Before Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah, and Doonesburym there was Art Buchwald. This illuminating biography of the legendary political humorist reveals the life behind his must-read Washington Post columns, featuring never-before-published photos, documents, and interviews, and a foreword by Christopher Buckley.
For more than fifty years, from 1949 to 2006, Art Buchwald's Pulitzer Prize-winning column of political satire and biting wit made him one of the most widely read American humorists and a popular player in the Washington of Ethel and Ted Kennedy, Ben Bradlee, and Katharine Graham. Dean Acheson, former U.S. Secretary of State, called Buchwald the “greatest satirist in the English language since Pope and Swift.”
But there was another, more serious side to Art Buchwald. A childhood spent in a number of foster homes taught him to see comedy as a refuge. Buchwald also struggled with depression, a secret he kept from the public for nearly thirty years.
Drawing on Buchwald's unpublished lifelong correspondence with other famous personas, Funny Business shows how Art Buchwald became an American original. Like Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, and James Thurber, he satirized political scoundrels, lampooned the powerful and the pompous, and "worshipped the quicksand" that ten different Presidents of the United States walked on, as Buchwald said. The key to Buchwald’s style of humor was to “treat light subjects seriously and serious subjects lightly,” he once said. This revealing book is studded with stories of Buchwald's charming exchanges with Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, Ted Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, John Steinbeck, Irwin Shaw, William Styron, and Erma Bombeck. His fun-loving humor and legendary quips earned him interviews and correspondence with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, “Batman” (Adam West), and Robert Frost. During his long career Buchwald wrote about such historical events as the Vietnam War, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, Watergate, and the 9/11 terrorist attack. Featured here are stories of Buchwald’s non-stop political jabs and one-liners, known in his day as “Buchshots.”
Through this book, Buchwald’s brilliant gift for humor and satire will once again bring readers a comedic respite from the troublesome times in which we live.