They are comedy legends: Lucille Ball, Phyllis Diller, Carol Burnett, and Joan Rivers! Cinderella had a glass slipper, but comics have clown shoes that leave footprints on our fannies and handprints on our hearts. Queens of Comedy includes Dr. Sue’s personal interviews with great stars, show business advice, comedy secrets, and insights into humor and gender.
Dr. Sue Horowitz asks pertinent questions, receives candid answers, and offers a banquet of food for thought. What can these great ladies of laughs teach us about how to be funny, appeal to audiences, look fabulous (yes, they do, despite the self-deprecating jokes), overcome obstacles, and make a success in show business – or any business? How do they connect (they must – or they wouldn’t be so popular) with the lives and fantasies of people all over the world? Do they simply reflect gender roles (with a girlish giggle)? Or do their imaginative schemes, clever remarks, and the fact that they are outrageously funny women challenge and undermine those roles?
Dr. Sue shows how gifted performers turn their lives into laughs and indelible stage and screen personalities. These show business icons share their secrets of comic delivery, writing, and connecting to audiences. They also share details about their personal lives – often a triumph of sheer determination over harsh adversity. They made hard choices, honed their talents, and turned private pain into public success – and laughed all the way to the bank!
Dr. Sue also places her four queens in context in the grand tradition of female comedy, present and past - Ellen DeGeneres, Tina Fey, Goldie Hawn, Joy Behar, Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Elayne Boosler, Mae West, Sophie Tucker, Moms Mabley, Fanny Brice, Totie Fields Gracie Allen and other talented but less-known performers. These great ladies of laughs stormed the barricades (or charmed the guards) to gain admittance to the “all-boys club” of traditional comedy. They challenged stereotypes and stigmas that limit all of us. They know the difference between being the butt of a sexist joke and the self-defined subject of a laugh-line and – and so should we.
Queens of Comedy is a fun, thoughtful glimpse into the private lives, public personae, and comic craft of these great ladies of laughs. Anthologies of comedians often ignore or minimize the talents of funny women – despite their powerful presence in media that reach millions of people all over the world.
Dr. Sue’s engaging book makes a lively, original, cogent argument that it’s all about sex appeal, comic appeal and power – and that show business is everybody’s business. Queens of Comedy shows that, like the queens on a chess board, women comics can be powerful, make the last move, and have the last word!
“Susan Horowitz has analyzed female comedy and dissected it clear to the bone. She’s used a fine-tooth-comb to find motivation, why and how. Queens of Comedy is truly a textbook worthy of study.” – Phyllis Diller, Comedienne
“The subject of women who make people laugh seems an ongoing source of interest. And just when you thought everything had been said, along comes Susan Horowitz with a whole new slant. A must for the student of comedy and anyone else who wants to crack the mystery of estrogen-induced yuks.” – Joy Behar, Comedienne
"Dr. Sue Horowitz is a wonderful combination of somebody who puts women's comedy in context, and is a funny, effervescent performer!" -- Regina "Gina" Barreca, Ph.D., Author/Editor/ Professor of English Literature and Feminist Theory at the University of Connecticut
"Queens of Comedy is informative, original, and vastly entertaining - a must-read for comedy fans and a seriously funny way to look at gender roles."
-- Professor Barbara Foster, Librarian, Hunter College/CUNY