Excerpt11/05/2000 07:00:00 PM Eastern
The late Steve Allen was a prolific author, who in 1987 wrote,
How To Be Funny
with Jane Wollman (McGraw-Hill).
In this excerpt, Allen explains how young comics should learn to guard against annoying speech patterns, such as saying "you know?":
"These and similar slovenly speech habits should simply be eliminated. If you do not know whether your're guilty of this sort of thing personally, just ask your friends, in the same way you might ask them to tell you honestly whether you have halitosis or body odor. ...
"Can you imagine what it would have been like in the 1930s and '40s if-say-Cole Porter had had that habit, in writing some of his lyrics?
'Night and day, okay?
You are the one. All right?
Only you, beneath the moon
And under the sun, okay?'
"Or what if some great classic prayers had been written that way?
'Our Father, who art in heaven, okay?
Hallow'd be Thy name, you know what I'm saying?'"