Megan Harlan
December 13, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

Comic Relief

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Todd Gold
publisher
Avon Books
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it a B+

Since it was founded in 1986, Comic Relief — best known for its HBO telethons hosted by Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Robin Williams — has raised over $35 million to benefit the homeless. Though all the money from Comic Relief’s fund-raisers goes to charity, only an undefined ”portion” of Comic Relief‘s profits will. Yet it’s structured like a sort of literary telethon, interrupting classic, hilarious excerpts from more than 20 comedians (including Garry Shandling and Paula Poundstone) that breezily constitute a best-of-the-past-decade sampling with true-to-form unfunny admonishments to help the homeless by celebs like Demi Moore. Somehow, on paper, the latter never seemed more sanctimonious, while shticks like Bill Maher’s satire of Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down economics (”The whole theory was this: We have all the money. If we drop some, it’s yours”) never seemed a sharper argument for intelligent altruism. B+

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