The Legendary Life and Political Satire of Art Buchwald
“A delightful and entertaining book about one of America’s greatest humorists.”—Seth Meyers
This “absorbing, illuminating” (Jon Meacham) biography of the legendary political humorist reveals the life behind his must-read Washington Post columns, featuring never-before-published photos, documents, and interviews.
Before Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, and Doonesbury, there was Art Buchwald. 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 world 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.”
Drawing on Buchwald’s most memorable columns and unpublished correspondence with other famous people, Funny Business shows how Art Buchwald became an American original.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 “worshipped the quicksand” that ten presidents walked on, as Buchwald joked. “The key to Buchwald’s style of humor, he once stated, was to “treat light subjects seriously and serious subjects lightly.”
But there was a darker, more serious side to Art Buchwald. A childhood spent in 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.
This revealing book is studded with stories of Buchwald’s friendships with Humphrey Bogart, John Steinbeck, Irwin Shaw, William Styron, Erma Bombeck, Frank Sinatra, Adam West ("Batman"), Robert Frost, and others. Throughout his 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 nonstop one-liners, known in his day as “Buchshots.”
Entertaining and absorbing, Funny Business looks back on Buchwald’s brilliant gift for humor and satire, which will once again bring readers a comedic respite from troublesome times.