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Satiristas: Comedians, Contrarians, Raconteurs & Vulgarians Hardcover – May 11, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“¡Satiristas! reveals the method and the madness of men and women who inhabit the funny side of the commentariat.” (Los Angeles Times)

“Humor heavyweights discussing satire and social change in their craft…A wealth of intimate, and, at times, surprising discussions…A cultural critique of comedy as an art form.” (Time Out Chicago)

“A brilliant, wildly inventive new book that is comedic magic. It features interviews with and portraits of some of the biggest comedians ever.” (Los Angeles Herald Examiner)

“Glimpses into the minds of some of the sharpest, most insightful and revolutionary voices in entertainment. They surprise, they challenge, they may even offend you, but every word is worth your time and attention. Read it. You won’t regret it.” (Sacramento Book Review)

From the Back Cover

Our nation's finest comedians, contrarians, and comic subversives come together to discuss the nature of humor, its relevance to society, and how simply speaking the truth as one sees it can give life meaning

We are living in a new golden age of satire. In a nation divided, polarized, and cynical of "official" news and information, it's no surprise that more young people get their news today from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert than from 60 Minutes and CNN—the people who speak the most openly and fearlessly are our satirists. Politics and culture are analyzed, criticized, scandalized, and energized by comedians with no agenda other than to create the laughter and shock that comes from recognition and truth.

Perhaps the greatest collection of comic talents ever between two covers, ¡Satiristas! is a collaboration between Paul Provenza—comedy's insider inquisitor extraordinaire, director/co-creator of the film The Aristocrats, and star of Showtime's The Green Room with Paul Provenza—and Dan Dion, comedy's most celebrated portrait photographer. A virtual who's who of iconoclastic comedy, the book is an epic, hilarious, multivoiced manifesto on satire and comedy, and a revelatory study of the complexities and inner workings of the comic mind.

Balancing on the razor's edge of communicating important ideas without pretense or condescension, political comedians Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and Lewis Black weigh in with late-night monologists Jay Leno and Craig Ferguson. Veterans like Conan O'Brien, Robin Williams, Richard Lewis, and Roseanne Barr speak their minds alongside comedy legends such as the Smothers Brothers, Tom Lehrer, Lily Tomlin, and the late, great George Carlin. Also represented are creators, writers, and producers of The Daily Show, South Park, Mr. Show, This Is Spinal Tap, Wonder Showzen, Kids in the Hall, Freaks and Geeks, Superbad, The Simpsons, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and Saturday Night Live as well as fresh, up-and-coming talents and a new generation of comedy stars. Together, this cross-section of subversive comic artists offers insight into what drives them and makes them tick, and what drives them crazy and ticks them off.

Paul Provenza's casual, intimate, artist-to-artist interviews are intelligent, outrageous, controversial, and even downright sick—but no idea or opinion is censored, and the unabashed honesty that results is funny, thought-provoking and inspirational.

The intimate photographic portraits by Dan Dion, comedy's Richard Avedon, are art pieces that take us through the stand-up routine to the person underneath, making ¡Satiristas! something that will change the way you look at comedians and the art of comedy.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; 1 edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061859346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061859342
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Art is an amazing gift given to some for the enjoyment of many. And while most art is accessible, you can teach someone how to paint, draw, sculpt, dance, write, etc., comedy is an art form all its own. No one can teach you how to be funny. You're either funny or you're not.

Being a comic is the most innate, inexplicable art. It is a gift embodied within stoic individuals who seemingly (sometimes barely) survive from life's unrelenting drama and turn that pain, that anger, that rage into art. Comics are the artistic Rumpelstiltskins that spin yarns into gold and SATIRISTAS!, a new book out by Paul Provenza and Dan Dion, is fast becoming the comic`s bible and an outsider`s look into a world barely acknowledged by mainstream media.

This book is not for the faint of heart and certainly not for sissies. It's an authentic dissection of craft and experience by seasoned professionals that have seen, done and heard it all.

