Daily Archives: August 4, 2010

 by Mary Roberts Rinehart



It’s a shame the way history rewards some authors and neglects others.  Take, for example, the reputations of Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart.  What’s that, you say?  Mary Roberts Who?  My point, exactly.  Everyone knows Dame Agatha, and more power to the great British mystery writer.  But how many readers know of Rinehart, an American novelist who not only predates Christie but who also, in some ways, surpasses her?  The Case of Jennie Brice is the second Rinehart book I’ve read (following The Circular Staircase), and both novels are delightful.  They contain all of the murder and intrigue a reader expects from a Hercule Poirot story, but Rinehart’s characters are more human – and humorous – than anyone found in Christie.


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 .        Silverman1


In the recent documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, the venerable comedienne insists that, when it comes to standup, no topic is off limits.  That might be true, but when compared to today’s top comedians, old pro Rivers seems awfully tame.

Case in point:  Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic.  Silverman, who joins Kathy Griffin in the upper echelon of American female comics, doesn’t seem to have any limitations:  “Smelly” Mexicans, blacks who don’t leave tips, anus analysis, and dying old people are all just fodder for a routine which, I have to admit, is often hilarious.  What seems to be sad but true is that the crueler the setup, the funnier the payoff.

What separates Silverman from the standup pack is her surface innocence.  Her “who, little old me?” persona and cutie-pie face are at comic odds with her delivery whenever she drops the f-bomb, simulates sex, cracks wise about the Holocaust, and so forth.   It does make me wonder, however, just how well Silverman’s shtick will play when she’s 45 and no longer “cute” – something never an issue for Rivers, and probably not for Griffin, either.

But for now – or, in the case of this concert film, 2005 – Silverman’s politically incorrect, profane, and outrageous offensive works just fine.       Grade:  B




Director:  Liam Lynch  Cast:  Sarah Silverman, Brian Posehn, Laura Silverman, Bob Odenkirk, Kelsie Lynn  Release:  2005


Silverman3                                Silverman4

Silverman5     Watch Trailers  (click here)


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