Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Love to Hear From Happy Readers

This is how authors dream their day will start -- with an 8:15am note from an appreciative, happy, insightful, grateful, obviously intelligent and unusually perceptive reader of the highest possible taste.

That is, one that loves your book.

Dear Mr. Cohen
Thank you so very much for OVERWEIGHT SENSATION.
As a Jewish Babyboomer, I grew up with Allan Sherman's music.
I found his autobiography in the library many years ago, and still
have a copy.  But your book is simply wonderful.  What a joy.
And thank you for including the lyrics.

With warm regards,

Thank you again, Fran!

Sherman News for (Jewish) New Yorkers

Overweight Sensation has gotten a lot of press, but not in New York.

But now The Jewish Week's Sandee Brawarsky writes, 

"Mark Cohen has written a most comprehensive and accessible biography, “Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman” (Brandeis University Press), complete with lyrics of songs recorded and others that were never released. Cohen succeeds in presenting the fullness of Sherman’s larger-than-life personality, the family background that led to his original take on Jewish life and the connection of his life’s work to the world of American Jewish humor."


I mean, there was great coverage in Newsday, but that's Long Island.

And the Forward, which is NY-centric but not NY-specific. (Not sure that makes sense.)

Hold on. There was my interview with WNYC's Soundcheck, which was great. And also Women's Wear Daily

So, actually, the new Jewish Week review is not the first New York press. 

Muddah, Fadduh kindly disregard this letter.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Amazon Reviewers Give Book 5 Stars

"Who knew that a biography on Allan Sherman would be my favorite book?"

That's a line from my now favorite Amazon Customer Review (below)

That's the latest from the Amazon customer reviews, where 15 of the 17 reviewers gave the book 5 Stars.

All you Sherman book lovers out there, please keep spreading the word!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"Hello Muddah" Turns 50

On July 26, 1963, Allan Sherman played the Hollywood Bowl and there sang -- for apparently the first time -- his soon-to-be mega-hit, "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!"

As the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner reported the next day under the headline "Sherman (Al) Marches through Bowl; Leaves Wake of Laughter,"

"His newest, a take-off on a homesick boy at camp, is his best. It is belly-laugh material and parents will revel in its so-true-to-life barbs"

"Hello Muddah" madness had begun.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Call In To Ask Questions of Sherman Bio Author on July 24

More info at Stu's Show website.

Forward Newspaper Calls Sherman Bio "Exhaustive and Gripping"

The latest review of Overweight Sensation in The Forward agrees with earlier ones from Chicago Tribune, The Hollywood Reporter, Library Journal, and more.

It's good!

"Sherman was radically tweaking postwar American Jewish life while paving the way for a whole slew of Jewish-flavored American comedy — from Mel Brooks to Woody Allen to Robert Klein and David Brenner, all the way through to Jerry Seinfeld and the Larry David of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” as Mark Cohen convincingly argues in his exhaustive and gripping new biography, “Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman.”

Monday, July 8, 2013

WGN Radio Interview, For Non-Chicagoans

Starting at 1:00 am Chicago time on July 3 (though I guess it was really July 4), I spent an hour on WGN talking about Allan Sherman. 

It was great.

Here it is for everyone outside Chicago, and for Chicagoans that sleep at night.

Sherman and Me Are In Purple Clover (a good thing)

A Q&A with me about the Fat Man in Purple Clover, a new website that wants to resist classification (good for them).

And the story includes a link to Larry David singing "Shake Hands With Your Uncle Max," which needs to get around more.

Library Journal's Verdict: Recommended

"Cohen (Missing a Beat: The Rants and Regrets of Seymour Krim) presents a well-researched, interesting study of song parodist Allan Sherman. . . . The book also functions as a well thought out cultural history of Jewish Americans in the mid- to late 20th century." 

If you subscribe to Library Journal you can read the whole review here.

If not, I've posted it below.  (From Overweight Sensation's Barnes & Noble page.)

Library Journal
Cohen (Missing a Beat: The Rants and Regrets of Seymour Krim) presents a well-researched, interesting study of song parodist Allan Sherman. Sherman was one of the first Jewish comedians to become internationally famous with Borscht Belt-style, Jewish-specific material, such as his biggest hit, "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh." (President Kennedy was one notable fan.) The book describes Sherman's early years, when he moved all over the country after his parents split up; his college years at the University of Illinois, where he first became known for his novelty songs and where his goofball antics later got him expelled; and his rapid fame and decline into obscurity. Sherman struggled with lung disease and diabetes later in life and died in 1973, two years shy of his 50th birthday. Cohen's goal is to ensure that Sherman gets the credit he deserves for his groundbreaking comedy. The book also functions as a well thought out cultural history of Jewish Americans in the mid- to late 20th century. VERDICT Recommended for readers interested in Jewish comedy, Allan Sherman, song parodies, and comedian biographies.—Sally Bryant, Pepperdine Univ. Lib., Malibu, CA