David Bruce: The Funniest People in Books — Comedians, Couples


• When visiting Robert Graves, comedian Terry-Thomas felt that perhaps he had offended the famous poet with his sense of over-confidence because instead of having an intellectual discussion about Greek mythology, all Mr. Graves talked to him about was compost, frequently sticking a fork into various maturing piles and making Terry-Thomas smell them.

• Anne Beatts, a writer for Saturday Night Live, used to keep a hospital bed in her office at Rockefeller Center. She used it for writing (her typewriter sat where the food tray would normally sit), instead of a desk and chair.


• At age 40, children’s book author Lois Lowry got divorced and started dating, a process she hated, mostly because the men who took her out told her things like they had a wife but were thinking seriously of getting divorced or they had a problem with alcohol but were thinking seriously of quitting drinking. One day, she wore an expensive dress on a date with a rich man who opened the door on what she thought was the driver’s side of his car and motioned for her to get in. She said, “I’d really prefer that you drive,” and he replied, “I’m going to. The steering wheel’s on the other side of a Rolls [Rolls-Royce].” Later, she was watching an episode of Kate and Allie when one of the stars took out a dress from a closet — the same dress that she had been wearing on the date with the rich man — and the other star made fun of it. After that, she still wore the dress, but she didn’t like it as much. Fortunately, on another date she met another man, Martin, who quoted the Babar the Elephant books and who grew a beard after she said that she preferred men who had beards. Today, she shares her life with Martin.

• Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Meyer Berger used to do odd jobs around the house while thinking about how to write an article. One day, the deadline was approaching for a difficult magazine article, so his wife decided to leave him at home so he could write. She entertained some visitors, taking them to a movie and dinner, and when she returned, she discovered that her husband hadn’t typed a single word — but he had polished the silver and run the vacuum cleaner. However, the time spent doing housework was also time spent planning the article. The next day, Mr. Meyer sat down before the typewriter and quickly wrote a very good article.

• As a young man, Dean Koontz kept writing novels and also worked to earn a living, but although he published some books, his writing career seemed to be going nowhere. His wife, Gerda, saw that her husband was worried, so she offered to support him for five years as he wrote, saying, “If you can’t make it in five years, you never will.” Mr. Koontz accepted her offer, and after quitting his job, he started writing for sixty hours a week. At the end of the five years, Mr. Koontz had succeeded to such an extent that his wife quit her job to manage the business end of her husband’s writing career.

• When Kate Mostel and Madeline Gilford decided to write a book of autobiography and anecdotes in conjunction with their famous husbands, Zero Mostel and Jack Gilford, Mr. Mostel was reluctant at first and thought his wife was wasting her time, but after reading a few pages of her writing, he became enthusiastic. In fact, he made a writing room for Kate in their home, and he bought her a writing desk. When a salesman showed him a little writing desk, he said, “No, no. That’s too small. We need a serious writing desk. My wife’s a writer.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


The Funniest People in Books — Buy:



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