"Don't Quit Your Day Job" Records

Roy Blount, Jr.

Roy has performed in the Rock Bottom Remainders and has written the introduction to the Great Rock 'N' Roll Joke Book. Hear his new rendition of "Roly Poly" on the "Stranger Than Fiction" double CD.

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Self-Promotional Bio, in Third Person

If there is one thing that Roy Blount Jr. (pronounced Blunt) prides himself on, his modesty aside, it is this: that he has done more different things, for money, than any other humorist-novelist-journalist-dramatist-lyricist-lecturer-reviewer-performer-versifier-cruciverbalist-sportswriter-screenwriter-anthologist-columnist-philologist of sorts (with due emphasis on the inclusive "of sorts") that he can think of offhand.

His most recent book is Robert E. Lee, a biography. His eighteenth, I Am the Cat, Don't Forget That, will appear in the fall of 2004. He is the author of sixteen books. The first was named one of the ten best sports books ever by Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post. Norman Mailer said of his second, "Page for page, Roy Blount is as funny as anyone I've read in a long time," and Time placed Blount "in the tradition of the great curmudgeons like H.L. Mencken and W.C. Fields." Garrison Keillor said in The Paris Review, "Blount is the best. He can be literate, uncouth and soulful all in one sentence." Playboy said he was "known to the critics as our next Mark Twain." Whether, on the one hand, it is his place to quote these plaudits and whether, on the other hand, he feels that they are adequate, are questions not for him to answer at this time. His and Valerie Shaff's If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You has since l998 been the best-selling dog book in America. He has been named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library and a Literary Light by the Boston one and is a usage consultant to The American Heritage Dictionary.

His one-man show at the American Place Theatre was described by The New Yorker as "the most humorous and engaging fifty minutes in town"--which, when you stop to think how many fifty minutes there are in New York at any given time, is something. In l988 he expanded that show into Roy Blount's Happy Hour and a Half. He has performed for Folk Tree Concerts and at Chet Atkins' Celebrity Golf Tournament, and introduced Chet in Carnegie Hall.

A regular panelist on NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me," he has appeared on "A Prarie Home Companion" frequently and on "CBS Morning Show," "Tonight Show," "David Letterman Show," "Good Morning America," "Today Show," "Larry King," "Politically Incorrect," and in a series of TV spots for the NBA starring Bill Murray, which he helped Murray create.

He has written regular columns for the Oxford American, Esquire, The New York Times, Inside Sports, The Soho News, Men's Journal, Conde Nast Traveller, The San Francisco Examiner, Spy and The Atlanta Journal. His essays, articles, stories, verses and even drawings have appeared in 126 different periodicals (not counting reprints) including The New Yorker, Gourmet, Playboy, Vanity Fair, GQ, Life, TV Guide, Vogue, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, Antaeus and Organic Gardening; and in 160 books, including The Best of Modern Humor, The Oxford Book of American Light Verse, The Norton Book of Light Verse, The Ultimate Baseball Book, Classic Southern Humor, Sudden Fiction, The Elvis Reader, Russell Baker's Book of American Humor, Baseball: A Literary Anthology, The Sophisticated Cat, The F-Word, and Best American Essays l997. This work has taken him to China, Uganda, Iceland and all but two states. He has written introductions to books by Erskine Caldwell, A.J.Liebling, Ernie Bushmiller Jr.and Phil Rizzuto, and to four different books by Mark Twain--in particular, extensive commentary accompanying Mark Twain's story "A Murder, a Mystery and a Marriage" (2001).

For Sports Illustrated, where he was a staff writer and editor l968-75, he has rafted the Amazon (attacked by piranha), played baseball with the 1969 Chicago Cubs (hit a ball 350 feet), become all but athletically a virtual member of the dynasty-years Pittsburgh Steelers, and hung out with Wilt Chamberlain, Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson and the world's oldest then-living lifeguard. (Though not all at once.)

He has written the screenplay of Larger Than Life starring Bill Murray, the lyrics of a song Andie MacDowell sings in Michael, and an HBO fairy tale, The Frog Princess. Of his two one-act plays produced at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, one became part of an Off-Broadway review. In films he has portrayed a reporter, an outraged grocery shopper and a partygoer dressed as Truman Capote; on TV, a dim-witted talk-show caller and a Cuban soldier; on radio, the Prodigal Son, Orpheus, a ship's captain named Blauggh, a foolish virgin, Millard Fillmore and Thoreau. He has read or lectured at colleges from Harvard to Clemson to Washington State; at the 92nd Street Y, Symphony Space, Manhattan Theatre Club, Theatre for a New Audience, San Francisco's City Arts and Lecture Series, the San Diego Forum and the Mark Twain House. Journeyed down the Mississippi for the PBS documentary The Main Stream.

