Calvin Trillin wins Thurber Prize for American Humor

It's about time VIDEO

Topics: humor, calvin trillin, thurber prize, Writing, David Rakoff, Awards, Comedy, Writers and Writing, Books, david sedaris, ,

Calvin Trillin wins Thurber Prize for American Humor (Credit: huangavin)

Long-time New Yorker staff writer Calvin Trillin won the 2012 Thurber Prize for his book, “Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of Funny Stuff.” Trillin has the comic equivalent of perfect pitch,” said judge and humor writer Jennifer Crusie. “He addresses everything from sausage to politics with clarity, elegance and a fine dry wit, never missing a note.”

Trillin talked about his approach to humor in an interview with Mother Jones last year:

MJ: The US seems to be going through a rough patch right now. Is there ever a time when things seem too bleak for you to be funny?

CT: There’s always a source for humor. If it’s inappropriate to write about, if there’s nothing funny about it, then it’s not funny. So it sort of selects itself. It has to. And plus, often something that wouldn’t be funny at the time is okay to make jokes about later. Lincoln’s assassination, for example. But in general, I don’t think there’s very much that can’t be joked about.

MJ: In your process, are you looking for things that are funny, or are you looking for things that are interesting and then trying to find the humor in them?

CT: Interesting things. Or, just certain things stand out. Like when Michele Bachmann said that God had sent Hurricane Irene to warn us about spending; that was obvious. Jerry Falwell said that God had sent 9/11, or withdrawn his defensive shield, because of lesbianism. So there are obvious subjects, but they’re not interesting unless you find some angle to it. In the Bachmann case I wrote a poem called, “So Why Be So Hard On Vermont?” I mean, if God is omnipotent, he can send these warnings anywhere he wants. Why pick on Vermont, of all places? What did they do? Usually, with poems you pretty much have to write about something that’s in the public mind.

You Might Also Like

Trillin also has a sideline as  The Nation’s “deadline poet,” in which guise he wrote the immortal “Mitt Romney as Doll:”

Yes, Mitt’s so slick of speech and slick of garb, he
Reminds us all of Ken, of Ken and Barbie —
So quick to shed his moderate regalia,
He may, like Ken, be lacking genitalia.

And you’ll also enjoy this clip of him on “The Daily Show:”

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Calvin Trillin
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

 

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>