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Funny, He Doesn't Look Witty

When the nonagenarian screenwriting legend Irv Brecher arrived at the Aero Theatre a few years ago for a tribute, his wife read him the words on the marquee: "IRVING BRECHER LIVE." Without missing a beat, the king of quips quipped, "That would come as a shock to my doctor." Brecher died last year at 94, but not before he completed his memoir, The Wicked Wit of the West, with humorist Hank Rosenfeld. It's a joyous collection, full of tales of the Marx Brothers (Irv wrote At the Circus and Go West and was best pals with Groucho), Judy Garland (he "punched up" The Wizard of Oz) and Jackie Gleason (who got his big break on Irv's TV show, The Life of Riley). From 2 to 4 p.m. at today's Annual Authors Forum at the Brentwood Public Library, Rosenfeld will read from the book, show slides and share a panel with suspense novelist Mary Higgins Clark and moderator Connie Martinson. Brecher's achievements are proof that sharp Yiddish humor became all-American comedy, and that behind every great wit lies a heavy heart (the war in Iraq made him "insanely angry"). But as Irv noted, "The only escape from that is to try and be amusing."
Sun., April 26, 2-4 p.m., 2009

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