Overweight Sensation

Overweight Sensation[Read] ➪ Overweight Sensation ➲ Mark Cohen – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk Allan Sherman was the Larry David the Adam Sandler the Sacha Baron Cohen of 1963 He led Jewish humor and sensibilities out of ethnic enclaves and into the American mainstream with explosively funny pa Allan Sherman was the Larry David the Adam Sandler the Sacha Baron Cohen of He led Jewish humor and sensibilities out of ethnic enclaves and into the American mainstream with explosively funny parodies of classic songs that won Sherman extraordinary success and acclaim across the board from Harpo Marx to President Kennedy In Overweight Sensation Mark Cohen argues persuasively for Sherman’s legacy as a touchstone of postwar humor and a turning point in Jewish American cultural history With exclusive access to Allan Sherman’s estate Cohen has written the first biography of the manic bacchanalian and hugely creative artist who sold three million albums in just twelve months yet died in obscurity a decade later at the age of forty nine Comprehensive dramatic stylish and tragic Overweight Sensation is destined to become the definitive Sherman biography. Allan Sherman was a 1960s sensation whose “fifteen minutes” of fame as a musical parodist came and went before he received a grudging mention in the 1990s and finally something of a reappreciation in recent years Mark Cohen’s biography Overweight Sensation The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman will likely not find much appeal for a younger generation But for those of us who grew up with My Son the Folk Singer and other Sherman vinyl records Cohen provides a window onto a sprawling and short lived life that we barely were able to glimpse from a few album covers I was too young to remember the pre album Sherman who created the TV game show I’ve Got a SecretAllan Sherman was Jewish likely a genius when it came to parody and damaged goods Reading his family history in the first chapter is enough to make one’s head spin There are parents multiple marriages grandparents siblings step siblings adopted siblings alcoholics Jewish gangsters rapid fire moves from one city to another to another and to yet another What does it do to a child’s formation when his obese father embarks on a 100 day fast in a treehouse that he can barely ascend without wheezing and then dies before the fast is over? Comedians are stereotypically but not unfairly known for having problem festooned childhoods Most though manage to survive for the long haul Sherman did not He died young grossly overweight and asthmatic at age 48There were three anchors such as they were in the midst of an otherwise turbulent life From his grandparents who afforded an escape from the insanities of the rest of his family Sherman learned to love being Jewish and always naturally and unselfconsciously identified as such His gift of parody which showed up early on was a second steady point Unfortunately the third point was his sexual proclivities which along with his appetite for food food and food was part of his physical and emotional declineMore than just a biography Cohen also gives us sociological insight especially into the nature of Jewishness in the Sherman years For about fifteen years or so after World War II American Jews became American than Jewish As Cohen puts it “They joined synagogues but Jewishness went underground It became a secret Sherman searched for a way to tell that secret” Or in other words “The takeaway lesson was that success depended upon leaving Jewish ethnicity behind That was a message Sherman had been fighting all his life and his Broadway parodies were his battle plan” Ahead of and yet just right for his time Sherman’s Jewish flavored songs presaged the coming ethnic renaissance of the later ’60s and afterAnd so Sherman took folk songs and other public domain material—the Broadway songs he parodied were under copyright and his versions could not be legally recorded—and deconstructed them He ended up stripping them of any pretentiousness mocking their rosy outlooks or lack of authenticity the ’60s folk movement was according to Cohen’s sources less “folk” than prettified professionalism Sherman had a predecessor in Mickey Katz but Katz was definitely old country in comparison with Sherman’s ’60s sensibilitiesBut after just three hit albums although the output continued the flame was gone Sherman turned from making Jewishness front and center in his parodies and turned to general social commentary often coming across as cranky and out of touch Eventually having been ahead of his time he now fell behind it Fame fled marriage crumbled the alcoholic tendencies grew freuent Allen died in 1973 of a heart attack He would have turned 49 just ten days later You can still buy Allen’s material in box sets and some of his work can be found on YouTube and music services like Spotify He inspired later parodists as well For those who heard Sherman in 1962 and for the next few years he stands as a reminder of a time when Jews discovered that they could be Americans and still be Jews when the Jewish experience was in many ways universal and when laughter could help us understand who we were in the American landscape I have never been a big fan of biographies and didn't know if this would be as dry and boring as most I didn't find it to be so I thought it was a well written well rounded and