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Satiristas: Comedians, Contrarians, Raconteurs & Vulgarians

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  295 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Featuring our greatest comedic minds on the nature of humor, its relevance in society—and why sometimes you just need a good dirty joke to cleanse the palate—Satiristas is a hilarious multi-voiced manifesto on satire and comedy presented by Paul Provenza, co-creator of The Aristocrats.
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 368 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by It Books (first published October 1st 2008)
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Bossypants by Tina FeyIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy KalingDad Is Fat by Jim GaffiganYes Please by Amy PoehlerBorn Standing Up by Steve Martin
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60th out of 93 books — 118 voters
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19th out of 23 books — 10 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 784)
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Jul 09, 2010 Brita rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2010
actually a very interesting book. the interviews are quite good and provenza worked hard to make the book flow in an interesting and cumulative way. kinda paltry in it's representation of anyone other than white males, though. i would have found a more diverse group more interesting. a recommended read none-the-less.
David Tveite
Oct 26, 2015 David Tveite rated it it was ok
Shelves: comedy
I found out about "¡Satiristas!" through Paul Provenza's recent appearance on Marc Maron's podcast, with which this collection of interviews shares a similar spirit. These are simple, honest conversations, focused loosely on the subject of comedy and satire as an art form. However, the book's biggest strength - the breadth and variety of social commentators represented within - is, in some ways, also its weakness.

"¡Satiristas!" contains some fifty interviews, all with unarguably important voice
A tad moribund, given the ubiquity of comedy podcasting these days.

The seesaw of confessional depth with bumptious party atmosphere in any good episode of Nerdist or WTF or Comedy Death Ray capture what the printed page can often barely register.

Space-restraints also forced Provenza to cut the interviews he did with Fred Willard, Andy Zaltzman, Maria Bamford, Tim Minchin, John Oliver, and Paul F. Tompkins (but again, the myriad-channeled podverse has all of these voices archived), while retain
Jul 04, 2012 Whitney rated it really liked it
A wonderful compilation of interviews from some of my absolute favorite comedians. Anyone who is a TRUE comedy fan needs to own this book, mainly because it holds the last interview done with George Carlin before he passed. It also has interviews with the late Greg Giraldo and Patrice O'Neal. (Btw, my copy is autographed by Lewis Black, who's also interviewed in the book, jealous yet?) ;-D
Mar 13, 2015 Tom rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Comedians make for fascinating interviews, and that is all this book is. It collects relatively short (4-6 page) interviews with various performers, writers, etc. and gets into how they think about comedy, satire, being offensive, being thought-provoking, and personal experiences which inform their performances.

I really enjoyed how the interviews were arranged. I do not believe it was merely chronological. Instead, often times the interviews would create a back and forth on some aspect, such as
Sep 19, 2011 Tarafina rated it really liked it
this should be required reading for every fucking person...
Jul 23, 2010 John rated it liked it
The main focus in Satiristas is on stand-up comedians and tv-show writers or hosts, rather than novelists, columnists, cartoonists, or other kinds of writers. There are many fine insights into using comedy to comment on social and political affairs, and what makes comedy work (or not work). It's obvious that most of these folks work hard at trying to poke holes in the establishment.

The consensus seems to be that for the satire to work, you need to make a point, but more importantly you need make
Jan 04, 2011 Alan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who's ever wondered just why standup comics do what they do...
Recommended to Alan by: Library return shelf
This is not a funny book. There are a few funny bits, but that's not at all the point. To the contrary... this is a deadly serious work, a compendium of interviews with a specific kind of comedian. Satiristas is an intense look at the modern "Contrarians, Raconteurs and Vulgarians" of the subtitle, all talking about their craft, about "speaking truth to power," and about how hard it was to be funny in the first decade of the 21st Century—how political satire was affected by the Bush years, by 9/ ...more
Leila Cohan-Miccio
Mar 20, 2011 Leila Cohan-Miccio rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, comedy
This was a weird one for me...probably more of a 3.5 than a 4. For obvious reasons, I'll read and enjoy any book that is people talking intelligently about comedy. That said, I felt like this book needed some serious editing. The relatively narrow topical focus made me feel like there were too many interviews and none went as in-depth as And Here's The Kicker, which is the gold standard of comedy interview books for me. Also, Paul Provenza inserts himself way too much into the interviews, partic ...more
Jay Clement
Aug 29, 2015 Jay Clement rated it liked it
I've been interested in how comedians think, and how they do their craft. This was a look into that process for a group of comedians loosely defined at satirists. Interesting.
Oct 15, 2010 Emilia rated it it was amazing
I'm less than 100 pages into this and it's already blowing my mind. I'm having a great time reading comedy-related non-fiction right now. If you've got a recommendation for something in that vein, please send it my way.


I've finished reading Satiristas now and I'm convinced I'll have to buy a copy. (Got this one from the library.) It's like a compendium of reasons to stick to your guns, speak boldly and trust that your audience will gravitate to you. The inspirational value of this book ma
May 05, 2011 Icepick rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. Showcasing a broad range of comedians in their roles as thinkers, entertainers and social commentators. The photography is personal and nuanced.

