Dave Barry

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Dave Barry

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1coffeezombie
Giu 3, 2007, 12:10pm

One of the most popular humor columnists in American newspaper history and yet he doesn't get nearly the respect he deserves, probably because he comes off as being a light and family friendly, which can get a little wearing. It's part of the work of being a newspaper columnist yet anyone who has read his political humor can tell you he really knows his stuff, even if he doesn't take it too seriously. In any case, he's an excellent humor stylist. I've been reading him almost since I could read, and though I've slipped away from his works the past few years, he's still a formative influence.

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.

2WorldMaker
Giu 14, 2007, 8:58pm

I've long enjoyed his writing... I particularly liked his novels, Big Trouble and Tricky Business.

3WholeHouseLibrary
Giu 15, 2007, 3:18am

I've read his column only occasionally, and thought it was pretty lame. I will admit that it was during a period in my life when there was virtually ~nothing~ was funny to me. I'm feeling much better now.... I think I'd like to go for a walk...

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.

4finalbroadcast
Giu 15, 2007, 1:54pm

I've read some stuff more impressed by his sti-com starring Harry Anderson

5quartzite
Giu 15, 2007, 3:10pm

He has long been a favorite and anything he writes about dogs sends me right over the edge into helpless laughter.

6myshelves
Giu 15, 2007, 4:04pm

#1
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.

#5
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.

7WorldMaker
Lug 13, 2007, 4:28am

»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...

8gregtmills
Lug 13, 2007, 11:28pm

Where is this watercooler I keep hearing about, where people discuss tv shows and humor columns?

9myshelves
Lug 13, 2007, 11:51pm

His occasional serious writing is damn good too. The "Lost in America" article about his mother, included in The World According to Dave Barry, had more of an impact on me than a stack of 400-page accounts of personal tragedies.

10myshelves
Lug 13, 2007, 11:54pm

#8,

In my smaller office it was really the coffee maker that drew the crowd.

11BookAngel_a
Dic 16, 2007, 3:30pm

I have loved his writing for years and nearly cried when he retired from writing a regular column. He is a great serious writer when he chooses to be. But my best memories are laughing so hard I cried while reading his columns and books aloud with my family.
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.

Angela

12chiclets
Gen 10, 2009, 8:47am

I love his humor. His piece about having a colonoscopy had me laughing so hard I was sobbing!

13CarolO
Modificato: Gen 14, 2009, 11:47pm

edited to add my message which strangely did not save...

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.