Barnes & Noble
Published by: Beaufort Books
Release Date: August 31, 2017
Playboy Laughs invites readers onto the sets of the organizations groundbreaking TV shows, Playboy’s Penthouse (what I’ve labeled the first reality show) and Playboy After Dark. These popular variety series brought top-tier comedians, impressionists, and monologists—as well as the finest musicians—into people’s homes each week. This book also explains how the Playboy Club circuit offered a platform for—as more than one comic told me—a stage for comedians to ‘get good,’ and perfect their act. While at the same time provide them a living.
Playboy Laughs also delves into the darker aspects of the time as well, tacking the ways Playboy and its comedy stars helped break down social and racial barriers as well as sexual ones.
Known for her devotion to meticulous research and clear, honest storytelling, Farmer has gained the full cooperation of the Playboy organization—and Hugh Hefner himself—making this not only an entertaining read but a trustworthy history of an under-appreciated aspect of American comic culture.
"I want to thank Patty Farmer for understanding the importance of gathering all of this material together and making it fun to read and think about. Reading Playboy Laughs, full of backstage stories about those days, took me back there like it was yesterday."
—Bill Marx, Pianist, Composer, Arranger, and Son of Harpo
"In this wonder-filled book, Patty Farmer has revealed the creative pizzazz that Hefner brought into the world of publishing, cartooning, and sex."
—Al Jaffee, Legendary MAD Cartoonist, (MAD fold-in)
"Playboy Laughs shows that not everyone went to the clubs just for the Bunnies or bought the magazine just for the nudes. Hefner led a sexual revolution, and he also should get credit for nurturing the growth of comedic talent."
—Bill Boggs, TV Host, Producer, and writer
In spending time with Jerry Van Dyke, he told me many stories. This one conceptualizes them; “Playboy was like a huge finishing school for all of us. Just the comedians alone would include Lonnie Shorr, Lou Alexander, Dick Lord, Joan Rivers, Shecky Greene, Phyllis Diller, Rich Little, Howard Bender, Flip Wilson, George Carlin, David Brenner, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Jay Leno, myself, and so, so, so many others. Some of us stayed in the comedy stand-up racket, some of us moved on to greener pastures, but most of us owed our livings to Playboy.”