The Comedy, Comedians, and Cartoons of Playboy
Beaufort Books 2017
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in CommunicationsNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books Network July 16, 2017 Rebekah J. Buchanan
In her new book, Playboy Laughs: The Comedy, Comedians, and Cartoons of Playboy (Beaufort Books, 2017), Patty Farmer examines the relationship between Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire and some of the most influential comedians and cartoonists of the past 50 years. Farmer explores the ways in which the Playboy Clubs and Resorts of the 1960s and 1970s established spaces for comedians to hone their acts, get paid, and started the careers for many comedians and musicians. She looks at the savvy business decisions of Hefner that led to clubs which have influenced popular culture and society in a variety of ways. Farmer describes how establishing these clubs challenged racial barriers as desegregated comedy clubs in the 1960s as well as gender barriers, giving a performance space to many rising female comedians such as Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers. Farmer also looks at the role Playboy magazine played in launching the careers of many cartoonists such as Shel Silverstein and Al Jaffe and the meticulous attention to detail that Hefner paid to all cartoons and artists used throughout the magazine. Using interviews and oral histories, Farmer presents inside experiences from comedians and cartoonists who owe much of their career to Playboy magazine and Playboy Clubs.
Rebekah Buchanan is an Assistant Professor of English at Western Illinois University. Her work examines the role of narrative–both analog and digital–in people’s lives. She is interested in how personal narratives produced in alternative spaces create sites that challenge traditionally accepted public narratives. She researches zines, zine writers and the influence of music subcultures and fandom on writers and narratives. You can find more about her on her website, follow her on Twitter @rj_buchananor email her at [email protected].