ROBERT BENCHLEY SOCIETY
Winners in 2006 Robert Benchley Humor Prize Competition
BOSTON, JULY 6, 2006 -- David Trumbull, Chairman of the Robert Benchley Society
extends thanks to all 106 entrants in the Second Annual Robert Benchley Humor Prize Competition,
to the members of the Robert Benchley Society who did such a superb job of judging
the many excellent entries, and to Pulitzer Prize winning and New York Times best
selling humorist Dave Barry for making the final selection.
Said Mr. Barry: "With some difficulty, I selected these as my top four:"
- W. Bruce Cameron of Santa Monica, California for
Golf for the First Time
W. Bruce Cameron's very funny essay has a number of lines that strongly remind me of the master, my favorite being: "To make the sport less boring, course designers have carefully built in a series of obstacles called 'geese.'" A wonderful read from beginning to end.
- Christopher Perdue of Eugene, Oregon for
Quitting Coffee: I'd Rather be Eaten by a Raptor
Christopher Perdue makes good use of the faux-authoritative tone that Benchley used so often to parody scientific "advances." Perdue begins his piece with a marvelously Benchley-esque sentence: "According to a recent study, scientists disagree about when humans, the smartest, most adaptable creatures on earth, will finally be killed by breakfast food."
- Dan Burt of Millbrook, Alabama for
Shuffling Cards at Work: Deal Me Out
Benchley loved to grump about life's little annoyances; I think he'd have enjoyed Dan Burt's entertaining tirade about being compelled by co-workers to sign an endless parade of cards for people he doesn't know or care about.
- Ed Tasca of Toronto, Ontario for
My six steps for taming any earthquake
Ed Tasca follows his excellent title with some equally excellent advice, such as: "Never let any family member under the age of five care for the injured."
"Thanks for letting me judge the finalists for the 2006 Robert Benchley award," said Dave
Barry, "It was a pleasure to see so many fine, funny writers emulating the Great One.
I'm sure if Bob Benchley were alive today, he'd say, 'Whoa! I am 117 years old!'
But I'm sure he also would be pleased with, and impressed by, these entries."
Robert Benchley (Grandfather of Peter Benchley who wrote Jaws ) rose to fame as a
leading humorist in the 1920s writing for Harvard Lampoon, The New Yorker,
Vanity Fair, where he shared an office with Dorothy Parker, Life magazine, and
as a humor columnist for the Hearst Newspapers. Benchley was also notorious as a
member of the Algonquin Round Table. Today's leading humorists, including
Dave Barry, Woody Allen, Bob Newhart, Russell Baker, and Steve Martin, gratefully
acknowledge Robert Benchley's influence on their work.
Horace J. Digby, the 2005 Robert Benchley Humor Prize says:
"I found my first Benchley book in my parents attic. I was eight years old, pretending
to be too sick to go to school. I never knew adults wrote books like that. It was
love at first sight. I read it over and over. That's when I knew I wanted to be a
humor writer when I grew up, just like Robert Benchley."
"It was an exciting time for all participants," said RBS chairman David Trumbull as he
announced the first place winner which paid $8.40, $4.20, and $2.60 to show. The trifecta
of Cameron, Perdue, Burt paid $78.60.
The daily double with wooster's son
in the fouth race at Belmont paid $210.40.
"I believe this competition will bring more awareness to the Benchley
legacy, and that's a great gift to the world," said fourth-place entrant Ed Tasca.
[The Robert Benchley Society, a not-for-profit organization, was founded in Boston,
Massachusetts in 2003. It has since grown to include members in several countries.
Information about the Society may be found at www.robertbenchley.org.]