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From the preeminent historian of modern comedy comes an expansive history of showbiz and the culture wars
There is a common belief that we live in unprecedented times, that people are too sensitive today, that nobody objected to the actions of actors, comedians, and filmmakers in the past. Modern pundits would have us believe that Americans of a previous generation had tougher skin and seldom complained. But does this argument hold up to scrutiny?
In Outrageous, celebrated cultural historian Kliph Nesteroff demonstrates that Americans have been objecting to entertainment for nearly two hundred years, sometimes rationally, often irrationally. Likewise, powerful political interests have sought to circumvent the arts using censorship, legal harassment, and outright propaganda. From Mae West through Johnny Carson, Amos ’n’ Andy through Beavis and Butt-Head, Outrageous chronicles the controversies of American show business and the ongoing attempts to change what we watch, read, and hear.
About the Author
Kliph Nesteroff has been called the “premier popular historian of comedy,” by the New York Times. He is the author of two previous books, The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy and We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans and Comedy. His work has been praised by comedy legends from Gilbert Gottfried to Mel Brooks, Fred Willard to Norm Macdonald.
“Outrageous is required reading. An essential book of the social history of the United States—with laughs.”—Steve Martin
“Outrageous is an enlightening and entertaining, detailed, and wide-ranging (and fun!) overview of the never-ending war between censorship and comic voices in showbiz going all the way back into the 1800s. Kliph Nesteroff is an expert unparalleled on the history of comedy, and this couldn’t be a more perfect book for our times. I loved it.”—Bob Odenkirk
“Kliph Nesteroff is the Doris Kearns Goodwin of comedy. Outrageous is thought-provoking and often hilarious. I was only offended eight times.”—Judd Apatow