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Kliph Nesteroff Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Comedians (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
We Had a Little Real Estate Problem (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Outrageous (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Kliph Nesteroff
Kliph Nesteroff was born and raised in a Russian pacifist community in rural British Columbia. After he was permanently expelled out of high school for the content in a speech he delivered during a campaign for school president, he moved to Toronto and started doing stand up comedy.

Influenced by punk rock music, his anti-war upbringing, and the Beat Generation, he performed primarily in alternative comedy venues, underground bars, and punk rock clubs. Kliph soon developed a cult following for the insult-comic character of Shecky Grey, a character that landed him onto the cover of many Canadian free weeklies.

In 2002, he moved from Toronto to Vancouver, and something about switching from the larger market to a smaller one made him more creative. There was much less pressure, and the comedians he met were people like Zach Galifianakis, Graham Clark, and Phil Hanley, who were all rather inventive.

From 2002 to 2004 he had this huge cult following in Vancouver, and did quite well. He was proud of what he was doing. Then he peaked, going as far as it was possible to go in standup in a market that tiny, and his options were either stay put or move out. But he could not move to America legally, at that point.

After eight years of stand up (from 1998 to 2006), he became an advocate for the mentally ill, the homeless, and the drug addicted, accepting a position in an experimental clinic which nursed addicts with life threatening infections back to health.

As he worked night shifts at the clinic, he spent a lot of his time writing about stand up comics from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, focusing mainly on the mafia-run nightclubs that formerly employed comedians. The articles that resulted from this were frequently published by the web-magazine of free form radio station WFMU.

Marc Maron started talking about Kliph’s articles in 2011, on his WTF podcast, and eventually extended an invitation to Nesteroff to appear on the show. The first article that he talked about was the article he wrote about Shecky Greene, a lot of which was about depression and anxiety, bombing and killing and drinking.

Nesteroff, after appearing in 2012 on the podcast, got a book deal with Grove Press to write the definitive history of 20th Century American stand-up. The book, which was released in the year 2015, “The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy”. It became a bestseller and led to Kliph having a television career. He is a frequent talking head on many programs and documentary films on comedy.

“We Had a Little Real Estate Problem” was a Best Book of 2021 by Esquire and NPR. Los Angeles Magazine profiled him as “The King of Comedy Lore” and Vice Magazine has called Kliph “The Human Encyclopedia of Comedy”.

“The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy” is a non-fiction book that was released in the year 2015. Kliph brings to life a century of American comedy with real life characters, mainstream heroes, forgotten stars, and counterculture iconoclasts. Based off extensive archival research and over 200 original interviews, Kliph’s groundbreaking work is a narrative exploration of the ways that comedians have shaped, reflected, and changed American culture over the previous century.

Beginning with the vaudeville circuit right at the turn of the last century, he introduces the very first stand up comedian, an emcee that abandoned physical shtick for straight jokes. After Prohibition was repealed, Mafia-run supper clubs replaced all of the speakeasies, and mobsters replaced the vaudeville impresarios as the comedian’s primary employer.

During the fifties, the late-night talk show brought stand-up to a wider public, as Lenny Bruce, Jonathan Winters, and Mort Sahl attacked conformity and staged a comedy rebellion in coffeehouses. From the part that comedy in the Civil Rights movement and the social upheaval of the late sixties to the very first comedy clubs of the seventies as well as the cocaine fueled comedy boom of the eighties, “The Comedians” culminates with a new era of media-driven celebrity during the 21st century.

Readers like this book because no matter how much they knew about a certain comic, they still came away learning something about them. It is an informative and imperative read for anybody that is interested in entertainment and show business. This is an exhaustive, scholarly yet entertaining study of this unique creative art form. Kliph is a true student of the craft and this book is no fluff piece, with plenty of grit to it.

“We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans and Comedy” is a non-fiction book that was released in the year 2021. The title comes from one of the most reliable jokes that Charlie Hill had in his routine. It was about his people being from Wisconsin, but originally they were from New York. They had a little real estate problem is all.

Kliph focuses on one of comedy’s most significant and little known stories: how, despite getting denied representation in the entertainment industry, Native Americans have still advanced and influenced the art form.

The account starts during the late 1880s, when Native Americans were forced touring in the wild west shows as an alternative to going to prison. One comedian described it as if some Guantanamo detainee had to appear on X-Factor, all of a sudden. It’s followed by a detailed look at the work and life of seminal figures like Cherokee humorist Will Rogers and Charlie Hill, who during the seventies was the first Native American comedian to appear on The Tonight Show.

Also getting profiled are many contemporary comedians, like a social worker from the Red Lake Nation that drives five hours to the nearest comedy club to pursue his standup dreams, named Jonny Roberts. The 1491s, a sketch troupe whose satire is crushing stereotypes to critical acclaim. And a Kiowa-Apache comic Adrianne Chalepah, who formed the touring group called the Native Ladies of Comedy.

Featuring dozens of original interviews and the exhaustive research which is Kliph’s trademark, this is a powerful tribute to a neglected legacy.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Kliph Nesteroff

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