The Humor of S. J. Perelman
ACRES AND PAINS by S.J. Perelman ($11.17 on Amazon) is my favorite slim—very slim—book. Every time I read this gem, I laugh out loud at least three times. It’s the story of Perelman’s hapless adventures buying and keeping up a Bucks County farmhouse. Local flimflam artists and creepy animals are the least of his problems. Much funnier than the movie The Money Pit, buy this book and prepare to laugh at the pitiful rural romances we New Yorkers fall prey to.
Sid Perelman’s grasp of high and low humor (and the occasional Yiddish goodie) is worth its weight in platinum. He was and is our master humorist with an unparalleled gift for ridicule, whining, dazzling verbal effects and masterly observation. By the end he’s grateful for a seat in a blissfully air-conditioned movie theater near his Greenwich Village home where he eats his pastrami on rye. Laugh for a longer life. Read the man who invented the New Yorker magazine humor style and who Woody Allen calls simply our best humorist. It couldn’t hurt.
My second favorite book is WESTWARD HA! also by the late great S.J. Perelman ($11.17 on Amazon) and the most honest travelogue ever. From the scoundrels and poseurs of Hollywood to dank, smelly tourist traps in China, Sid Perelman tells it like he sees it. And he sees it with wacky humor based on extreme discomfort and disillusionment that infuse his riffs on the great sites of the world. Read this book and yuk it up.
My other Perelman favorites include CRAZY LIKE A FOX ($.60-$51.00 on Amazon) and CHICKEN INSPECTOR NO. 23 ($2.99-$88.88 on Amazon). DAWN GINSBERGH’S REVENGE ($200-$400 on Amazon) STRICTLY FROM HUNGER ($99.99-$550 on Amazon) LOOK WHO’S TALKING ($40-$135 on Amazon) THE DREAM DEPARTMENT ($9.99-$20 on Amazon) KEEP IT CRISP ($4-$13 on Amazon) LISTEN TO THE MOCKING BIRD ($20-$25 on Amazon) THE SWISS FAMILY PERELMAN ($.89-$13.44 on Amazon) THE ILL-TEMPERED CLAVICHORD ($1.42- $54.94 on Amazon) THE MOST OF S.J. PERELMAN ($19-$150 on Amazon) THE RISING GORGE ($1.95-$49.99 on Amazon) THE BEAUTY PART ($7.95-$8.99 on Amazon) VINEGAR PUSS ($22.70 on Amazon) EASTWARD HA! ($.19-$38.34 on Amazon)