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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If only all biographies were like Mr Mike.
Michael O'Donoghue's influence on contemporary comedy is analagous to the Velvet Underground's influence on alternative music. Only a hip minority appreciated O'Donoghue during his lifetime, but a lot of them went on to become stand-up comics, screenwriters, journalists, etc. Perrin does a marvelous job describing O'Donoghue's odyssey from obscurity in Rochester in the...
Published on June 16, 1998

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It would sound something like this.
Most biograhpies have a tendency to be boring. This has some pages that drag on, but with such an interesting person they can be overlooked.
Saturday Night Live and National Lampoon both owe their status in the world of humor to this man. He was not well-liked among his peers and is not someone you want to share a drink with in a bar, but that is what makes him one...
Published on February 5, 2009 by Neil The Unreel


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If only all biographies were like Mr Mike., June 16, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Mr. Mike : The Life and Work of Michael O'Donoghue The Man Who Made Comedy Dangerous (Hardcover)
Michael O'Donoghue's influence on contemporary comedy is analagous to the Velvet Underground's influence on alternative music. Only a hip minority appreciated O'Donoghue during his lifetime, but a lot of them went on to become stand-up comics, screenwriters, journalists, etc. Perrin does a marvelous job describing O'Donoghue's odyssey from obscurity in Rochester in the fifties to the undergound epicenter of The Evergreen Review and then the National Lampoon. In 1975, O'Donoghue won an Emmy as one of the founding writer/producers of Saturday Night Live. Through SNL, O'Donoghue unleashed a savage yet strangely lyric brand of satire on television audiences. Sadly O'Donoghue was never able to bring this remarkable talent into film despite penning several dark, but tantalizing screen projects that remain unproduced. Perrin's book is not only written with the same sharp wit and intelligence of its subject, but it is also rigorously researched. While Perrin makes a strong argument for O'Donoghue's achievements and brillance, he is not blind to his subject's mood swings and self-destructive career moves. Last but not least, the book is extremely well edited. For a change, photos and illustrations co-exist with the text not as a cheap five page insert of randomly selected pics. Ah, if only all bios were this user friendly, fun and illuminating. Perrin has made me love Mr. Mike all over again and reminded us that satire means never having to say "that's not funny, that's sick."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I would like to feed your fingertips to the wolverines., February 22, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Mr. Mike : The Life and Work of Michael O'Donoghue The Man Who Made Comedy Dangerous (Hardcover)
Reading this book reminded me why I used to watch Saturday Night Live. It sent me to the video store to search (vainly) for Michael O'Donoghue skits among the "Best Of..." compilations. I guess there are still a lot of folks who just don't get it. But those who do, will enjoy this book. And if enough folks start looking for O'Donoghue's works, maybe someone will notice. Now I'm going to go look for Phoebe Zeit-Geist.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sultan of Mean. . .Cruelty and the future of Comedy., April 8, 2013
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This review is from: Mr. Mike : The Life and Work of Michael O'Donoghue The Man Who Made Comedy Dangerous (Hardcover)
Michael O'Donoghue was one of those people that forever changed the landscape of comedy. Andy Kaufman and Steve Martin in the 70s started what became "Alt Comedy" in the 90s, I think that's pretty accurate? But Michael O'Donoghue started a brand of comedy that continues to this day. A very hard edge. A blurry line between 'hate' and 'humor'. This tradition is carried on by multiple stand up comics of today and has influenced many artists and 'fringe' players. People like Shaun Partridge, Boyd Rice and Adam Parfrey, I think can trace their humor back to Michael O'Donoghue, his influence at National Lampoon and the early Saturday Night Live. It's where cruelty, sadism, meanness and pitch black humor collide with the avante-garde and intellectualism and high art.

This book is a 'must have' for anyone serious about learning more, not only, about Michael O'Donoghue but his brand of humor in general. It's a very accurate portrayal. It's neither a hagiography nor a 'hatchet job'. It just tells the life of Michael O'Donoghue thoroughly. Warts and all. It doesn't put a shine to anything, but it's also not just a list of 'facts'. I think it helps that the book was written by a comedian?