With little exception the author does an amazing job of drawing out the interviewee without strongly inserting himself into the narrative. The rapport and respect that Mr Provenza has with his subjects is obvious and provides a basis for trust that allows them to expound on a broad range of political and social themes.

Dec 09, 2013 Ben rated it it was amazing
This is the best, most comprehensive collection of interviews with comedians I've ever read. It covers all aspects of "satire" - a chimera of a term that has been invoked to cover just about every form of comedy and commentary under the sun. Not just The Daily Show and Colbert but Cheech and Chong, The Onion, The Graduate, the silliness of Monty Python, the songs of Randy Newman, the political rants of Jello Biafra and Janeane Garofalo, and the bizarreness of Mr. Show and Wonder Showzen.
Erin Schroeder
Dec 18, 2012 Erin Schroeder rated it it was amazing
Are you a fan of stand-up comedy and satire? Then you'll probably want to own this book and read it cover to cover -- more than once, even. It has some excellent advice and words of wisdom, along with rants, gripes and more. Provenza is a great resource for this book, and Dion's photography really captures some of these legends and rookies in the best way. Not your typical coffee table book...and I dig that.
Dec 04, 2010 Michael rated it liked it
I wished that I had liked this more, because it's pretty much a who's who of the comics who have helped to shape my sense of humor, and occasionally, my worldview. Carlin, Billy Connolly, The Kids in the Hall, Marc Maron, and plenty of others.

But there's not a lot of depth to the interviews, and they tend to get repetitive after a while.

Worth a read, but I don't know that I'd come back to it.
Chris Nagel
Mar 01, 2013 Chris Nagel rated it really liked it
If you like comedy, especially thinking-person's comedy, and like to read what thinking comics say about thinking-person's comedy, this is pretty cool. Many of the comics Paul Provenza interviewed are remarkably articulate and introspective about their work, which makes sense, and makes even more sense for comics, since their medium is, after all, straightforward language.
Apr 26, 2014 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I bought this book because of Stephen Colbert's interview, but I'm really enjoying what all the other comedians have to say as well. Really interesting to hear everyone's different point-of-view on what they do. It's more of a dip-in and dip-out kind of book as far as I'm concerned, so I just marked it as "finished" at last.
Sep 11, 2013 Matt rated it liked it
Got this book from my parents for my birthday and I've finally started reading it. The introduciton is kind of awful, but so far the interviews are great. The interview with Paul Mooney is particularly insightful - Mooney's thoughts on Michael Richards might be surprising to some, but they're also one hundred percent accurate.
Aug 09, 2010 Marilyn rated it liked it
I learned a lot about the satirical side of today's comics--both stand-up and the comic writers of The Onion and the late night shows. Comedy has gone in a very different direction since the days of Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Buddy Hackett. Worth a read--
Jan 17, 2011 Zach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Table talk of comedians is fantastic reading, and really interesting. It's also a great overview of stand up comedy in the last 30 years. I would like to see paul provenza do more books or movies like this. More than the Aristocrats.
John G.
Jul 26, 2012 John G. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, humorology
Perhaps the best book out there for satirical comedians, an excellent introduction and insight into this subgroup of comics. I understand why comedy is important, even beyond entertaining and making people laugh.
Matt Ockmond
Dec 27, 2010 Matt Ockmond rated it it was amazing
I've read a good handful of books about comedy in the last couple months. This one is the best one by far. Great pace, great choices of people to interview, great photos, great sequencing, great conversations.
Feb 12, 2012 Moss rated it really liked it
Excellent coverage of an interesting subject. A little too broad and shallow. I would have preferred fewer comedians and humorists, but more in-depth interviews—also, more pictures of vaginas.
May 22, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-fun
Thought provoking set of interviews with satirists and comedians--primarily focuses on the state of the American mind and politics, and is far more deep than you expect from the cover.
Oct 26, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
A solid read. The more I liked the comedian, the more I liked his/her interview. (And might I add: holy crap, Greg Giraldo was not a well man. Yikes.) The photos were really well done.
Sep 07, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing
If you like looking behind the scenes, this book is a great collection of interviews with masters of satire. The portraits show so much more character than comedy venue head shots.
Apr 06, 2013 Ricardo rated it it was amazing
Provenza es uno de los mejores periodistas de comedia que hay. No es un libro de humor, es sobre humor y las personas que lo trabajan, muy bello.
Feb 28, 2013 Picklefactory rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The sheer variety of contradictory perspectives that the interviewees had was fascinating; I wish several of them had been ten times as long.
Mar 31, 2013 Perry rated it really liked it
Really good survey of comedians. Shorter than most comedians' podcasts and more to the point. Good read. @PerryMissner
Jun 08, 2010 Donkey21 rated it liked it
Discussing comedy is usually a fruitless exercise, but Provenza coaxes insight out of some of the comedians.
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Paul Provenza is an actor, comedian and filmmaker. Provenza grew up in the Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx and graduated in 1975 from the Bronx High School of Science. Whilst in high school, he started performing stand-up comedy, and at just 17 made his stage debut at the original Improvisation in Manhattan. Provenza continued performing while attending the Ivy League's University of Pennsylva ...more
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