A Futile And Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney and National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever (Josh Karp) - Chicago Review Press - 2006 - 402 pages

This book essentially tells the same story as the second half of Tony Hendra's 1987 book (Going Too Far).  However, author Karp does a better job of it with more thorough research and he names the names of the women friends omitted by Hendra.  Karp chronicles the reckless lifestyles including the habitual use of cocaine and other drugs that shortened the lives of some of the brilliant comedic talents of the 1970s (i.e. Doug Kenney, John Belushi et al.).  The book follows the timeline (creation of National Lampoon by Beard & Kenney through the untimely death of Kenney) without the overemphasis on personal demons that littered Hendra's book.  Other books that recall this soon-to-be golden age of Boomer humor are If You Don't Buy This Book We'll Kill This Dog (1994) by publisher Matty Simmons and Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead (2010) by NL artist Rick Meyerowitz.  Although Meyerowitz has crafted an excellent tribute to his friends, I believe that outsider Karp does the best job of the four authors to capture the era.  [JAM 5/19/2011]