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.