Friday roundup

A laff-filled week here at the blog. It started with a nod to a new biography of stand-up comedy pioneer Mort Sahl; I went on to muse upon a possible “golden age of American satire” before describing how I came to love it as a youngster in short pants; and yesterday looked back at what has become curiously the most-read post I ever published here. I assume that this last has just come in handy to be copied and pasted into numerous high-school term papers on American lit. But I shouldn’t look a gift horse etc.

Most appropriately, it was a pleasure to head to the HiFi Bar on Avenue A last night for a reading and celebration of The American Bystander, the lovely new literary humor magazine now into its fourth issue under the wise and indefatigable editorship of Michael Gerber. I was happily parked next to the bar with my lovely spouse. The back room was packed (violating not a few city ordinances, I’m guessing), but I’m delighted to report that literary humor and satire in these disturbed times is still healthy and happy, even if my liver isn’t. My appreciation to those who made it all happen, and I was glad to meet the few of them I had the chance to speak and laugh with.

I’ll close the week with a look at a few other comedy pioneers, Mike Nichols and Elaine May. Nichols and May: Take Two ran on PBS in 1996 as part of the American Masters series, and it’s as good an introduction to the pair as any you’ll find. It’s below. See you at Cafe Katja this afternoon, possibly, once the morning-after beer haze lifts.