center City, then one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. "He had lots of talent," said Walter Weir, a longtime friend.
May 28, 1989 |
More than 20 nurses in business suits sat on pink-flowered damask seats, sipping tea and coffee out of china cups. They had gathered at the Leader Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Montgomery Township for a seminar and a tour of the center. Then, on the count of three, they turned and growled at one another, blew kisses and shot imaginary fireworks in the air. The room dissolved in laughter. Fran Solomon, the woman orchestrating the high jinks, stood at the front of the drawing room applauding their efforts.
April 28, 2006 |
Before previewing R.V., the comedy about a privileged blue-state family that packs its snooty attitudes for a road trip through the red states, I would have told you that its title refers to recreational vehicle. Having seen it, I now know the initials stand for reeking vulgarity. It's about as funny as an explosion in a septic tank. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, the onetime cinematographer who has become Hollywood's least dependable filmmaker (Men in Black was kind of fun, Wild Wild West was kind of a fiasco)
June 1, 1995 |
It's a coincidence but not a surprise that the two Philadelphia theater companies interested in plays dealing with gay themes or written by gay playwrights should be presenting Jeffrey within three months of each other. The play by Paul Rudnick, which debuted Off-Broadway in 1993, is a very humorous, insightful and ultimately poignant depiction of a gay man's learning to live with the threat of AIDS. When I reviewed the excellent Fabulous Theater Company production, I called Jeffrey one of the funniest plays to come along in years.
July 4, 1986 |
In the current comedy Ruthless People, much of the humor springs from the fact that the totally unscrupulous characters must at least pretend that they believe in civilized behavior and values. For Favorites of the Moon, Russian director Otar Iosseliani set up his cameras in Paris and pondered an assortment of thieves, hookers, anarchists, police detectives and assorted lowlifes who make the schemers in Ruthless People seem like Salvation Army volunteers. If there is such a thing as jaded whimsy, it runs through Favorites of the Moon.
September 8, 2005 |
Robert M. Lipshutz is a lawyer who lives in Lower Merion Over three days last week, there were several news stories on my state representative, Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery). Did the coverage deal with his final success in bringing hybrid cars into the commonwealth's auto fleet? Did it address his efforts to resolve the medical malpractice issue, or his constituent services, his work on the budget, or his giving up his law practice when he entered the General Assembly? No. Instead, focus fell on his off-hours entertainment - a non-governmental Web site, now removed, that he composed for the amusement of his friends and himself.