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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Basic Biittner: the Hawtbed of American Humah

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What do Americans find funny these days?

While some people go for the redneck humor of the Blue Collar Comedy Group of Larry the Cable Guy (real name: Dan Whitney), Jeff Foxworthy and company, others dig the 'Real Kings of Comedy '(Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, etc.), another group follows like the old 'In Living Color' group of actors (Jim Carrey, David Alan Grier and the Wayans Brothers), and, of course, the various members and ex-members of the 'Saturday Night Live' troupe all have their fans as well.

But, as much as I hate to admit it, me being a lifelong New York Yankees fan and all, I have recently come to the startling conclusion that the humor I appreciate the most these days comes from a lot of guys born, raised and/or educated in the Boston area.

Though not widely thought of as such, the Boston area may well be the hotbed of late 20th Century - early 21st Century American humor.

To wit (pardon the pun):

1937 - Tom Magliozzi , born in East Cambridge, Mass., Magliozzi later graduated from the Massachustts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.)

1949 - his brother Ray Magliozzi is born in Cambridge, Mass. He too, later graduated from M.I.T. The Magliozzis are better known today as "Click and Clack," the witty automobile consultants on NPR and in newspapers throughout the country, including the Chronicle Times.

1950 - Jay Leno, born in New Rochelle, NY, but grew up in Andover, Mass., and graduated from Boston's Emerson College. Stand-up Comedian, long-time host of the Tonight Show and current host of "The Jay Leno Show."

1955 - Steven Wright - born in Cambridge, Mass., also graduated from Emerson College. He may be my favorite comedian of all - the dry, droll, balding master of "the one-liner that makes you think."

1963 - Conan O'Brien - born in Brookline, Mass., and graduated from Harvard University in Cambridge. Initially a writer for first Saturday Night Live and then The Simpsons; host of Late Night with Conan O'Brien for many years, and current host of the Tonight Show.

Though their styles vary, all of these guys tickle my funnybone - even if they are from the land of the hated Red Sox. Oh well - I've loved the Boston Celtics for as long as I have the Yankees.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner