The Comedy Keeper (Paperback)

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The Comedy Keeper By Jim Gullo Cover Image


Only a Comedy Keeper can save laughter at its source In this novel for serious class clowns, 12-year old Josh Markowitz must travel back to 1908 to convince an unruly family of very funny brothers to fulfill their comic destinies. It starts when Josh, the Class Clown of Patton Middle School in McMinnville, Oregon gets in trouble (again) for being a little bit too funny in school. The detention he receives threatens to ruin his baseball season. His friends Omar, Amy and the fabulous, fake English exchange student Elizabeth Walcot Woolcott all sympathize, but the evil Stevie San Pedro thinks Josh deserves his punishment. Josh goes to the old magic shop on the wrong side of town where an ageless clown named Slivers makes Josh a deal: Convince some old friends of his to become comedians, and Slivers will get him out of detention. The friends are the famous Marx Brothers - Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Gummo and Zeppo -- long before they would begin their careers as comedians and movie stars, and they need a kick-start from history. As a Comedy Keeper, Josh must convince the funny brothers to take up comedy, or be forever lost to history. Without a boost from him, Slivers explains, there would never be Marx Brothers movies, and without that there would be no Saturday Night Live, Jerry Seinfeld or Simpsons. The future of comedy depends on Josh Josh activates The Great Wandini - a magical fortune-telling machine that can send people careening through time, and he is transported to the streets of New York City in 1908, where he is befriended by none other than Julius, Arthur and Leonard Marx . . . the brothers who would one day become famous. But only if Josh succeeds The brothers Marx don't even know they're comedians yet; they have a singing act in vaudeville theaters with their mother, Minnie, and have no intention of changing it. But after witnessing much hilarity between the brothers at their cramped apartment, Josh convinces them that their future lies in comedy. To convince Minnie to change the act, Josh will have to go onstage and start the comedy ball rolling. Meanwhile, in the present, Josh's friends try to figure out how and why he disappeared and have some adventures of their own in Slivers' Magic Shop and with the Great Wandini. Through a magical interface with the old New York Evening Standard newspaper, they can "text" Slivers to find and rescue Josh from the past. Before that happens, though, and before he can return to his own time, Josh is nabbed by an evil "bull" - a corrupt policeman who conscripts children into slave labor in the textile mills of upstate New York. Josh is dragged away to the Oneida Textile Mills and what looks like a life of hard labor. But the Marx Brothers intercede in a very funny way - by pretending that Julius is "the African Explorer," Adolph and Leonard are natives, and they need a boy to take back to the dark continent. Josh is rescued, but the brothers still aren't sure about him until Josh reveals that he was sent by Frank "Slivers" Oakley, a real clown who was the toast of Broadway in the early years of the 20th century. The Marx Brothers finally believe his story and agree to fulfill their destinies as comics. With Josh in tow, they head to Coney Island in time to perform, bring the house down with jokes and antics, and set the brothers on the course of becoming famous. "The Comedy Keeper" is many things: A rollicking, funny, fast tale, a tribute to classic comedy, a historical novel with period detail of 1908 New York City, and an introduction for young readers to the Marx Brothers, with authentic details of their lives and careers. Best read with a hard-boiled egg. Um...better make that six hard-boiled eggs. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's much too dark to read." - Julius "Groucho" Marx

Product Details
ISBN: 9780692837009
ISBN-10: 0692837000
Publisher: Yam Hill Publishing
Publication Date: February 15th, 2017
Pages: 258
Language: English