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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Andy Borowitz’s marketing copy for The Library of America: “Does being funny get you girls?”

Andy Borowitz, an author and comedian whose work appears in The New Yorker and on his satirical website, Borowitz Report, is currently at work on a forthcoming Library of America anthology, The 50 Funniest American Writers* (*According to Andy Borowitz).

We asked Andy if he would be willing to write “something about the book for the catalog.” Here’s what he sent us:
Does being funny get you girls?

Growing up in Ohio, I was convinced that it did. I got this from a source I took to be representative of all women: Playboy centerfolds. Every issue, the Playmate Data Sheet would, with astonishing consistency, indicate that Miss Whenever’s turn-on was “a sense of humor.” (Turn-off? “Phony people.”) I vowed to be a hilarious sincere person who would have sex with lots of naked people named Brandi.

I accepted this view of humor-as-pheromone despite mountains of real-world evidence to the contrary. At Shaker High, the girls mainly went for jocks whose idea of a witty retort was a wedgie. And if I had looked a little more closely at Playboy’s monthly “Party Pics” feature, I might have noticed that the bunnies at Hef’s Mansion gravitated towards the laps of people like Lee Majors, the star of “The Six Million Dollar Man” and not, to my knowledge, a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table.

What being funny got me, mostly, was a lot of free time. While the jocks were busy having tantric romps with cheerleaders, I kept myself occupied by reading Mark Twain, Woody Allen, and the many comic geniuses of The National Lampoon. Little did I know then that, over the course of a thousand dateless nights, a Library of America collection was being born.

So, getting back to my original question: does being funny get you girls? No. It gets you to be the editor of a humor anthology.
The author of six books, Borowitz is the first-ever winner of the National Press Club’s humor award and a two-time finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor. The 50 Funniest American Writers will appear this September; we’ll post the list of selections for the volume on this blog early in the summer.

And Andy’s stab at marketing copy will, in fact, appear in the Fall 2011 catalog issued later this month by Viking, distributor of The Library of America’s books to the trade.


  1. Well done! And I hope he includes Edgar Allan Poe's "X-ing a Paragrab" - it makes me laugh every time. Oh, and don't forget Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes!

  2. What a fun assignment... damn, so many, I hope Sedaris makes list... his books/short stories make me laugh out loud...

  3. Actually, I love your article, but humor does get girls...just fyi...intelligent humor...it's a must on the "things I love in a man list"

  4. Rhonda -
    Sedaris of course makes the list! Hope you like the book: http://amzn.to/rffSBR

  5. George Washington Harris. 'nuff said.

  6. I'm by far the funniest person I know but the girl still go for the good looking idiots.

  7. What, no Vonnegut? That is a sad omission, the closest thing to a 20th Century Mark Twain.

  8. Being funny may not get you girls initially -- when we're young, beautiful, and shallow -- but as we mature into intelligent, middle-aged women, being funny can't hurt. And being funny will allow you to keep SMART women interested.

  9. You left out Donald Westlake and
    H. Allen Smith and Mary Breasted,
    but then again I probably would have
    neglected a lot of writers he included.
    I look forward to reading the book.

    If you can make a woman laugh in bed
    you're sure to be welcomed back - and if
    not you're free to keep looking for a
    better audience.

  10. The two most common things I've had said to me by women that I never slept with:

    1. "Looks are not that important to me."
    2. "You are the funniest guy I know".

    ...So this humor editor gig, it pay alright?

  11. Agree with Rhonda. It's the second thing on my list. "Must make me laugh" ...and not cheesy corny stuff. It has to be smart, kind, (not sarcasm) and engaging humor.


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