thoroughly researched story but I was already a fan of Allan Sherman's work and had read his autobiography so I was kind of prepared for it What a sad short self destructive life The author was really fair to everyone involved which I thought was important although I did not agree with his assessment of some of the songs But I laugh easily and enjoy this sort of humor and was a fan a long time ago from the first time I heard Hello Mudder Hello Fadder This is one I will likely reread after a while If you like biographies or if you are an Allan Sherman fan and especially if you've read A Gift of Laughter The Autobiography of Allan Sherman then this book is worth reading I love the title of this book a play obviously on the term “overnight sensation” If Allan Sherman did not make this joke about himself he often made reference to his being fat then it’s the kind of joke he would have made And I love the photo on the cover Sherman with his dorky white shirt and short hair and glasses with his arms flung back and his mouth wide as he belts out some great note of a song as if he were an opera singer on stage and not the scratchy voiced singer of cute “witty ditties” I come to the book a long time fan of Allan Sherman’s songsAs for what’s inside the covers the first third of the book is somewhat tedious the middle third is wonderful and the ending is sad sad sadIn the beginning we learn about young Allan’s family background His mother Rose married a lot and traveled a lot The family moved from Chicago to LA to New York and to several places in between and then moved back again Almost every year a new school a new father a new name this is the tedious part because each change is documented Sometimes Allan lived with his grandparents the openly Jewish Esther and Leon Sherman Rose was Jewish too of course but preferred to hide it as when she changed Allan’s father’s name from Kaplan to the Anglicized Coplon Rose’s last husband was a con man and ended up being arrested Author Cohen calls this upbringing “chaotic” and Allan was happy to get away from it One way he did that was by choosing the name of his grandparents Sherman and by identifying with their Jewishness He went to college where he threw himself into writing satirical articles for a campus paper and writing satirical songs for parties and plays He did not throw himself into his studies however and was eventually thrown out of college He also did a stint in the Army but he was discharged because of health reasons mostly asthma In college he also met Dee the woman he would marrySherman began his career as producer for the television show I’ve Got a Secret He was not a great producer because he was sloppy with deadlines and preferred golfing to showing up for work Meanwhile on the side he was writing parody songs and he sang them to his friends at house parties Eventually the TV jobs would fail and the songs would take offSherman put out a record of his silly little tunes called My Son The Folk Singer and it surprised everyone including himself by becoming a hot number one best seller He uickly followed it up with two records My Son the Celebrity and My Son the Nut All of them went to the topNow comes the glorious part Yes Sherman was irresponsible but he was also lovable open gregarious and very very funny Everyone right up to President JFK was humming his songs And the songs were playful silly joyous They were also unapologetically Jewish at a time when America was just starting to open itself toward the idea of diversity Life was good and the funny looking fat kid was a starAnd then comes the sad part Sherman did everything wrong He smoked he drank he ate and ate and ate He chased women He divorced his wife He became depressed and bitter and not uite so funny any He spent too much till he was desperate for any source of income but none of his projects succeeded He checked himself into the hospital to lose weight on a medically supervised diet but still his health failed He died of a heart attack just short of age 49Eventually his reputation would become rehabilitated and his records would be re released Doctor Demento would help with this and a new generation of comics would say they owed him a debt And indeed his best songs are timeless So let us just remember the good times I'm a fan of Sherman's song parodies but I can't say I really knew that much about his life aside from bits and pieces I picked up from the Internet The impression I get is that he was somewhat of a hedonist overindulging in food drink smoking and sex Yeah despite the prudish attitude he shows in some of his songs he apparently had a lot of affairs and participated in orgies It appears that he also had a somewhat disturbing tendency to fetishize childhood The book mentions both his good and bad points how he was a comic genius who had a way with words and a knack for entertaining yet could also be self destructive and full of himself He was good at schmoozing but bad with money and had a lot of ups and downs in terms of his fame and finances He was a big star in his day but is now mostly just remembered for Hello Muddah Hello Fadduh Coming from a childhood in which he moved around a lot born to parents who were reticent about their Jewishness he took comfort in his extended family and embraced American Jewish culture helping to bring it into the mainstream His humor is compared to that of other Jewish comedians whose careers