I enjoyed the entire arc of the book. From Michael's beginnings and underground literary achievements all the way to his relative obscurity towards the end of his life. It's a shame O'D couldn't have lived to see these times, I think he would have had a blast destroying all the 'icons' of today. We need more humor and writing like his today. We may not need his wicked meanness these days (there seems plenty of that?) but we do need a good dose of his 'weirdness' and strange humor! And we need a lot of skewering of people in 'high places', something Michael O'D did really well! Viva la O'D!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind the scenes with Mr. Mike, July 18, 2000
I first encountered O'Donoghue's work on the back page of SPIN Magazine (being too young to see his Saturday Night Live work live, or hear his National Lampoon work). His short pieces were caustic and bleak, black as night but as funny as death. They had me alarmed, intrigued, and in fits of hilarious tears. And then he died.
"So who was Michael O'Donoghue," I asked myself. It was not till several years later, when I found his devilish visage staring at me from the cover of this book (brandishing a butcher's knife, no less). I wanted to learn about Mr. Mike quite badly, so I bought the book. I'll make a strange comparison here. Please hear me out. The "character" of Michael O'Donoghue that emerges from Perrin's biography reminds me a lot of the "character" of John Bonham who emerges from the Led Zeppelin bio 'Hammer of the Gods'. Both are brilliant artistic geniuses (once again excuse the hyperbole... justified as it may be) who, at the drop of a hat, turn into beasts akin to the Incredible Hulk in a particularly foul mood. It says something about the need for extremity in the artistic mind. O'Donoghue is the little, balding, bespectacled shnook, who, if tangled with, will uncoil his cobra-like wit and gnash your eyes out. He is quite an intriguing character.
Perrin does a fine job recounting the history of this character, from birth to death. He also does well to include transcriptions (and sometimes reprints) of some of O'Donoghue's more seminal works. His work for the Evergreen Review is here, best represented by 'Phoebe Zeit-Geist', which I don't entirely enjoy but can still marvel at its audacity and prodigiousness. It's like something R. Crumb would do after being severely tortured by a group of radical feminists. His National Lampoon days helped launch that magazine, as did his days at Saturday Night Live. Throughout he is morbid, meticulous, and menacing, never letting good taste get in the way of a great comic moment. He leaves no sacred cow unslaughtered. I admire that.
O'Donoghue is a good indication of the heights that the bipolar artistic mind can fly to. Perrin does well capturing that quality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed Portrait, January 6, 2003
By 
Scott McFarland (Manassas, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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In my younger days, I found O'Donoghue fascinating. After reading this book, I feel that I now have a good understanding of the man and of what he was doing.
Perrin covers each phase of O'Donoghue's career in depth and detail, and reveals O'Donoghue to be a performance artist working in comedy moreso than a comedian (as is, for example, Al Franken who O'Donoghue reportedly despised). This book is not a pleasant read, as O'Donoghue was devoted to offending and disturbing people. If you want to understand him, or his "art", this is the place to go.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It would sound something like this., February 5, 2009
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This review is from: Mr. Mike : The Life and Work of Michael O'Donoghue The Man Who Made Comedy Dangerous (Hardcover)
Most biograhpies have a tendency to be boring. This has some pages that drag on, but with such an interesting person they can be overlooked.
Saturday Night Live and National Lampoon both owe their status in the world of humor to this man. He was not well-liked among his peers and is not someone you want to share a drink with in a bar, but that is what makes him one of the great underrated comedy writers of the 20th century.
There was little humor in his personal life, but that never stopped him from being funny.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Grandpappy's Uncle Rhemus!, August 6, 2009
By 
Harvey J.Satan "Harvey J.Satan" (Among The Garden Gnome,Friar Park) - See all my reviews
When I first found this book , I was very excited that one of my favourite writer / comedians was FINALLY getting his due. ( Let's face it , love it or hate it , it's the only book in print specifically about "Mr.Mike". ). The information was quite valid , his pre-National Lampoon days were 95% new information to me , and a good chunk of his last years were news too. So on those merits alone , I enjoyed this book. Re-living his National Lampoon material , his Saturday Night Live stuff, and selected other writings , was nice to have in one volume.

My only complaint - thus the four stars - is that author Dennis Perrin comes off as too much of a frothing fanboy. He starts the book saying he doesn't want to write a syrupy , overly gushing biography , and then launches head on into one! ( Perhaps an attempt at the ultimate Mr.Mike zeit-geist? ). Mr.Perrin treats O'Donoghue as if he invented "alternate comedy" all by himself. ( Sadly the examples given from O'Donoghue's childhood , were fairly standard , for me growing up in the 60's , playground humour. Maybe Mr.Perrin had a sheltered childhood? ). Wading through the overly deifying commentary , is difficult at times , but in the long run this is outweighed by the need to have a book on "Mr.Mike". If you loved the enigma that was Michael O'Donoghue / "Mr.Mike" , this will shine some light on the subject. ( And if you didn't enjoy the man , somewhere there are some chrome plated , 18" long , stainless steel , needles ...with your name on them bucko! )
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic biography of an underrated genius, April 4, 2014
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This review is from: Mr. Mike : The Life and Work of Michael O'Donoghue The Man Who Made Comedy Dangerous (Hardcover)
Perrin does the man and his work justice. Impressively researched. Reading this plunged me down an O'Donoghue rabbit hole where I had to chase down all the work I hadn't yet seen or read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (Sigh), December 21, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Mr. Mike : The Life and Work of Michael O'Donoghue The Man Who Made Comedy Dangerous (Hardcover)
I tend to agree with the writer from Detroit - my time would have been better spent reading the stuff this guy actually wrote. However, this is what I feel to be the next best thing. And, unlike other bios where you have to wade through seven chapters of diaper changes and drunken uncles just to reach the subject's first grade school, this fine little tome dives right into the meat surrounding the bone. My only criticism (and probably damned unfair) is the feeling I got when setting this book down - the feeling that the author felt somehow slighted in not being born O'Donoghue himself. A very good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book should be included in any college syllabi on ..., December 14, 2014
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This book should be included in any college syllabi on modern American comedy. The research is outstanding, and the story compelling. Above all, we should thank O'Donoghue and Perrin for keeping the legacy of dangerous American comedy alive.
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Mr. Mike : The Life and Work of Michael O'Donoghue The Man Who Made Comedy Dangerous
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