Just a quick note to say that my review of Paul Beatty’s newest novel The Sellout is up over at Open Letters Monthly. Did I like it?
Let’s just say it gets a whole garden full of those little blue-cuffed Facebook thumbs . . .
I’ve got a pet theory (thankfully deleted from the review) about stand-up comedians . . .
Here’s my theory: the most ambitious stand-up comedians evolve into novelists.
Or they seem to want to turn into a type of novelist, by which I mean they begin to get less funny — intentionally — as a way to knit together their comedic observations into some kind of larger aesthetic/point. The only examples I have are male: Pryor, George Carlin, Louis CK. This also seems particularly a late-period comedian development; it’s something that they mature toward.
Carlin might be the most perfect example of this pet theory: in his late shows he seems less a comedian than a civilization’s grumpy uncle, the neighborhood crank, dressed all in back, pinning us to our seats for 90 minutes with his dystopic theories. The results were not consistently funny, nor were they consistently enjoyable, and both of those reactions seemed to be intentional.