Some time ago, my comedy-loving father put a copy of Ted L. Nancy’s Letters From a Nut in my hands, and it’s still something I turn to when I need a humor fix. Jerry Seinfeld, in his foreword, writes, “It’s very rare for people to laugh out loud at television or the printed word even though they may be enjoying it very much.” But the humor in this book is so absurd and occasionally stupid that I have found myself actually laughing out loud. As Seinfeld writes, “You cannot not laugh at these letters.”
The book is a series of letters between Nancy and corporations, businesses, celebrities, politicians and others. Each is filled with quirky humor that is provided in part by Nancy’s penchant for providing too much information. His various full-page letters include his compliments to the “EXEMPLARY” behavior of the cab-stand callers, his business proposal for six-day underwear, and his request to the Ritz-Carlton of Chicago to dress up as a ripe banana for business meetings in its bar and restaurant. Also notable is his request to bring his own ice-making machine to the Disneyland Hotel. The way these professionals attempt to respond with authority and pleasant decorum to his unusual and relatively insane requests lends to the book’s overall humor. Part of the appeal of this book, which was first published in the mid-1990s, is that the art of letter writing is fading away even now.
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