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Fierce Pajamas: Selections of Humor from an Anthology of Humor Writing from The New Yorker

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  488 ratings  ·  52 reviews
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A cornucopia of literary humor from the magazine that has defined the category for almost a century.

When Harold Ross founded The New Yorker in 1925, he described it as a "comic weekly." And although it has become much more than that, it has remained true in its heart to the founder's description, publishing virtually every accomplished practitioner of l
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Published November 20th 2001 by Random House Audio (first published 2001)
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Jason Koivu
The sort of stuff that would give Oscar Wilde an erection, Fierce Pajamas: An Anthology of Humor Writing from The New York collects some of the best short pieces published in this much revered publication through out its long life. There are short stories, editorials and satire from E.B. White, Woody Allen, Mike Nichols, Groucho Marx, Ogden Nash, James Thurber, Steve Martin, Garrison Keillor, Dorothy Parker, John Lardner, Phyllis McGinley, Jack Handy, and many more.

Filled mostly with clever obs
John Wiswell
Aug 13, 2007 John Wiswell rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Humor readers, people who love The New Yorker
Talk about a mixed bag. Any collection of humor is going to be received differently, but a collection of humor from across decades, some by professional writers, some by actors and some by outright nutjobs is going to have its pieces of genius and its utter flops. Because this is an anthology of humor, the subject matter is all over the place. Communication with the dead, miscommunication in the household, a real-life affair with a literary character, an interview with a man who can only speak i ...more
Oct 10, 2007 Billy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Chris Matthews
This was a wedding present to me from C, and I read it throughout our honeymoon. I felt like a person of timeless, wood-barreled taste and class, going back and reading pieces by James Thurber and E.B. White. Good stuff from the magazine's more literary days (is it me, or are 77% of their articles now about Chanel?)
Fierce pajamas, according to E. B. White, refers to those garments worn to bed in this illness-ridden plagued world, a world wholly unlike the vivacious livelihoods within the pages of a 1930s issue of Harper's Bazaar. It is a lifestyle unattainable, writes White, without vast quantities of quinine on top of delirium. Vogue is the good life, to make no mention of those portrayed within The New Yorker.

What was considered early in its life as the quintessential American humour magazine, The New Yo
This is a good sample of many great humorists, some of whom did their best work in the New Yorker. It runs the gamut from classics like E.B. White, James Thurber, Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, and S.J. Perelman to recent works from Jack Handey (yes, he is a real person), Garrison Keillor, Woody Allen, Steve Martin, and even Noah Baumbach (who has had a phantom career writing humor for the Shouts and Murmurs column in the New Yorker).

In Fierce Pajamas I have also discovered the key to reading
I listened to the CD version of this book while I was driving back from Grand Marais. Some of the pieces in here made me laugh aloud: "Hassidic Tales, with a Guide to their Interpretation" by Woody Allen, "In the New Canada, Living is a Way of Life" by Bruce McColl," and "Writing Is Easy!" by Steve Martin. The one that made me laugh so hard I almost crashed (a liability of listening while driving) was "Glengarry Glen Plaid" by Frank Cammusa and Hart Seely, wherein a phone rep abuses a would-be b ...more
I didn't understand 80% of the humor - and if I weren't marooned in the wilds without interet, I might never have soldiered through the tome. But then what humor I did get was so rip-roariously funny, it was well worth the reading. Particular jewels that stick with me are (1) "Love Trouble is my Business" - a brilliant short story in which "Reagan" and "read Proust" are in every single sentence - must be read to be believed (2) "Tennis Personalities" ... an opinion piece with an opinion I endors ...more
Lori Theis
Definitely not a "cover to cover" read but well worth picking up a few times a month. Ian Fraizer, Jack Handey, Steve Martin and many other fantastic humorists are here who you would otherwise probably not read unless you have a subscription to The New Yorker (and the time to read every issue). Paul Rudnick's "Teen Times" has headline gems like "Cancer: Shut Up!" and "Sweatshops: Can't They Make Our Clothes Without Touching Them?" and Jack Handey's "Thank You for Stopping" is another selection o ...more
Linda Schell
If The New Yorker publishes an author's work, that author has "arrived." Not only has the author arrived in stature, the author's pockets are happy. To obtain a rough idea on ratio, while a small magazine might pay an author $15, the New Yorker pays $250 for the same material.

I love off the wall humor and the absurd. The New Yorker delivers on both. That said, Fierce Pajamas does not deliver. Although I recommend this book as a text book primer, not only because some of the anthologies are hyste
Most of the pieces are pretty good. Jack Handy has an especially Handy-licious one. A few are too dull to finish.

Don't try to read this book cover to cover, unless you really, really like New Yorker humor. I made it about 2/3 through over the course of a month before giving up.

I think this is best suited for a bathroom book or a breakfast book - when a couple of pieces are read at a time. I checked this out from the library and did not have enough time to take it slowly.
This is a long, mixed bag, but there are a few gems that make it worth picking up and plodding along through from time to time. The Rather Difficult Case of Mr. K*A*P*L*A*N; Annoy Kaufman, Inc.; It's Fun to Be Fooled; Are We Losing the Novel Race?; and Insert Flap "A" and Throw Away are a few of the pieces that stood out for me, but I have to admit that A Note on the Type was quite possibly my most favorite part.

