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It Only Hurts When I Laugh Hardcover – November 28, 1988

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Satirist Freberg looks back over his hyphenated show business career. The son of a Baptist minister, he grew up in Pasadena twisting radio dials: "A lot of my sense of humor was shaped not only by Fred Allen, but by Vic and Sade. " While writing and performing with TV's popular Time for Beany puppet show in 1950, he recorded the soap-opera parody "John and Marsha," the first of his hits. His 1953 Dragnet parody moved a million copies in three weeks to become the record industry's fastest-selling single. The Stan Freberg Show, however, was the sign-off for network radio comedy: "I was the last of the species: the snail-dart of network radio comedians." Then his award-winning radio/TV commercials turned the advertising world askew. Convincing buttoned-down ad executives to allow him to poke fun at products was no joke, as detailed here in hilarious anecdotes. Freberg's life is so chockful of nutty situations that he stops short at 1963"Think of it as having watched the first part of a two-part miniseries." What he provides here is not only fast and funny, but very much in the trenchant tradition of the autobiographical humor books by his childhood idol, Fred Allen. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Advertising Age.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Following a trend begun by David Ogilvy ( Confessions of an Advertising Man , Atheneum, 1980), veteran adman/humorist Freberg shares his secrets of success. Like many autobiographies, this one is a bit self-serving with more than its share of name dropping and self-justifications, but it has its moments--especially Freberg's childhood memories of his magician uncle and the chapter on "green Christmas"--a spoof on the commercialization of that holiday which seems as timely today as when Freberg satirized the situation in the 1950s. Those interested in advertising history will find some nuggets of wisdom here, but most of them are like the radio commercials that Freberg cut his teeth on--the fool's gold of a bygone era. Not recommended.
- Gene R. Laczniak, Coll. of Business, Marquette Univ., Milwaukee
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books; 1st edition (November 28, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812912977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812912975
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Stan Freberg's writing style in book form is just as engaging as his writing in audio/video form, and although it is an autobiography -- no new sketches here -- it is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Clocking in a 273 pages (hardcover) and 22 chapters (plus 28 pages of B&W photos), "It Only Hurts" just brings us up to about 1963, with a very abrupt ending and a brief promise for another volume -- much like his hit album "The United States of America" ended. Of course, "Volume 2" of this series was only released recently (although it was written 25 year before) and, even though Freberg says it won't be the same here, Volume 2 has yet to see the light of day. However, overall, Freberg has a very mish-mash life and checking out this book is definitely worth your while. Freberg has done things many people don't know he did -- like star in most of the original Warner Bros. Cartoons with Mel Blanc. So check this book out. It may not be "An Introduction to Accounting," but, as Freberg says in his Introduction, don't reject this quite yet - you may enjoy it more.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William Metcalfe on January 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a long standing Freberg fan, going back to the mid-fifies when my brother used to buy his latest 78 release.
Mr Freberg's book does not disappoint, still plenty of laughs, I do wish there was more of it 'tho!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael Meredith VINE VOICE on March 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
At the beginning of this autobiography, Stan Freberg talks about the difficulty he has filling in the blank on application forms that asks for "occupation". He's been a comedian, cartoon voice artist, ad man, playwrite, satirist, writer and ethicist. He has created ad campaigns that lampooned the very industries they promoted. And he's stood up to the Darth Vader's of business, refusing to treat the consumer like an idiot.
The most refreshing aspect of this book is the fact that so much of his humor survives the test of time. One of the photos he uses is from a commercial for Chun King Chow Mein, where the voice-over proclaimed that "nine out of ten doctors recommend Chun King Chow Mein." I remember the ad, but I still found myself laughing out loud as I realized that the picture of ten men in medical garb was comprised of nine Asians and one Caucasian.
Unfortunately, there is the realization that anti-Frebergian forces still hold influence over our media, even after so many years of Stan leading the charge for truth and honesty. He doesn't need to make things up, the words of his antagonists are more absurd than any of his thousands of characters.
As other reviewers have noted, this volume ends in 1963, with much of his best work yet to come. Please Stan, please give us more!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Stamper VINE VOICE on July 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Stan Freberg tells the interesting story of why he is someone noteworthy. I first encountered Freberg on the radio talking about his United States of America album. It was so clever that I subsequently got a hold of his Greatest Hits album and radio show album. The book is just as entertaining as it reveals good stories on how he came to be an advertising man and revolutionize television commercials.
He spends a great deal of the book discussing his plans with David Merrick to put United States of America on Broadway. The delay stopped what would have been a series of comedy history albums. Unfortunately the book ends in the 1960s, before his biggest ad campaigns even started. I bought this book in a bargain bin and I fear we may never see volume 2.
This was a well-written and fast paced book. One of the better entertainment autobiographies I have ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This wonderful book covers Stan Freberg's life from beginning to the early 60s. It includes early ad campaigns which I'd never known of (Kaiser Aluminum Foil), and gives plenty of examples of his "tell uncomfortable truths" advertising campaigns. My only regret after reading this book is that Freberg apparently never wrote the promised sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Oldest & Wisest on April 8, 2015
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful book, entertaining, informative and hilarious. The only drawback is that it is now certain that it will be the ONLY volume of Stan Freberg's memoirs, as he passed away today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By guerin on February 4, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great memoir by one of the funniest people ever to draw breath. Stan Freberg is responsible for my sense of humor and that of a grateful nation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul E. Hemmer on October 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased a used edition on Amazon and then bought another for a friend. Stan's writing and remembrances are fun reading.
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