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About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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  • “Comrade Detective” Takes the Mickey Out of Communism

    By Kyle | August 7, 2017

    Producer-star Channing Tatum has a winner in the Amazon series “Comrade Detective,” which mocks Soviet Bloc propaganda of the 1980s. Played straight like “The Naked Gun.”

    Topics: Comedy | 1 Comment »

    Jon Stewart: Does the Jester Tell the Truth?

    By Kyle | February 15, 2015

    My bid to do the definitive Jon Stewart takedown is my Sunday column.
    .

    Topics: Comedy | 28 Comments »

    Stephen Colbert Isn’t Funny

    By Kyle | April 11, 2014

    My column on why Colbert is a poor choice to replace David Letterman has been no. 1 on the Post’s site all day.

    Topics: Comedy | 4 Comments »

    Awful News

    By Kyle | August 7, 2012

    Mark O’Donnell, who wrote the book for “Hairspray” and other shows, has died suddenly in his Upper West Side building. Mark was a top-flight comedy writer who nevertheless, pre-Hairspray, used to tell me he was “destitute” and was glad to write brief (and hilarious) book reviews for me when I was an editor at People magazine. I was glad when he struck it rich but it’s stunning to learn he’s gone so soon. He was a sweet and kind man. I stopped by his Riverside Drive apartment once to drop off a book I needed him to review on deadline — and this picture looks like the building as I recall it. Meaning he didn’t move to a fancy place even after writing one of the biggest Broadway hits of his era.

    Topics: Comedy, New York City | 2 Comments »

    “The Newsroom” Debuts

    By Kyle | June 24, 2012

    In my Sunday column, a look at Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO show “The Newsroom.” Yes, I devote a lot of space to destroying one of his contentions, but I could have gone on in the same way for thousands of words. (Jonah Goldberg’s “The Tyranny of Cliches,” for instance, has already debunked a lot of this stuff.) Alas, the Post is not going to print a special supplement for my views on Aaron Sorkin.

    Topics: Comedy, TV | 2 Comments »

    Luvvies

    By Kyle | June 13, 2012

    Asked why he blew off a “Family Guy” script meeting, Seth MacFarlane (couldn’t he behave a bit better, at least temporarily, while a reporter was tailing him?) first told The New Yorker it was “because I don’t get vacations” (I wonder if the legendary fact-checking squad assessed that fact) and once worked for “fifteen months, seven days a week” (ditto). Then he changed his story:

    “It’s a regular occurrence for me to step outside my daily activities and contemplate things like the flow of time. We perceive it as moving from one direction to another, but who’s to say it doesn’t move in the other direction?”

    Pretty deep for a guy who makes his living off ass jokes. But how professional should we expect the guy to be? He only gets $38 million a year. For $39 million, maybe he’d put some effort into his job.

    This would be perfect for Private Eye’s “Luvvies” column on the musings of showbiz folk.

    Topics: Comedy, TV | 4 Comments »

    Naked Emperor News

    By Kyle | April 25, 2012

    I’m speechless at Obama’s attempt to shoehorn a policy issue into a musical comedy sketch. This is the guy whose most unassailable attribute is that he’s supposedly cool? The man obviously cannot do comedy. He’s been a public figure for eight years and I’m not aware of him ever spontaneously being amusing or witty. Most of his one-liners (“I’m LeBron, baby, I got game, I can play at this level,” etc.) aren’t even close to being quips but are merely bizarre manifestations of his grandiosity. Every president is to some extent stiff when doing the musical-comedy chat-show rounds (and John Kerry was cringingly awful on “The Daily Show”) because their pomposity and self-regard makes it hard for them to lighten up, but Obama is so stiff and weird here that he makes Jimmy Carter look like a regular guy. He makes it sort of impossible for him to ever use the phrase “dignity of the office” and he trivializes his own student-loan proposal.
    I’d say this is as bad as Dukakis riding around in a tank. Obama’s coterie clearly is unaware of the fact that he isn’t good at everything or they would have vetoed this idea. Romney, by the way, should be wary of getting sucked into trying to be a comedian because he isn’t one either. There’s nothing wrong with sitting on a couch with Leno but high-concept stuff should be avoided for the same reason you don’t try on a silly hat.

    Topics: Barack Obama, Comedy | 27 Comments »

    The New “Office”

    By Kyle | April 18, 2012

    There’s a funny show on BBC2 that’s sort of like “The Office” with MBAs all around. It’s a satire of corporate buzzwords set against an organizing committee for the London Olympics. The show is called Twenty Twelve, and according to The Sun (I couldn’t find it online) such phrases as “It’s virtually a virtual front door” are catching on. Some other cute neologisms:

    assmosis: gaining success by kissing up to the boss.
    mucus trooper: sickly co-worker who insists on showing up for work when he shouldn’t.
    mouse potato: someone who spends all day surfing the Web instead of working.
    thought grenade: explosively good idea.
    FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Use as verb to influence perception by releasing negative info.
    wombat: staff member who is a waste of money, brains and time.
    seagull manager: boss who swoops in, craps on everything, then leaves.
    boss-spasming: lurching into action to try to look busy when the boss appears.
    flawsome: Brands that are honest about their flaws, making them appear more human.
    SoLoMo: Social, Local, and Mobile.
    Likeonomics: that people want to do business with brands they like.
    blamestorming: meeting where you try to find someone to blame for your mistakes.

    Topics: Comedy | 1 Comment »

    More on Lena Dunham’s “Girls”

    By Kyle | April 10, 2012

    As I said before, I hugely enjoyed the first three episodes of HBO’s “Girls,” which stars and is being run and directed by twentysomething Lena Dunham, whose debut film “Tiny Furniture” I loved a couple of years ago. I don’t think the show is particularly groundbreaking — it’s basically “Sex and the City” in the age of saggy Obamanomics. (And we do have to credit SATC for combining sex and smut in a fresh way. It really was a revolutionary show, and a very funny one, particularly in the first couple of seasons before it started to get a bit soapy.)

    But “Girls” is endearing and sharply written and has a genuineness about it, even if the intentionally off-putting sex scenes . . . put me off. More on the show’s development in The Post.

    A contrarian view: a young colleague at The Post argues the show is annoying because the girls think ordinary non-glamorous work (like waitressing) is beneath them and are living off their rich daddies. The background of the actresses is much along these lines: the Beautiful One is Brian Williams’ daughter, while The Sweet One is David Mamet’s.

    Topics: Comedy | No Comments »

    Lefty Toasts Breitbart

    By Kyle | March 6, 2012

    A nice story about Seth MacFarlane, the “Family Guy” guy, sharing a nip from a flask with Andrew Breitbart at Bill Maher’s show. Makes me like MacFarlane more, though I can’t really handle all the cheap shots on his show. (Though the Star Wars parodies are very good.) Question: Is the frenzied nature of political debate going to make extinct these kinds of across-enemy-lines gestures and close friendships, like the famous one between ski partners John Kenneth Galbraith and William F. Buckley? It’s kind of hard to picture Paul Krugman and James Taranto going skiing together (though I’m sure Taranto would leap at the chance).

    Topics: Comedy | 7 Comments »

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