started around the same time like Mel Brooks Lenny Bruce and Woody Allen Having died of a heart attack in 1973 shortly before his forty ninth birthday I guess you could say he lived fast and died young I have always been a fan of Allan Sherman and i hope that i always will The foundations trembled as i read this one though No surprises his overnight rise to the spotlight in the early '60s was than he could handle how could anyone? He saw about life than most people do and he had a remarkable gift of inviting us to laugh That much I can appreciate And i appreciate the incredible amount of research that went into assembling this biography Let's make that INCREDIBLE AMOUNTperhaps a bit superfluous? The opinions of those who were left in the wake of his tsunami are valuable but maybe best left for the editor's cutOn that note Mexican Hat Dance never fails to render me chortled One hippopotami is pure genius You Went the Wrong Way Old King Louie got me through French class Brilliance I'm a big fan of Allan Sherman but not so much of this book While I appreciate the obvious breadth and depth of research and even the author's often insightful analysis of Sherman's work the narrative got bogged down in irrelevant details I don't need everyone's address and the name of every uncle aunt and cousin and repetitivenessOn the positive side when the book covers the comedian's work and Business dealings this reader learned things he wanted to know I had no idea Sherman was instrumental in Bill Cosby's career I just longed for of this sort of thing In the late fifties and early sixties party records were the thing That was euphemism for comedy albums; with comedians like Mort Sahl Bob Newhart Nichols and may The best for me was Allen Sherman he of Hello Muddah hello Fadduh fame We used to wear our record albums and needles until we memorized his song parodies This kind of tubby black horn rim short sleeve white shirt wearing everyman would leave us in stitchesOverweight Sensation records the really troubled life of Sherman Encouraged to lower his jewishism by his variety of parents; he chose to where it like a badge A comedy and language genius; this happy go lucky guy was neither happy nor go lucky He over ate over drank over womanized through his short time on earth He had a short 4 year arc of success he discovered Bill Cosby and owned 1% of the royalties from ll Cosby albumsnot bad Failure greeted the end of his life has he continued to burn the candle at both ends until there was no candleHis life story turns out to be uite sadbut those albums; classicFour Jimmys out of five Having read Allan Sherman's autobiography A Gift of Laughter years ago it was interesting to read this objective biography This book is obviously well researched It should have been checked thoroughly for typographical errors at least the Kindle version which is the version I read Exactly what you want from a book with a target audience of 5% of all readers at best meticulously researched Both fun and scholarly Insightful and communicative Most people have probably never heard of Allan Sherman though there is a good chance they are familiar with his Ḧello Muddah Hello Faddah¨ song about a boy at summer camp Allan's claim to minor fame was writing parody lyrics to well known songs He started doing this while attending college in the 1940's and continued to write and perform parody songs as a hobby while working as a TV game show producer in the 1950's In the early 1960's Sherman became an unlikely national singing sensation despite his heavy weight glasses and crew cut hair In a year's time he had three music albums become national best sellers rising as far as #1 in the country You can listen to these on Spotify for free and you can watch some of Allan's songs on YouTubeBet you didn't know While guest hosting ¨The Tonight Show¨ for Johnny Carson Sherman arranged for a new young comedian to appear on the show for the first time His name was Bill Cosby For making a major contribution to Cosby's career Sherman got 1% of Cosby's album sales for his first seven albumsSherman's success was cut short by his undisciplined life He ate too much drank too much slept around too much and spent too much From a height of selling out lives shows nationwide including one attended by President Kennedy his career slowly lost steam and he was pretty much forgotten when he died of a heart attack at age 48 in 1973For those who enjoy the comedy songs of Tim Hawkins or Weird Al Yankovic Sherman is a great find His genius was to take familiar music and infuse it with funny clever wit and satire Here is a sample I did not know about until I read this book It is sung to the tune ¨Over the Rainbow¨ from ¨The Wizard of Oz¨Somewhere overweight peopleJust like meMust have someplace where folks don't count every calorieSomewhere over the rainbowWay up tallThere's a land where they've never heard of cholesterolWhere folks can eat just what they wantAnd still be slim and trim and gauntYou'll find meWhere every little thing I tasteWon't wind up showing on my waist or worseBehind meIf you read the book don't forget to read the appendix with a great collection of Sherman's song lyrics from his 1950's Jewish parodies of Broadway musicals

Hardcover  Ù Overweight Sensation PDF/EPUB ¿
  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • Overweight Sensation
  • Mark Cohen
  • English
  • 09 October 2015
  • 9781611682564