He covered the l992 Democratic and Republican conventions and Presidential election night by commenting, live and instantaneously, from a Barcalounger, on Comedy Central. Via various media he has reported on the Civil Rights Movement, the Ku Klux Klan, Saturday Night Live in its prime, Elvis's funeral, an Olympics and several World Series and Super Bowls, and interviewed Martin Luther King, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, Satchell Paige, Joe Dimaggio, Willie Mays, Loretta Lynn, Eudora Welty, Billy Carter, Gilda Radner, Casey Stengel, Jonathan Demme, Rep. Dick Armey, Cool Papa Bell and Sally Rand. He has publicly expressed his misgivings about every president since John F. Kennedy, with the exception, for some reason, of Gerald Ford.

He has jumped out of a plane, graduated (conditionally) from race-car driving school, scuba-dived with sharks, sung on stage (as a member of the authors' rock band Rock Bottom Remainders) with Bruce Springsteen and Stephen King, hit a game-winning Texas Leaguer (and had limes thrown at him) in Venezuela, caught catfish with his bare hands in Illinois; and ridden a camel in Kenya, a dolphin in the Florida Keys, an elephant in L.A.

Born l94l to Southern parents in Indianapolis. Grew up in Decatur, Georgia. Vanderbilt B.A. '63, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude; Harvard M.A. '64. U.S. Army l964-66. Reporter and columnist for Atlanta Journal and part-time English instructor at Georgia State College, l966-68. Free-lance since leaving SI in l975. Lives in western Mass and Manhattan. Father of social worker daughter Ennis and bartender/writer/actor son Kirven (with whom he wrote and appeared in a five-minute film on extreme sports for ESPN), grandfather of three. No pets at present, but previously dogs, cats, horse, rooster, snake, turtle, hamster, monitor lizard, parakeet and hens.

Find out more about Roy and his work at his website.


Audiotapes: DVD: Quotes:

"Roy Blount's stuff makes me laugh so hard, sometimes I have to go sit in a room and shut the door"—-Garrison Keillor

"Right up there with Bob and Ray"--Boston Globe

"Unleashes a startling expertise in economic theory"--Newsweek

"The war between the sexes hasn't had such an able correspondent since James Thurber."--Boston Globe

"You'd be pulling off a major stunt/ To hold your laughter while reading Roy Blount."--Washington Post Book World

"A writer of easy grace and great generosity, always delivering more than he promises, always up to more than he lets on."—Jon Carroll, The Village Voice

"Unlike most of the other first-rate humorists of this century--Thurber, Perelman, Woody Allen--Blount is neither a political nor a cultural reactionary. He is comfortable with--even enthusiastic about--the variety of human experience. He likes women and isn't afraid of them."--Berkshire Eagle

"One really understands testicles after reading 'The Family Jewels,' and one is gratified."--Cathleen Schine, The Nation

"...has become America's foremost humorist."--Chicago Tribune

"In serious contention for the title of America's most cherished humorist.... Mr. Blount's most congenial literary crony in the area of foxy yokelism is, to his reader's good fortune, Mark Twain."--New York Times Book Review

"Blount's cleverness and ability to see into the central absurdity of things are just one half of his talent as a humorist. The second half is made up of his feel and love for the language.... He is as sure-footed on the slippery slopes of funniness as a mountain goat on an alp."--Milwaukee Journal

On Crackers: "A comic masterpiece."--New York Times Book Review (Crackers was selected by the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center as one of the books that might do cancer patients some good.)

On About Three Bricks Shy of a Load: "A work of art."--N.Y. Times Book Review

On Now, Where Were We?: "Reading a collection of articles by Roy Blount Jr. is like panning for gold at Tiffany's – you knw the nuggets will be there, the only question is their brilliance. Well, prepare to strike the mother lode."–-Chicago Tribune "Blount is that rare writer who can be funny and serious at the same time... Once he starts running he's on a course of his own." –-Cleveland Plain Dealer.

On First Hubby: "...offers an emphatic and romantic 'yes' to the question 'Can true love survive the Oval Office?'"--New Yorker

On Roy Blount's Book of Southern Humor: "A book to read till it falls apart"--Newsweek. "Gut-busting"--Book of the Month Club News

On Be Sweet: "Roy Blount, who is the funniest person I know, journeys deep into the dark heart of humor and brings back a wonderfully insightful, superbly crafted song of the soul that had me laughing and crying too"--Dave Barry. "An intimate family story that's brilliant, funny and ultimately very kind and loving"--Bobbie Ann Mason.

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blount.htm -- March 7, 2002
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