by Tom Saunders
Discover how the great Robert Benchley – columnist, actor, New Yorker critic, Algonquin Round Table regular and the man who quipped “The free-lance writer gets paid per piece or per word or perhaps” – can inspire you to tackle the silly and absurd side of life at the 2011 “Rebound In Motown” conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.
Thom Saunders has uncovered Benchley’s little-known essays from the rarely explored archives of the Detroit Athletic Club’s private literary magazine and collected them into a new, award-winning book, “The Athletic Benchley” – a surprising title when it comes to the author of “How to Sleep” and “I Like to Loaf.”
Saunders – winner of the Robert Benchley Award for Humor in 2005 – will be joined by Benchley fans Ken Voyles of the Athletic Club as well as New York Times bestselling humor author, 2006 Benchley Award winner and Columnist of the Year Bruce Cameron; Erma Bombeck Award winner Mike Ball; and Radio Hall of Famer and Detroit comedy icon Dick Purtan. They’ll explore what you can learn from the man who wrote “The Sex Life of the Polyp” while attempting to heed Benchley’s warning that, “There are no lengths to which humorless people will not go to analyze Humor.”
Panel topics include:
• Don't be funny – be funny consistently
• No one cares about your dog except you
• Building funny platforms and sidestepping OSHA
• Algonquin humor – without the three (or 12 martinis)
• If you think you have been funny, where do you send it? Humor's sordid side.
The panel takes place on the afternoon of Friday, June 24, during the Rebound in Motown conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, June 23-26 at the restored four-diamond Westin Book-Cadillac in Detroit.
A conference special rate to all members in good standing of the Robert Benchley Society and the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop is available for $299 with a registration for two or more nights at the Book-Cadillac. You can find a complete conference schedule here, special discount hotel registration here for $124 per night with free Internet and discount valet parking, airline and rental car discounts here, and conference registration here.
See you in Detroit!