Friday, May 10, 2024

Archive Review: Paul Krassner's Iron Lives! (2002)

Paul Krassner's Iron Lives!
During his lengthy career as a counterculture gadfly, Paul Krassner has worn many hats. The original underground publisher, Krassner founded his satirical journal The Realist in 1958, the zine mixing alternative journalism with social commentary and wild-eyed satire. Appearing sporadically over forty years, The Realist inspired and influenced several generations of writers, musicians and comedians. Along with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, Krassner formed the Yippies in the ‘60s and he has had significant friendships with counterculture legends such as Lenny Bruce, Ken Kesey, and Timothy Leary. Krassner served time as the editor of Hustler magazine, has freelanced for a number of publications, authored several books and, during the past decade, has forged a career as a stand-up comedian and spoken word artist.

Irony Lives! is Krassner’s fifth collection of comedic observations, recorded early in 2002 in front of a live audience in Los Angeles. Befitting his long-standing reputation as a social commentator and general pain-in-the-ass for the powers that be, Krassner’s material is topical to the extreme. From the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks to corporate clowns like Enron, Krassner leaves no sacred cow untouched, waxing intelligently on politics, religion, the Internet, and society as he rapidly blends personal experience and personal observations into a lyrical flow. As a comedian, Krassner doesn’t have the TV-bred timing of today’s young laughmongers, his delivery falling into a conversational style influenced by ‘50s-era iconoclasts like Lenny Bruce or Mort Sahl.

Krassner does possess vast insight and razor-sharp wit, however, his material relying less on the quick punchline and more on a thought-provoking intelligence and a keen eye for absurdity. Irony Lives! is a valuable collection, Krassner’s intellectual musings especially welcome in the ever-repressive times in which we live. (Artemis Records, 2002)

Review originally published by Alt.Culture.Guide™, 2002

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