Last weekend, I went with my husband to see “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” at a cinema in San Francisco.   The film showed a year in the life of this iconic comedian, who is still happiest when she is on stage at the age of 77. 

In the King James Version of the Bible, Proverbs 17:22, one finds “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” 

We all need a good laugh to get by and some of the biographies of famous comedians past and present make for very good reading.  Here are some of my own recommendations, which are all available through the Alameda County Library:

700 Sundays / by Billy Crystal                                                        B CRYSTAL, B

All my best friends / George Burns; written by David Fisher         B BURNS, G

American on purpose : the improbable adventures of an unlikely patriot / Craig Ferguson

                                                                                                          B  FERGUSON, C

The amorous busboy of Decatur Avenue : a child of the fifties looks back / Robert Klein                                                                                                         B KLEIN, R 

Bob Hope, a life in comedy / by William Robert Faith                  B HOPE, B 

Bouncing back : I’ve survived everything– and I mean everything– and you can too! / Joan Rivers                                                                                                B RIVERS, J

 Buster Keaton remembered / Eleanor Keaton and Jeffrey Vance ; afterword by Kevin Brownlow ; Manoah Bowman, photographic editor ; photographs from the collection of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences                                                    B KEATON, B

Charlie : the life and art of Charlie Chaplin [videorecording] / written and directed by Richard Schickel ; produced by Richard Schickel, Doug Freeman, Bryan McKenzie ; a Lorac production

                                                                                                          DVD B CHAPLIN, C 

Curly, an illustrated biography of the superstooge / by Joan Howard Maurer   B HOWARD, J

Ellen : the real story of Ellen DeGeneres / Kathleen Tracy                      B DEGENERES 

Fanny Brice : the original funny girl / Herbert G. Goldman                    B BRICE, F

The great one : the life and legend of Jackie Gleason / William A. Henry III   B GLEASON, J

It’s always something / Gilda Radner                                                      B RADNER, G

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