How Many Surrealists Does It Take to Screw in a Lightbulb?


How Many Surrealists Does It Take to Screw in a Lightbulb? or, Why did the Intellectual Cross the Road and Walk into a Bar?: A collection of over … part understood by John Howard Towsen, Ph.D. Paperback – 24 Oct 2015
by John Towsen (Author)

How Many Surrealists Does It Take to Screw in a Lightbulb? or, Why did the Intellectual Cross the Road and Walk into a Bar?: A collection of over 1,000 cartoons, jokes, and epigrams for the over-educated and cognitively curious (yes, that means you!) as compiled and for the most part understood by John Howard Towsen, Ph.D.

“A unique compilation of jokes and cartoons, some classic, some new, some cutting edge and a few real mind benders. It’s a must for any fan of comedy.” —Fred Willard, legendary film and tv comic actor (Second City; Fernwood 2 Night; This Is Spinal Tap; Waiting for Guffman; Best in Show; Jay Leno; Everybody Loves Raymond)

“This book is surreally funny!” —Ray Lesser, humor writer; founder & editor, Funny Times

“Any book with entries like “Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?” is a book to treasure.” —Bill Irwin, award-winning actor and vaudevillian (Waiting for Godot; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Fool Moon; Old Hats)

“Light up, lighten up, and laugh your butt off.” 
—Phil Proctor, writer/performer (Firesign Theatre;

“For Janeane Garofalo’s blurb, please see her collection of over 1,000 flattering declarations, comments, and assertions for the discerning fan of concise summary at” —Janeane Garofalo, actor, activist, pioneer of alt. stand-up comedy. (SNL; West Wing; Reality Bites; Ben Stiller; Larry Sanders)

“I am thrilled! It’s a page-turner, with fantastic continuity. I am truly honored to be able to share funny with you.” — Bill Marx, composer, concert pianist, author —and son of Harpo.

“A wonderful book.” —Sidney Harris, cartoonist extraordinaire, with over 20 collections of his work published

“Which came first, the cartoons or the quotes? No matter, in this bang-on book they’re momentous metaphysical mates!”—Craig Yoe, cartoonist and comics historian (

This collection of visual and verbal humor on intellectual and artistic themes is pure entertainment —not analysis!
Guaranteed to leave you thinking and laughing. More than a quarter of a century in the making and lovingly curated by author John Towsen, it weaves a journey through the worlds of philosophy, religion, education, art, therapy, performance, language, literature, math, science, and futurism by means of more than a thousand cartoons, jokes and epigrams. A perfect birthday, holiday, or graduation gift!

With cartoons by Francis Acupan, Charles Addams, Kirk Anderson, Mark Anderson, Isabella Bannerman, Charles Barsotti, Harry Bliss, George Booth, Christopher Burke, John Callahan, Tom Cheney, Damian Clark, Scott Clark, Jack Corbett, Dave Coverly, Leo Collum, Cyanide & Happiness, Joe Dator, Bob Eckstein, Jules Feiffer, Loren Fishman, Emily Flake, Mort Gerberg, Clive Goddard, Alex Gregory, Robert Gumpertz, William Hamilton, JB Handelsman, Hanley, Sidney Harris, Buddy Hickerson, Carolita Johnson, Zach Kanin, L.J. Kopf, Anatol Kovarsky, Robert Leighton, Eric Lewis, Mark Litzler, Lee Lorenz, Stan Mack, Robert Mankoff, Frank Modell, Peter Mueller, Rob Murray, Paul Noth, Mark Parisi, W.B. Park, Dan Piraro, Kevin Pope, Hilary Price, Donald Reilly, Mischa Richter, Charlie Rodrigues, Flash Rosenberg, Leigh Rubin, Graham Sale, Doug Savage, Bernard Schwartz, Danny Shanahan, Andy Singer, David Sipress, Paul Soderblom, Peter Steiner, Mick Stevens,  James Stevenson, Mark Stivers, Barney Tobey, Andrew Toos, G.B. Trudeau, Bradford Veley, Liam Francis Walsh, Bill Watterson, Gahan Wilson, and Jack Ziegler.

Product details
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Arlecchino Books (24 Oct. 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692488561
ISBN-13: 978-0692488560
Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.3 x 27.9 cm
Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,429,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

About the Author
John’s most recent book, Clowns, came out 39 years ago, so he figured it was high time for another. Yes, he really does have a Ph.D (drama, NYU) —which will no doubt come as a surprise to some of his friends— as well as an NEH fellowship and a Fulbright. He grew up in New York City’s Greenwich Village, where he still lives, and had his first exposure to laugh-so-hard-it-hurts comedy when he saw Danny Kaye on the big screen, probably in The Court Jester (1955). A few days after his 7th birthday he made his live television debut in a comedy sketch with Red Skelton and Jackie Gleason on The Red Skelton Show. He subsequently acted in dozens of television shows and commercials, working alongside such names as Gary Moore, Julie Andrews, Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, Edie Adams, Myrna Loy, Claudette Colbert, Robert Preston, Tab Hunter, Sid Caesar, Ed Wynn, Claude Rains, Charlie Ruggles, Walter Slezak, Kate Smith, Shirley Booth, Sam Levenson, Margaret Hamilton, Patty Duke, and Joseph Papp. In his twenties he returned to show biz, this time somehow eking out a living in the world of clown and physical comedy, from the schools of Long Island to the circus sands of Saskatchewan, Saudi Arabia, and points in between, most of it with partner Fred Yockers. He was artistic director for the first two New York international clown-theatre festivals (1983, 1985) and has taught full-length physical comedy courses at Princeton University, Ohio University, and the Juilliard School, plus innumerable shorter workshops in numerous countries. Former students include Laura Linney, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Andre Braugher, Michael Hayden, and Michael Stuhlbarg. His latest research on physical comedy is to be found on his blog: In other parallel lives he taught theatre, multimedia, and digital video in the Creative Arts & Technology program at Bloomfield College for 26 years, and spent many a summer working for the Open Society Institute doing media training for activists in hot spots across the globe.

It did not disappoint. In fact 25 Nov. 2015
By B. Robinson – Published on
Format: Paperback

Having been a fan of the author’s previous book, CLOWNS, I anticipated this book with relish. It did not disappoint. In fact, now I know what the author has been up to since 1976 and his previous release. He’s been collecting cartoons and funny material. You can open this book to any page and laugh out loud. What I appreciate is that this is a truly educated look on humor without being intellectual. Sure, you may have to know a few things to get some of the jokes, but, as the author rightly points out, even he did not get all the jokes…and…there are over a thousand in here. In the bang for the buck department this humorous book has no parallel–it really stands alone as an exemplary softcover, beautifully designed and illustrated tome of value, humor, insight into the human condition and just plain old F U N! I bought one at the book opening for a member of the Marx family (as in The Marx Brothers) and I think this is winner enough material that the Marx’s will howl. Bravo to author, compiler, designer, and ALL the cartoonists. I cannot think of a better holiday gift to brighten the day. I’ll be buying more once I catch my breath and stop feeding my desire for just one more joke. I only wish Johnny Carson were alive to champion this great book. I think the Great Carsoni would love it. It’s that good.

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