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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that way. “The nerve of that fuck!” he said. “Yeah, I know,” I told him. “But what exactly is he saying?” “All kinds of things, Mick! He says that I thought it was unprofessional that he didn't go on when he had a cold!” “But didn't you think it was?” I asked him. “But it turns out he never had a cold! He even says that here. I would've thought it was unprofessional if he said he had a cold and he didn't have one, but I didn't know that till now. He says there was a rumor that I had someone

New York under the name of Jane Q. Doakes—Arnie come up with that name. She didn't know this though . . . I mean, Morty Geist is telling us to muffle this thing big time and Lulu's got enough worries right now, right, what with it being her first kid. So we get her her own room and the nurses and residents keep calling her Mrs. Doakes. But she's so out of it she don't even notice. Once in a while she'd ask if Vic was comin' and I told her I didn't know. Hey, I knew! I knew that Vic was three

part of the “Hollywood kids” scene. I didn't go to parties with Frank Sinatra's or Liz Taylor's kids. I didn't go driving around with Tuesday Weld or Ann-Margret or Peter Fonda or anyone like that. As a matter of fact I never went to parties and rarely drove around with anyone. But I don't want to give the wrong impression. I saw the way Vic Fountain was with Vince, and Dad was not like that with me. He wasn't distant, he wasn't unaffectionate. He was there for me when he could be and was very

asked me out to Schrafft's one day and they began talking to each other about how funny and talented Ziggy was and how rich he was going to be. I finished my ham and mayonnaise on white bread and as we were leaving, Sally said to me, “So, Janie, are you seeing anybody?” “I have a few beaus, Sally,” I said. I began to rattle off the names of my admirers: Keenan Maynard, Jimmy Hetfield, Mitchell George (of the Connecticut Georges). “Why don't you and Ziggy maybe go out on a date? Have dinner

he'd pretend to be hurt. But after a few minutes he'd just rear back and let loose a haymaker. Even “Steady” Eddie Teller got in the ring but General Woodling told Hunny to not hurt this guy, he was important, so Hunny played nice. (Not the first time he took a dive.) Woodling was sitting with this blond dish, the same broad we'd seen in the jeep a few days before. This girl could've been a movie star, all the bits and pieces were in the right place. But she wasn't having such a great time right

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