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Personal favorites for me include Dave Barry Slept Here, which I consider one of the better historical satires published in the last few decades, and Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway, which is a solid piece of political humor.
So let's hear what everyone thinks, whether you enjoy him or not.
Harry Anderson played him on TV for a while, if I recall correctly. I like Harry as the wise guy, juggling, master of slight-of-hand character he did on stage and played on Cheers, but I have no idea why he agreed to do Dave's World.
I guess I'll have to try one of his books. Everyone else I know thinks Dave Barry is a comic genius. I'm not seeing it.
Well, he did get a Pulitzer. For writing booger jokes, as he put it. :-)
I don't know about light and family friendly. Anyone who has ever done the Tropic Hunt will tell you that the man is diabolical.
Earnest & Zippy? I saw them do tricks one time. They ate dog biscuits, as I recall. :-)
So how come only WorldMaker & I list him as a favorite author? With all these skeptics around. . . .
No one can be funny 100% of the time, to deadline, for 21 years. But Dave Barry was so funny for most of that time that people around the office water cooler were still laughing about his column on Mondays. I can remember spending an hour reading his annual review of the year, having to keep stopping to gasp for breath and wipe away tears.
That's a good summary of it really. (It's just like Scott Adams and Dilbert; most people don't like 100% of Dilbert but there are so many juicy nuggets that become water cooler talk.) I can hand you an old column of his I find hysterical and you might not. On the other hand, I hand you a book of his columns, and we'll both find some good laughs. Many of his "single topic" books, like his one on Dogs, or Worst Songs, or Computers, are some of the strongest humor sources in that topic of the world.
Then he has novels, which I think are just about classic contemporary ensemble American humor novels. They are flawed, in their own way, but I think they are possibly more unique because of the flaws. Watching the transition where Dave Barry realizes that he can't just write random funny things and needs some of that old fashioned "plot" and "character development" in Big Trouble is just as entertaining as so many other fun things in the book. (...and there's a lot in there.) It's a fun book to point out, too, because there is the good, albeit woefully mis-timed, Sonnenfeld film that has enough of a fraction of the book's weird humor that it is easy enough to then point them to the book as a source for more humor...
In my smaller office it was really the coffee maker that drew the crowd.
My favorite column of all time was the one he wrote about consumer packaging. How they make pill bottles "safe" so no one can open them?
I recall something like this:
"There is a plastic cap and you have to line up an invisible line with an invisible arrow while simultaneously pushing down and pulling up. Then you encounter a feisty little piece of foil made of the stuff they use to protect space shuttles from atmospheric re-entry. After that a piece of cotton the size of a small sheep..."
Not a direct quote but as best as my memory can get it..
My only complaint is that he tends to use the same metaphors and similes often. Such as "he had the IQ of tuna casserole" and of course, weasels and boogers aplenty.
Count me in as a Dave Barry fan.
#7 I agree - his annual year end reviews were the best!
Christmas 2007 my family passed around The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog which is a quick read and we all laughed until we cried.