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Female Humorists

August 4, 2003 |


Dear Mr. Keillor,

Are there any great women humorists? There's one female humorist, now deceased, whose writings I enjoy, but I find her humor has not worn well with age. Maybe it's just me. Anyway, any ideas?

Marilyn Mitchell

Marilyn,

Of course there are. Cynthia Heimel comes to mind right away, and Nora Ephron, and Erma Bombeck. And Dave Barry, whose real name is Evelyn Traub. The words "great" and "humorist" don't sit comfortably together, though, and we in the biz shrink at the thought. If someone refers to you as a "great humorist," he's probably about to give you an honorary degree and drop a hood over your head and shoot you. The greatest humorist is my wife who does more with silence and long searching looks than one can do in English prose.

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