Pure Drivel

By Steve Martin

3.67 - ratings 7,193

Steve Martin has always been one of the most intelligent of comedians (you won't find Adam Sandler writing a play about Einstein and Picasso anytime soon), but this intelligence is manifested in gymnastically absurdist flights of fancy, rather than the politically informed riffs typical of performers like Lenny Bruce. Pure Drivel is a collection of pieces, most of them wri Steve Martin has always been one of the most...

Book details

September 4th 2003 by Phoenix

(first published September 16th 1998)

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Quotes From "Pure Drivel"


I admit that "Love in the time of . . ." is a great title, up to a point. You're reading along, you're happy, it's about love. I like the way the word time comes in - a nice, nice feeling. Then the morbid Cholera appears. I was happy till then. Why not "Love in the Time of the Blue, Blue, Bluebirds"? "Love in the Time of Oozing Sores and Pustules" is probably an earlier title the author used as he was writing in a rat-infested tree house on an old Smith Corona. This writer, whoever he is, could have used a couple of weeks in Pacific Daylight Time."
"Scientists at first were skeptical that a kitten-type being could exist in the rare Martian atmosphere. As a test, two Earth kittens were put in a chamber that simulated the Martian air. The diary of this experiment is fascinating:

6:00 A.M.: Kittens appear to sleep.
7:02 A.M.: Kitten wakes, darts from one end of cage to another for no apparent reason.

7:14 A.M.: Kitten runs up wall of cage, leaps onto other kitten for no apparent reason.

7:22 A.M.: Kitten lies on back and punches other kitten for no apparent reason.

7:30 A.M.: Kitten leaps, stops, darts left, abruptly stops, climbs wall, clings for two seconds, falls on head, darts right for no apparent reason.

7:51 A.M.: Kitten parses first sentence of daily newspaper that is at bottom of chamber.

With the exception of the parsing, all behavior is typical of Earth kitten behavior. The parsing activity, which was done with a small ball-point pen, was an anomaly."
"Had his room been facing west he would have noted the sparkling twenty-five-mile vista to the sea which looks almost like the Mediterranean. He would have noted how the streets of L.A. undulate over short hills as though a finger is poking the landscape from underneath. How laid over this crosshatch are streets meandering on the diagonal creating a multitude of ways to get from one place to another by traveling along the hypotenuse. These are the avenues of the tryst which enable Acting Student A to travel the eighteen miles across town to Acting Student B's garage apartment in nine minutes flat after a hot-blooded phone call at midnight. Had he been facing seaward on a balcony overlooking the city the writer might have heard drifting out of a tiny apartment window the optimistic voice of a shower singer imbued with the conviction that this is a place where it is possible to be happy."
"This does not mean you are “losing it” or are “not playing with a full deck” or are “not all there” or that you’re “eating with the dirigibles” or “shellacking the waxed egg” or “looking inside your own mind and finding nothing there,” or any of the other demeaning epithets that are said about people who are peeling an empty banana."

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