Provenza is a comic god to me. His love of craft, his respect for fellow comics draws interviews better than Barbara Walters and without making his subjects cry. His down to earth personality and `take no prisoners' attitude are qualities I long for in my fellow humans and usually only find it in my fellow comics.

Dan Dion's eye enables him to capture each subject with as much intimacy as the accompanying interviews and help turn this book into a textbook no comic or writer should be without. This is an amazing read, you won't be able to put it down, nor should you. The subjects run the gauntlet of talent and experience, everyone has something powerful to say ... this book is going to shake up the mainstream and bring comedy back to the respectable art form it is.
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Format: Hardcover
Ok. I confess. I am a comedian aficionado. I love comedy. I could eat it!
When I heard that Paul Provenza, comedy genius extraordinare, had released a book called iSatiristas!, it was a moral imperative for me to obtain it and read it asap! Paul is a comic's comic. His playfulness is delightful and contagious. But make no mistake, because behind his sincere charm lies one of the most erudite, hilarious, quickest wits in town!

Since Paul IS a comedian, there is a mutual respect and trust between all involved. Therefore, allowing the questions to be more intimate, in-your-face, honest, hilarious and intelligent. This is not your mainstream, pre-packaged Q&A book. It has heart, depth, dirty words!, insightful and smart answers. It's diversive. iSatiristas! interviews legends such as George Carlin (in apparently his last interview). The comic talent runs the gamut from the classic (Smothers Brothers, Cheech & Chong, Lily Tomlin, Robert Klein, Terry Jones of Monty Python) to house-hold names (Robin Williams, Roseanne Barr, Sandra Bernhard, Billy Connolly, Craig Ferguson, Bill Maher) and contemporary artists of today (Stephen Colbert, Penn Jillette, Dana Gould, Patton Oswald, Conan O'Brien, Doug Stanhope, Greg Proops...) And these 2 "younger" & oh, so talented, heavy hitters Lee Camp & Jamie Kilstein.

If you love and appreciate comedy as an art form, hell, if you just love comedy, then this book is for you.
"Misfit's Rights."

P.S. The photographs, which were taken by Dan Dion, really captures the comedians' essence!
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Format: Hardcover
Now I know what I'm getting everyone for Chrismakwanzakah.

What a beautiful, smart, thought-provoking sleeper of a book. And for a fan of comedy, it is a golden ticket that couldn't be more enticing were it wrapped around a Wonka Bar. Provenza lets you into the engine rooms of the smartest minds in satire, where in an age of marketing murk and wholesale insincerity, honesty is still the price of admission. If the Truth is dying a slow death in America, it is only still breathing because a few artists remain unwilling to give up the mic.

There's no posturing here, no junket-ready platitudes or skin-deep anecdotes. You can always tell a real "artist," because they shy away from that word. They're made uncomfortable by the inference. Getting a real artist to drop the "Oh, I just do what feels right" defensive mask is like asking a glacier to hang a u-turn.

And that is Provenza's gift.

His insider's positioning and analytical mind make him the ideal gatekeeper to this world. He knows what to ask, and has an unrivaled ability to get the most guarded personalities of his profession to take off their armor. The result is an absolute education for anyone who cares about comedy, rhetoric, performance, or the craft of truthtelling.

When Rome burned, some people stood idle and watched. Others looked to profit from the inferno. And some stood in front of a faux brick wall and had the courage to tell jokes about the flames.

They deserve such a book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Between "The Aristocrats" and his show "The Green Room", Paul Provenza has taken pains to prove himself the archivist of modern comedy. "Satiristas!" is no different.

Not only are the interviews contained here funny and informative, they are arranged in such a way as to flow seamlessly from one voice to the next. This sort of style is a great way to show how one comedian can influence the next--how, in the comedy world, we truly are just a massive, dysfunctional family.

I recommend this book for anyone who loves comedy, but the real people who will benefit from this are the people who want to pay their bills with humor. Indeed, if the world of academia becomes stretched enough (and I'm not sure it won't), you'll find this book as required reading the first class in your Comedy major. Comedy 101: Introduction to Stand Up.
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