by Fred Van Lente
Let’s face it: When you pick up a book like Ten Dead Comedians, you aren’t expecting Tolstoy or Hemingway. You are looking for escapism.
Van Lente’s high-concept plot is enticing: Based on And Then There Were None, the story has a gaggle of comedians picked off, one by one, on a secluded Caribbean island. Who’s doing it? Who cares?
The comics are clearly based on well-known personalities, including (I presume) Joan Rivers, Margaret Cho, Carrot Top, and Larry the Cable Guy. (I could be wrong — it might be Kathy Griffin, Jeff Foxworthy, Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, or composites of the above. You tell me.)
As in real life, some of the sparring, dying characters’ verbal zingers hit the mark, others fall flat. The book confirms what you probably already suspect: You want your favorite comedians on stage in a club; you do not want them living next door to you. They are often unpleasant people.
Aside from its ending, which doesn’t stretch credibility so much as demolish it, the book gits-r-done as an amusing time-killer.
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