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Old Jewish Comedians: A BLAB! Storybook Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 22, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, November 22, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Popular film historian Leonard Maltin's page of affectionate tribute is the only text in Friedman's 10-by-10-inch watercolor portrait album, which would seem to disqualify the book for the BLAB! Picto-Novelette series. Where's the story (i.e., novelette)? But kvetch, kvetch. Friedman needs no narrative to justify any book he puts out. He is one of the best cartoonists and caricaturists going, whose renderings, in this case, of star comedians of the mid-twentieth century seethe with the panoply of feelings their personae stir in so many breasts: affection, repulsion, caution, fear, sadness, disdain, and admiration (maybe). If he gives Milton Berle, Rodney Dangerfield, Don Rickles, Jerry Lewis, and the rest outsize heads, he makes sure that every crease, mustache hair, and liver spot looks utterly real. And he catches each man "on": Bud Abbott appears stoically grumpy even in retirement, Myron Cohen still tilts his head in disingenuous submission, Phil Silvers is working yet another con. If only we were all funny enough to get Friedman to draw us! Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Friedman is one of the best cartoonists/caricaturists going. -- Booklist starred review
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (November 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560977418
  • ASIN: B004AYCXS4
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.5 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,358,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
All the great legendary old comedians (and some not-so-notables) come alive in this collection of Drew Friedman "in your face" artwork. I loved every page, every wrinkle, every liver spot. Friedman nails these old timers in some of the most bizarre caricature portraits, life-like and boldly detailed...in just that unique Friedman style. Don't worry, this book is not just for Jews....anyone who loves old comedians will savor this collection of artwork. I can't wait for the sequel!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my Jewish grandmother as a lighthearted gift. She loved it. I too found it to be a great coffee-table book, despite only being familiar with maybe 1/3 of the comedians. The art is excellent, and I could easily spend 5 or 10 minutes studying each portrait. There's a simple honesty in Friedman's work which makes it both funny and refreshing. As other reviewers have mentioned, there is absolutely no text in this book, so be aware that what you're getting is a book of portraits, nothing more. If you want more info on the comedians shown, you'll have to use the googles.
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Format: Hardcover
A great find to give the elderly Jewish family members. My dad doesn't read very much anymore, but he appreciated this book. The images are clear and fun. I'm sure seeing these pictures brought back many memories of his youth.
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Format: Hardcover
Having lived in a cave for decades, I had no knowledge of Drew Friedman's work until I came across his wonderful cover art for HOLLYWOOD'S HELLFIRE CLUB. Wanting more of the same, I trolled my local library and came up with OLD JEWISH COMEDIANS and its follow-up. Two 'off-the-top-of-my head' reactions: the guy is tremendously talented and seriously bent!

OLD JEWISH COMEDIANS features 30-odd caricatures of comic greats like Berle, Benny, Youngman, Rickles, Dangerfield, Groucho/Chico/Harpo, Sid Caesar, Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye, Harry Ritz, Buddy Hackett, Myron Cohen, Joe Smith and Phil Silvers along with lesser-knowns like Benny Bell, Freddie Roman and Mickey Freeman. The comic-greats-in-their-declining-years theme might almost seem cruel if it weren't for the obvious affection Friedman has for his subjects. Friedman's artwork isn't just well done, it often captures the essence of the individual - Jack Benny's placidity, Berle's outsized ego, Danny Kaye's introspection, Al Lewis' joie de vivre, Red Button's impishness, etc.

If you laughed at and enjoyed the gentlemen listed above, you'll want to snatch up a copy of OLD JEWISH COMEDIANS. It's a trip down memory lane, a tribute to funnymen of the 20th Century and a great introduction to the work of a gifted caricaturist! Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
God knew what he was doing. First he created the Jews, then he created comedy. Then he created Drew Friedman and his pencils.
What else can you ask for?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you grew up in the 50's and 60's watching TV, having this short but sweet book on your coffee table to thumb through will bring a smile to you over and over. Being Jewish not required.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Drew Friedman's work falls into that category of "you either get it or you don't." For those of us who get it, this is pure gold. Besides being the state of the art in contemporary caricature, Drew puts a particular spin on everything he does. There's a lot of love in these portraits of aging comics, but there's still this warts-and-all approach that separates them from pure hero worship. Drew casts his Jewish comedians as wonderful funnymen to be admired, while still keeping them human (or perhaps even more than human). If the Everyman is covered in wrinkles and liver spots, then these larger-than-life Supermen have even more!

With today's comics almost always working blue, and the average comedy club or HBO special containing more four-letter words than a dockworkers convention, it's refreshing to see these old-timers (accent on the old) who were funny without being foul-mouthed. The days of these old-skool comedians is past, but their faces will live on thanks to Drew.

Like Levy's rye bread, you don't have to be Jewish to love this book.
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