I was so charmed by it I read it twice.
I listened to a recording of this anthology. The humorous entries are written by Garrison Keillor, Woody Allen, Steve Martin, Calvin Trillum, Ogden Nash, E. B. White, and others, most of them familiar names to readers. No they're not all men, but most are. Some entries are poetry, most are prose. Some are short and some are long. Some are a little too wordy, but that's not uncommon in New Yorker writing. Some, in my opinion, are not very funny.

My favorite is "The Kuglemass Episode" by Woody All
Amy Barlow
This anthology includes a story in which Emily Dickinson keys a car. 'Nuf said.
Also: Steve Martin teaches us how to overcome writer's block. Woody Allen imagines a hassled affair with Emma Bovary. What if Mamet was forced to write blurbs for a catalog of comfortable clothing?
When I'm blue, this collection can take my sad song and make it better.
When I was little, I would attempt to read my dad's James Thurber anthology (mostly I liked the illustrations) but the humor was always way over my head. Now I love it! Short stories and quick reads seems to be all I have time for right now, so this is perfect.
Mike Bradecich
Jul 26, 2007 Mike Bradecich rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bloggers
On a range of topics and dating back to the 20's, this has some classics that I've read or heard dozens of times and a ton of things that I've never seen. Some pieces are obviously better than others, but the majority are great and all are at least interesting.
I like the idea, but some of the New Yorker humor is a bit high brow for my tastes. That said, some of the pieces were very funny … it just was not consistent. I will certainly try more collections from the New Yorker, though.( unabridged audiobook)
This collection of New Yorker humor pieces is priceless. The essays from the 30's and 40's are still hilarious and represent the work of some terrific writers. Jack Handy has a modern piece that totally cracked me up. Check this out.
Contains very funny pieces by Steve Martin, James Thurber and Groucho Marx; unfortunately, it also has some dated stuff and I was unable to relate. Worth checking out of the ilbrary, which is where I stumbled upon it.
Perhaps one of the best humor anthologies I have ever experienced. My former husband would read it to me before bed, and it would keep me up laughing. It's been years since I last picked it up and I am still laughing!
Some of the pieces make me laugh out loud, others leave me smiling and a few have caused me to scratch my head and wonder what I've missed.
Love the S.J. Perleman stuff, and Steve Martin and Woody Allen and Ian Frazier and all the writers. Kaufmann, Benchley, et al.
I enjoy opening this book to a random page and reading whatever I find. Almost always bring out a good chortle.
Kevin Hodgson
Funny stories and writing here. Not everything is a hit, but mostly, it's good reading fun.
i was given this by my best friend for christmas one year and thought it was hilarious. good find.
I like to just pick around in this out of order... makes it last longer :)
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Narrator: Byron Jennings, Julie Halston, and more
Publisher: Random House AudioBooks, 2001
Length: 5 hours and 51 min.

Publisher's Summary
When Harold Ross founded The New Yorker in 1925, he described it as a "comic weekly." And although it has become much more than that, it has remained true in its irreverent heart to the founder's description, publishing the most illustrious literary humorists of the modern era - among them Groucho Marx, James Thurber, S.J. Perelman, Mik
A. Kuhlii
Ugh. I made it about halfway through, thinking surely there must be something funny just around the corner, but it turned into an awful slog through pretentious, unfunny garbage. Maybe it has something to do with the lack of diversity in authors--out of 138 pieces only 18 are written by women. (Don't know the numbers on authors of color but I'd guess they're abysmal as well). There were a few saving graces--E.B. White's beautiful writing, Geng's Love Trouble is my Business, Gerber/Schwartz's Wha ...more
This anthology contains, without a doubt, some of the funniest pieces of writing I have ever read. The title story, about one guy's reaction to two "fashion" magazines he is given to pass the time during his convalescence, is particularly mirthful. High satire is rarely so funny! I had to check some of the social and celebrity references on Google as the story was published when I was but a twinkle in my daddy's eye! LOL
A few stories in this collection were rather dry. However the good ones deserve as many stars possible. This book is back on my shelf to take down and reread my favorites now and again. For every dry lousy one there were ten very funny ones.
Stephen Dorneman
Reading Fierce Pajamas felt like being out at a bar with Charles Bukowski, Hemingway, and Dorothy Parker -- but everyone is drinking mocktails, sober as the proverbial judge. This is a long collection of short humor pieces from the New Yorker that doesn't happen to be particularly funny. Many of the older pieces are so dated that the modern reader has no idea what people, places, and incidents they refer too, and many others are maddeningly New Yorker-centric. The few classic pieces here, such a ...more
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David Remnick (born October 29, 1958) is an American journalist, writer, and magazine editor. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for his book Lenin s Tomb The Last Days of the Soviet Empire. Remnick has been editor of The New Yorker magazine since 1998. He was named Editor of the Year by Advertising Age in 2000. Before joining The New Yorker, Remnick was a reporter and the Moscow correspondent for Th ...more
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“WHEN you are creeping through the literary underbrush hoping to bag a piece of humor with your net, nothing seems funny,” Russell Baker wrote in a preface to an anthology of American humor that he compiled. “The thing works the other way around. Humor is funny when it sneaks up on you and takes you by surprise.” Yes,” 1 likes
“a cocktail of three parts gin to one part lime juice, honey, vermouth, and apricot brandy in equal portions—a cocktail so delicious” 0 likes
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