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Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse Hardcover – February 17, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Brash comedy and a surprising bitterness fuel this unsparing account of Diller's drive to make it big. Born to elderly parents in Lima, Ohio, in 1917, Phyllis Ada Driver was blessed with neither beauty nor wealth. At 20--and already pregnant--she married Sherwood Diller, a handsome, selfish ne'er-do-well who became the "Fang" in her comic monologues of domestic life; the couple had five children. Nearly 40 when she began her performing career, Diller turned a knack for relentless self-deprecation into a nightclub act. She performed in The Poets' Follies of 1955 with poet/painter/composer Weldon Kees and Beat writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti. But women were a novelty in the bar-based world of stand-up comedy, and plenty of humiliating club engagements ensued. Diller persisted, though, and while her male colleagues (Milton Berle, Don Rickles, Lenny Bruce) were pioneering 1950s "insult comedy," she turned the venom on herself and reaped its rewards. Eventually shedding her dud husband, Diller became a superstar--and the first one to go public about her plastic surgery ("I was a walking billboard for plastic surgery," she observes wryly). Retired from show business since 2002, Diller retains a dedicated fan base and an enormous interest in the world that spawned her. And considering she's the original "He's just not into me" girl, a pioneering desperate housewife, might this be the time to launch a comeback?
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Phyllis Diller, the world's first and foremost successful female stand-up comic, has been at the top of her game for five decades.
Richard Buskin has written more than a dozen books, including biographies of Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, and Sheryl Crow. He makes his home in Chicago.
Top customer reviews
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"I love my job, of course this isn't it!"
This book goes to the beginning of her life, talks about home life and moves on to how she got into show business.
"Why do I call him FANG? What do you call a man that has one tooth that is 2 inches long!"
She talks about the ups and downs, the people she met, who took advantage of her, who helped her and just talks about how it all happened.
"I do have this one small problem......Sometimes I want to just push them together and make one good one!"
I had followed Phyllis from the time she was on her first show with Groucho Marx until her death. She talks about EVERYTHING in her own style.
"The green cheese -- So I put it in the refrigerator, and forgot about it. Every now and then I'd open the door and throw it some food. And it was getting crosser and meaner!"
You may like the book and you may not like the book but you will never forget about the lady that wrote the book, Phyllis Diller.
I do recommend this book if you have a spot in your heart for Phyllis
This book takes the reader on a marvelous journey of the life of Phyllis Diller from her birth through her retirement and beyond. It is a well - written and highly recommended story.
Some reviewers have pointed to the fact that Diller never really gets down into the nitty gritty - she never dishes the deepest or possibly most insightful dirt on herself or those in her life (private or public). She gets and occasional dig in - but the book itself seems to stay on the high road. Her tone indicates - she's a grand dame who has survived some bizarre obstacles in life and now in her later years find herself in a very good place.
And I respect her decision to just keep it clean and enjoyable.
It's a smooth read - interspersed with samplings of some of her favorite work over the years.
For example: "What is the difference between and oral and a rectal thermometer?" [A: see review title]
I am passing this on to a friend immediately who could use a smile (and occasional belly laugh).