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Overweight Sensation
The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman
Mark Cohen

Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life

Brandeis University Press
2013 • 320 pp. 25 illus. 6 x 9"
Biography / Humor

$29.95 Hardcover, 978-1-61168-256-4

$28.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-427-8

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

"... told with intimate details, an affectionate touch of humanity and lots of [Sherman's] parody lyrics in the well-researched book Overweight Sensation."— The Hollywood Reporter

A groundbreaking biography of the song parodist and Jewish humorist

Allan Sherman was the Larry David, the Adam Sandler, the Sacha Baron Cohen of 1963. He led Jewish humor and sensibilities out of ethnic enclaves and into the American mainstream with explosively funny parodies of classic songs that won Sherman extraordinary success and acclaim across the board, from Harpo Marx to President Kennedy. In Overweight Sensation, Mark Cohen argues persuasively for Sherman’s legacy as a touchstone of postwar humor and a turning point in Jewish American cultural history. With exclusive access to Allan Sherman’s estate, Cohen has written the first biography of the manic, bacchanalian, and hugely creative artist who sold three million albums in just twelve months, yet died in obscurity a decade later at the age of forty-nine. Comprehensive, dramatic, stylish, and tragic, Overweight Sensation is destined to become the definitive Sherman biography.

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"... lively and meticulously researched... "—Chicago Tribune

"Mark Cohen's masterful, critical biography, 'Overweight Sensation.'"—The Jewish Advocate

“A penetrating biography by a savvy observer of show business.”—The Jewish Journal (Los Angeles)


“I love Allan Sherman’s work. Allan was funny and clever, and he touched my heart. He was more than just a writer of song parodies. He was an extraordinarily gifted word-weaving rhymester, and this is a definitive look at this talented, complicated, conflicted little munchkin!” —Tommy Smothers

“Allan Sherman was the original. . . . Before Forbidden Broadway, before Weird Al Yankovic, there was Allan Sherman—brilliant wit, satirist beyond compare, and stand-up comic with a melody.”—Jason Alexander, actor and Seinfeld star

MARK COHEN is a writer, editor, and journalist specializing in American Jewish culture. His previous books include Missing a Beat: The Rants and Regrets of Seymour Krim, and Last Century of a Sephardic Community. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 10:03:35 -0500