At the age of six, Paul Krassner became the youngest concert artist in any field ever to perform at Carnegie Hall. But a minor incident during his performance of Vivaldi’s Concerto in A minor led him to a profound revelation that changed his life. Krassner ultimately traded performing music for performing stand-up comedy and went on to found The Realist, the provocative magazine of news and satire whose motto was “Irreverence Is Our Only Sacred Cow.”
Zapped by the God of Absurdity is a carefully curated collection of Krassner’s own satirical writing and reporting that serves both as a look back on his career and as a memoir. Among the satirical pieces is one of his most infamous, “The Parts That Were Left Out of the Kennedy Book,” with its outrageous claims that some people actually took to be true.
His eye for the absurd serves readers well, such as in his reports from a swingers’ convention and a conspiracy convention — and the trial of Dan White for the murders of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk during which Krassner coined the term “the Twinkie defense.”
He also relates personal encounters with such famous figures as Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Johnnie Cochran, Ram Dass, Larry Flynt, Squeaky Fromme, Dick Gregory, Charles Manson, and Robin Williams — not to mention the time he took an acid trip with Groucho Marx.