Funnymen: A Novel

Funnymen: A Novel

Ted Heller

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 0743212630

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

SIGMUND "ZIGGY" BLISSMAN isn't the best-looking, sanest boy in the world. Far, far from it. But this misfit child of a failed husband-and-wife vaudeville team has one (and only one) thing going for him: He can crack people up merely by batting his eyelashes.And Vittorio "Vic" Fontana, the son of a fisherman, is a fraud. Barely able to carry a tune or even stay awake while attempting to, the indolent baritone (if that's what he is) has one thing going for him: Women love to look at him.On their own, they're failures. But on one summer night in the Catskills, they step onstage and together become the funniest men -- and the hottest act -- in America."Funnymen" is the wildly inventive story of Fountain and Bliss, the comedy duo that delighted America in the 1940s and '50s. Conceived as a fictional oral biography and filled with more than seventy memorable characters, "Funnymen" details the extraordinary careers of two men whose professional success is never matched in their personal lives. The two men fight constantly with their managers, their wives, their children, their mistresses, and those responsible for their success: each other. The stories recounted about Vic and Ziggy -- and the truths Heller reveals about human ambition, egotism, and friendship -- make "Funnymen" a wild ride of a novel that is also a rare and imaginative masterpiece of storytelling.

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his kids. See, I knew that Vic loved me, and the others was just garbage to him. Garbage. I knew he'd come back to me. JANE WHITE: I got pregnant on my honeymoon and before I was even showing, everybody could tell because I was looking so radiant! Dr. Baer really saved my life. Ziggy and I moved to a large apartment on Central Park West and Seventieth Street. We would go out for dinner often, sometimes with Danny and Betsy, but she used to upset me because she drank so much. She was a

still close with Ginger, right?” “I am.” “Look, can you tell her I don't wanna see her anymore?” “Um, that's for you to do, Vic.” “Come on, Bease. I say it, she'll get mad at me. You say it, she won't get mad at you.” “Well, that's true, yes. But it's not me that's getting rid of her—it's you.” “Just do it for me. Tell her if she wants me to take care of her, you know, like with dough and stuff, I'll do it. She wants a planet, I'll get her one.” “I don't think she'd take a cent from you.”

ambient production. The song was in the Top 10 for over fifteen weeks. He sang that song hundreds and hundreds of times. But I don't think he had any idea who or what it was about. REYNOLDS CATLEDGE IV: In September of 1963 Vic Fountain and I had lunch in his suite at the Beverly Wilshire. Also present at this encounter were Andy Ravelli, Ernie Beasley, and three other individuals. “I wanna do a solo thing, Cat,” he told me. “I wanna just get a taste of it.” “A solo show?” I asked. “This

ain't going on with some nickel-and-dime army band.” While Oppie and Woody now confabbed in a corner for a second, Ziggy, Vic, and I took the opportunity to similarly huddle together. “This place is death,” Vic said. “I want out.” “This is important, guys,” I said. “Vic's right, Latch,” Ziggy chimed in. “I'd rather play a prison full of condemned deaf mutes than this joint.” “Look, we do one show, we do two hours, then we get going. The Astor canceled on us because of Vic's toes. The

naturally I did not say that aloud. He'd brought a chum along, that diminutive scrappy fellow named Guy. Working feverishly, over the course of several weeks we incorporated Victor into the act. I think he and Guy were staying at a hotel near Hanover Street. He was, I must allow, very eager to learn and was quite punctual. Vern Hapgood was our arranger. He was a New Haven man, had taught choral music there, and had the reputation of being a martinet. He was a perfectionist, yes, but was not

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