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But Seriously: American Comedy Box
Various Artists
But Seriously: American Comedy Box
Genres: Special Interest, Pop
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #4


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: But Seriously: American Comedy Box
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rhino / Wea
Original Release Date: 5/23/1995
Release Date: 5/23/1995
Album Type: Box set
Genres: Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Comedy & Spoken Word, By Decade, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaCD Credits: 4
UPC: 081227161729

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CD Reviews

A Scholarly Sampling Of Comedy
Judy | Smalltown, USA | 09/04/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I had wanted this pricey CD box set for years. It was frankly, disappointing. Some of the recordings at the beginning, (they're listed chronologically), are of such poor quality that they're difficult to understand. Even though it was truly interesting listening to the individual styles, it's sort of a listen once then file it kind of deal. It's not something I'd listen to repeatedly or bring out at parties. I was also sorry to hear that many of the more recent entries have concepts or words that aren't appropriate for children to listen to, (i.e.Robin Williams' take on Lorena Bobbitt). It's not like Robin Williams has never worked clean and been funny at the same time.On the more positive side, I learned a lot, both from the recordings and also from the extensive newspaper-style liner notes that accompany it. It also contains several comedy bits I remember having heard as a child in the 60's, such as those by the Smothers Brothers, Flip Wilson, and the classic "Who's On First" by Abbott & Costello. Okay, all things considered I guess I'm not sorry I bought it. It brought back memories, and allowed me to share some of them with my neice and nephew."
When the world still knew how to laugh.
Johnny Heering | Bethel, CT United States | 08/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This box set is supposed to encapsulate the history of American comedy on records. Undertaking such a task is probably foolhardy, because you couldn't possibly include everything. So a number of things were bound to get left out, leaving the assemblers open to criticism. The most obvious ommision to me is Bob Newhart, who had the first comedy album to win the Grammy for Album of the Year. And the second (and last) comedy album to win Album of the Year, The First Family by Vaughn Meader, was also left out. There are a number of other worthy performers left out, but I don't want to list all of them. Instead, I'll look at what is actually included here. I would say that all of the performers here are worthy of inclusion, even though some of the material is dated or political correct by today's standards. But the choice of material is often questionable. The Bill Cosby routine (about taking his daughter to a football game), while funny, is not one of his classic bits. On the subject of football, it's weird that three football routines were included on disc three. And there are a number of other performers who aren't represented by their best material. But despite it's shortcomings, this collection provides a good amount of laughs. Just don't expect it to be the "be all and end all" of American comedy collections."
Totally disappointing comedy box leaves 'em asking...
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 02/23/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"RHINO really screwed up with THE AMERICAN COMEDY BOX.

The cover has a raised image in plastic of a pair of Groucho gag eyeglasses (with nose and mustache). But look inside the package-- there's not a Marx Brother to be found anywhere! An excerpt of one of Groucho's many 1940s radio appearances would have been most welcome here. Speaking of radio--

There's -nothing- from Burns & Allen, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Fred Allen or Fanny Brice-- vaudeville and radio stars all. So what do we get from that great comic medium? A lesser Stan Freberg single, a weak Henry Morgan track and two tepid Bob & Ray routines-- and that's IT. Oh-- and where are Jonathan Winters, Prof. Irwin Corey, Don Rickles, Bob Newhart, Pat Cooper, Rusty Warren, Don Adams and so many others? There's no Firesign Theater or P.D.Q. Bach on this album, either. So, why not???

A further problem are the tracks that ARE here. Smith & Dale were certainly "Pioneers," yet their recording isn't vintage-- it's the last one these old vaudevillians made, from the early 1960s. It seems that in the majority of other cases, better material was available. For instance, why an excerpt of 2000 AND TWO YEAR OLD MAN and not the original classic Brooks & Reiner routine? Why a Tom Lehrer song from 1965, instead of his great earlier stuff, or "Al 'N Yetta" rather than "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah"? ALL bad bad choices!

The guaranteed-to-disintegrate tabloid-style newspaper liner notes are a poor decision, too-- mine has already yellowed and frayed. Finally, why do the four CDs average only an hour each? For these reasons and more, THE AMERICAN COMEDY BOX could have been so much better! NOT recommended.

DISC ONE (Pioneers/Radio & The Movies/Musical Comedy) -- 59:47
DISC TWO (Political Humor/One-Liners) -- 48:04
DISC THREE (Storytellers/Sketches) -- 62:26
DISC FOUR (Characters/Stand-Ups) -- 60:51"