Here’s looking at you, Dave Barry. Sorry to hear you’re signing off.
Just saw in Slate magazine Barry quit his syndicated humor column last week. For a fan, I have been amazingly remiss, not getting the news from the maestro himself but from another source. Well, here’s Barry breaking the news in his last column:
There comes a time in the life of every writer when he asks himself — as Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Hemingway all surely asked themselves — if he has any booger jokes left in him.
For me, that time has come. I’ve been trying to entertain newspaper readers since the ’60s, when I wrote ”humor” columns for the Haverford College News. I put ”humor” in quotation marks because when I go back and read those columns today, I don’t get any of the jokes. But at the time, they were a big hit with my readership, which consisted pretty much of my roommates.
Why’s he quitting now? Barry again.
…this is a great job. And yet I’m quitting it, at least for now. I want to stop before I join the horde of people who think I used to be funnier. And I want to work on some other stuff.
So for the next year, I won’t be writing regular columns, though I hope to weigh in from time to time if something really important happens, such as a cow exploding in a boat toilet.
That last sentence is typical Barry. I can’t think of a funnier American columnist. Art Buchwald used to be splendid fun. And then there was Barry.
In Elegy for the humorist, in Slate magazine, Bryan Curtis writes:
Dave Barry is—was—the most heroic newspaper columnist in America. He hides his considerable candlepower behind a jokester’s guise of "Don’t trust me, I’m just the comedian!"
Barry won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary (in 1988). And perhaps his gifts as a political satirist point toward a second act. In his valedictory Barry refused to rule out a return to column-writing. Here’s an idea: As soon as William Safire shuffles off to the Old Columnists’ Home, put Barry smack dab in the middle of the Times editorial page.
That would be great. That pompous windbag Safire is insufferable. He does not even write well these days for all his intellectual pretensions. As for his views, the less said the better. Barry would be an immense improvement.