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In the title role of "Sparkler," a lively little movie with lots of heart and humor, Park Overall is Melba May, a late thirtysomething Victorville trailer park housewife who is an innocent without being stupid, who is kind and observant and ready to make the most of life. But when she catches her low-down trucker husband, Flint (Don Harvey, a comic rascal), in their bed with another woman, she moves in with her beautician mother (Grace Zabriskie), shopping and psychic network zealot.
June 6, 1988 | George Skelton
Gov. George Deukmejian gave a humorous non-answer Sunday to the inevitable, often-asked question of whether there might be any circumstances under which he would accept an offer by Vice President George Bush to become his running mate. "I consulted my astrologer this morning and she told me that this was not a particularly good day for me to answer that question," Deukmejian replied on ABC-TV's "This Week With David Brinkley."
January 19, 1990 | RICK VANDERKNYFF
The Saturday debut of the Orange County Crazies does not mark the first attempt at establishing a local comedy troupe. Fractured Mirror, a six-member team that makes the L.P.R. Dinner Theatre its home, has been playing the county for six years now. Trisha Burson, a member of Fractured Mirror, said her troupe is different from the Crazies. Her group's material is almost entirely scripted, for instance, and the topics range beyond the county. "We say that we do a splash of improv," Burson said.
November 19, 1992 | DENNIS McLELLAN
"Well," comic Evan Davis was saying by phone from the road last week, "a lot's happened. Clinton's in. I really like him. But I don't know if anyone from Arkansas should ever be given power. Not till their reading levels come up a little. . . . It's scary to think he worked at a gas station at one time and everybody called him Goober." Thank heaven Perot was in the race, Davis said. "He's a funny guy. He quit for a while: 'You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out. ' . . .
October 6, 1993 | From Bloomberg Business News
A notice on DuPont Co. bulletin boards urged employees to trim travel expenses by hitchhiking to business destinations, bunking with old friends and ducking meal checks with the old dine-and-dash routine. It was a joke, of course. And not a bad one either. These are, after all, black times in the white-collar world. The organization man of the 1950s and 1960s is a distant memory. So are many perks and bonuses. Jobs are getting cut 10,000 at a whack.
April 5, 1987 | STEVE WILSTEIN, Associated Press
Taking humor seriously can boost your health and wealth, say the businessmen, doctors, psychologists and educators at a conference on "The Power of Laughter and Play." Just listen to Ashley Montagu, the 82-year-old anthropologist and social biologist who says he wants to "die young at a ripe old age." Montagu opened the recent four-day conference with the warning that "adults are nothing more than deteriorated children."
August 22, 2003 | From Associated Press
Know your joke by heart. Don't announce in advance that it's going to be hilarious. And never say "But seriously ... " when you're finished. If you can't tell a joke -- or if you don't know any -- help is coming to your nearest newsstand. Reader's Digest, which sees 35,000 attempts at humor every month, is offering several articles in its September issue to aid the humor-challenged, including "How to Tell a Joke," "Who's Funny Now" and its lists of the best jokes and funniest films of all time.
April 7, 1988 | DAVID DeVOSS, Times Staff Writer
It was Friday night in the LA Cabaret in Encino and 50 people had paid good money to laugh at the republic. "Washington satirist Mark Russell says there's not enough caffeine in the country to keep us awake if it's Bush vs. Dukakis," comedian Carl Wolfson told the audience. "That's why I like Jesse Jackson. You know, Michael's brother. "Recently, he was asked if the war on poverty was over," Wolfson added. " 'Yes,' Jackson said. 'And the poor lost.'
August 5, 1990 | CHUCK PHILIPS
Sam Kinison, whose shock-rock humor seems to have enraged gay and lesbian activists more than any other popular artist, says his comedy is misunderstood. Kinison's battle with the gay community began after he recorded some jokes about AIDS on his 1988 Warner Bros. album "Have You Seen Me Lately?" The jokes in question made light of the AIDS epidemic, depicting gays engaging in bestiality and necrophilia. The backlash from the gay community was intense.
Once told, even the finest jokes fade away into the ether. But if tape is rolling and a record company is willing, the laughter may not be so fickle: Gags captured on a CD can be laughed at forever. An increasing number of record buyers are rediscovering the pleasures of recorded comedy, and comedians are finding that a digital document of their work offers relative permanence, increased accessibility, and, quite often, a potent boost to the career.
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