Play Boy

The following was written by Woody Allen and is from this article from yesterday's New York Times.

Over the years, the more I learned about comedy writing (not that there's much one can actually learn, but I suppose a little experience can sometimes help quell the panic) the more I appreciated George S. Kaufman. ...

... Groucho Marx, who was not impressed by much in this world -- he told me he found it hard to keep awake at dinner at T. S. Eliot's and held a kind of reserved view of Perelman, whom I believe to be the single funniest human of my lifetime -- was in genuine awe of Kaufman. I think that was because in addition to Kaufman's comic talent, he had such a thoroughly rigorous command of stagecraft. Kaufman could work at home or late in hotel rooms under pressure and do the hard labor, the tedious, glamourless structuring and rewriting and merciless cutting that is crucial to making comedy breathe. Hart has written about Kaufman's ability to edit and pare to the bone, to throw out jokes should they dare to impede the plot -- to kill his children. Kaufman felt that while a drama could survive with a bit of slack, a comedy had to be airtight. The story is told of a playwright suffering with his opus in Philadelphia who asked Kaufman how he could improve it. Without seeing the failing play, Kaufman replied, "Make it shorter."


Here's a humor piece by George S. Kaufman.