Thomas Edison not only invented the phonograph, he was one of the first to mass-market recorded music, along with his competitor Victor’s Victrola player. Edison also curated the music his company, Thomas Alva Edison, Inc. (TAE), released. His notebooks contain some surprisingly funny negative reviews, such as this gem from during World War I, shared on p. 39 of Greg Milner’s Perfecting Sounds Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music:
“If anything would make the Germans quit their trenches it is this…”
The 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat observed, “The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.” I thought of this quotation when looking for a statement from President Trump on his early-term regulatory reform efforts. This is a top quote from a WhiteHouse.gov press release, presumably from its Department of Redundancy Department:
We will get rid of the redundancy and duplication that wastes your time and your money.
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
A clever and wickedly funny novel by two famous collaborators, combining a comedy-of-errors plot with literally irreverent satire. An angel and a demon become good friends, and come to enjoy life on Earth, despite its many foibles. They are dismayed when the time for Armageddon draws near, and scheme behind their bosses’ backs to put a stop it.
Meanwhile, a baby-switching accident at a British hospital leads to the Antichrist being brought up in the wrong town by the wrong family; he turns out to be a normal 11-year old boy, though with some fairly major quirks.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse also put in amusing appearances, though Pestilence retired after modern vaccinations were invented. He was replaced by Pollution, whose youth and incompetence grate on the others. I get the sense Kevin Smith drew more heavily on this book than he should have for his movie Dogma.
The book also contains the famous line, “[C]ourting couples had come to listen to the splish and gurgle of the river, and to hold hands, and to get all lovey-dovey in the Sussex sunset. He’d done that with Maud, his missus, before they were married. They’d come here to spoon and, on one memorable occasion, fork.”
Mike Reiss and Mathew Klickstein – Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons
Reiss has been a writer for The Simpsons for 28 of its 30 seasons, and offers up plenty of Simpsons trivia and inside stories from the writers’ room. Reiss also co-created The Critic and contributed to several well-known animated movies such as Ice Age and has even written children’s books and written jokes for the Pope, of all people. He also discusses what the comedy business is like, what make something funny, and shares funny plenty of stories from throughout his career.
H. Jon Benjamin – Failure Is an Option: An Attempted Memoir
The voice actor and comedian (Archer, Bob’s Burgers) tells funny stories about some of his failures in life. He also gives other humorous examples of failure, including a sexual position based on the Laffer Curve that I shall not describe, except to note that the illustration has properly labeled axes for tax revenues and tax rates.
According to Google, I was recently cited in an article on sandhillsexpress.com. It isn’t nearly as saucy as the URL implies.