I’m generally not a huge fan of forewords and introductions, finding they often contain spoilers that ruin the plot and the reading experience. If ultimately I like the book, I’ll return to that stuff after finishing it.
When reading Coffee With Groucho, one of a wonderful series of Coffee With books I’ve mentioned previously, I broke my rule and started with the foreword by an actor named Frank Ferrante, the world’s foremost Groucho impersonator and co-host of the Groucho World homepage. It’s the best foreword I’ve ever read. Ferrante perfectly expresses why Groucho is the hero of the little guys in this world, and I’m certainly one of them (and don’t look now, librarians, but so are you). I’d love to reprint the entire piece, but it’d be a copyright infringement, so here’s a fragment:
“Groucho Marx, the man and the comedy persona, is the voice of the disenfranchised. The voice of the little guy, the outsider. Groucho is the kid who stands tall and fearless and let’s us know the emperor has no clothes. He is the truth teller. His comedy pulverizes the privileged, the wealthy and powerful. And Groucho skewers those who often control our fate—politicians, professors, doctors, and lawyers. Groucho Marx is an alter ego for all of us hapless souls taught to play by the rules unconditionally.”
The body of the book by Marx Brothers Boswell Simon Louvish is marvelously informative and entertaining. Groucho unfurls his life and career while dropping many of his signature one liners. The text is capped with a list of Marx-related web sites, a bibliography of biographies and related books, and a filmography all in a small beautiful package. If you’re a fan (and if not, what the hell is wrong with you?), you must buy a copy. Light up your favorite stogie and spend some time with The One, The Only. It will be a gala day—and a gal a day is enough for me! (you knew I had to get one of those in).