Silent Comedy

Silent Comedy

by PaulMerton (Author)


On the surface it may seem slightly surprising that a master of verbal humour should also be a devotee of silent comedy, but Paul Merton is completely passionate about the early days of Hollywood comedy and the comic geniuses who dominated it. His knowledge is awesome - as anyone who watched his BBC 4 series "Silent Clowns" or attended the events he has staged nationwide will agree - his enthusiasm is infectious, and these qualities are to be found in abundance in his new book. Starting with the very earliest pioneering short films, he traces the evolution of silent comedy through the 1900s and considers the works of the genre's greatest exponents - Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Harold Lloyd - showing not only how each developed in the course of their career but also the extent to which they influenced each other. At the same time, Paul brings a comedian's insight to bear on the art of making people laugh, and explores just how the great comic ideas, routines, gags and prat-falls worked and evolved. His first book for ten years, this richly illustrated history of silent comedy is destined to be a classic.


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More Information

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 336
Edition: First Edition
Publisher: Random House Books
Published: 25 Oct 2007

ISBN 10: 1905211708
ISBN 13: 9781905211708
Book Overview: One of our foremost comedians shares his passion for the greats of the silent comedy era

Media Reviews
The best silent comedians were popular throughout the world because there was no language barrier. Charlie Chaplin was huge in India and the best of the silent comedies are as funny today as they were eighty years ago. Paul Merton Merton brings his considerable knowledge and comedic insight to bear upon the silent greats...beautifully produced and illustrated, Silent Comedy is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the silent era. Waterstones Books Quarterly
Author Bio
Paul Merton was born in 1957, long before such things were fashionable. He spent his first eight years living within cheering distance of Fulham Football ground at Craven Cottage although he can't remember any cheering. Upon leaving school with two ropey A Levels and a CSE Grade 5 Maths, Paul enlisted in the Civil Service where he survived for two and a half years. He made his stand-up debut at London's Comedy Store in 1982 where his policeman on acid routine regularly stopped the show. In 1985 he joined the Comedy Store Players, an improvised comedy group which led, in 1988, to him appearing on Whose Line is it Anyway? for the first few series before he couldn't stick it anymore. He has appeared on Have I Got News For You as a team captain since 1990 and is also proud of his other long running gig, Radio 4's Just a Minute. Other TV highlights include his eponymous surreal sketch series from 1991-3; interviewing Spike Milligan in what was to be his last major television appearance as host of Room 101; and making several programmes about early cinema, including The Birth Of Hollywood which he co-wrote with his wife, Suki Webster. He still performs with the Comedy Stores Players every Sunday.