Archive for the ‘Humor Writing’ Category

Laughing Matters

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Every so often, one of my essays ends up in a college textbook. It’s a delightful honor, of course. But I’m always just a bit freaked out by the thought of someone writing an essay analyzing one of my essays.

My latest textbook appearance is in Laughing Matters, a “comic rhetoric” textbook by Stanford University’s Marvin Diogenes. It’s a great book, and I’m really proud to have a humor column (actually a satirical music lesson contract between parents and child) included in the “forensic rhetoric” section, along with pieces by Chekhov, Benjamin Franklin, and Ian Frazier.

And happily, it’s NOT a what-not-to-do example.

An Ode To Political Writer’s Block

Friday, April 24th, 2009

An Ode To Political Writer’s Block
By Madeleine Begun Kane

I’ve nothing amusing to write
Cuz I feel uninspired tonight.
Yes I’m riled at the press
And our horrible mess,
But my funny bone’s missing its bite.

I’m hoping tomorrow will bring
Some news that will make my wit sing—
That a wingnutty troll
Will do something droll,
And my humor once more will take wing.

Bob Newhart Names “Mad” Kane Winner of 2008 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Back in June I was thrilled to announce that I was a 2008 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor Competition finalist. (The humor column that got me onto the finalists list is Guide For The Opera Impaired.

Well, I’m now beyond thrilled because Bob Newhart, the finalists judge, picked me as the FIRST PRIZE winner.

Mr. Newhart even sent me a handwritten personal note (reproduced below) explaining why he named me for the top Robert Benchley Society humor award.

Right now I’m verging on euphoria —a dangerous condition for a satirist.  But just to be mentioned in the same sentence as Mr. Benchley and Mr. Newhart is almost beyond comprehension.

Here’s Mr. Newhart’s note. (Needless to say, I plan to frame the original.)

Bob Newhart Letter

UPDATE: I’m very pleased that my award has generated a fair amount of publicity.  This article in Gannett’s Journal News is probably the best of the stories.  And it has a fun companion video of me reading one of my humor columns.

A Humorist’s Lament (Covering The New Yorker Cover Brouhaha In Verse) – Updated

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

By now, everyone’s surely seen Barry Blitt’s New Yorker cover, depicting Barack Obama as a flag-burning, bin Laden-loving, fist-bumping Muslim.  Intended to satirize “The Politics of Fear,” the image is being widely criticized as reinforcing the very stereotypes it seeks to mock.

Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow has a very interesting take on the topic here and here, as does cartoonist Ruben Bolling here, and Don Davis here, here, here, and here.  The New York Times queries some late night talk show hosts here and Mark Karlin of Buzzflash speaks out here.

Here’s my view in verse:

A Humorist’s Lament
Madeleine Begun Kane

A humorist like me sure knows
How tough it is to write, compose,
And sketch satiric toons and prose
And poems.  It’s not without its woes.

For instance, Barry Blitt’s lampoon,
New Yorker’s well-intentioned toon,
Is meant to show as crass buffoon
The lie and bias-spreading goon.

The humor quand’ry, if you please:
This toon could fit with equal ease
In any right-wing, racist sleaze
And readily its readers please.

That’s why it draws this fit of pique
For spreading what it would critique,
Confirming to the knowledge-weak:
Barack Obama — Terr’ist Sheik!

Update: Some more funny people have chimed in on this topic: skippy; David Horsey; Jon Swift; and Talk About Comics.[tags]Barack Obama, New Yorker Cover, Barry Blitt, Tom Tomorrow, Ruben Bolling, Racial Stereotypes, Media Humor, Election Coverage Satire[/tags]

I’m a 2008 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor Finalist.

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Cool news! I’m a 2008 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor Competition finalist. (The humor column that got me onto the finalists list is Guide For The Opera Impaired.)

“We had a delightful time selecting our top ten finalists this year,” said Robert Benchley Society chairperson David Trumbull. “It is a true honor to turn the job of selecting the top four essays over to Bob Newhart.”

“All of the entries are read blind. No one knows who wrote which essay until the judging is finished. This keeps the competition entirely merit based,” said Horace J. Digby, a past Benchley Society Award winner…

Newhart’s selection and ranking of the top four winners for this year’s Robert Benchley Society Awards will be announced the week of July 6th.

The Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor is an international writing competition dedicated to the warm, self-effacing comic writing style that made Benchley so beloved during his lifetime. …

I thought I’d celebrate with a limerick:

I can barely maintain my sobriety
Cuz the great Robert Benchley Society
Held a contest and wow,
I’m a finalist now.
Will I win the top prize? High anxiety!