Dave Barry and Horace J. Digby - Excited about the 2006 Robert Benchley Society Awards for Humor!Dave Barry to Judge
2006 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor


FEBRUARY 23, 2006, BOSTON -- Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize winning humorist, author of the New York Times best seller, Dave Barry's Money Secrets, and life-long fan of Robert Benchley, has agreed to judge finalist entries in the 2006 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor competition sponsored by the Robert Benchley Society. 


"We're looking for the next Robert Benchley," said David Trumbull, chairman of the Robert Benchley Society, "and Dave Barry, America's leading Humorist, has agreed to help."  


"If you have a funny bone and can write, you can be a part of it.  All you have to do is write a short original article (500 words or less), in the style of Robert Benchley and send it to the Robert Benchley Society, no later than April 15th.  We and Dave Barry will do the rest," Trumbull said.  


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.


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.  http://nrbench.home.mindspring.com  http://www.answers.com/topic/robert-benchley


It is easy to find quotations by Barry extolling Benchley as his humor hero. 

"Robert Benchley is my idol," Barry told The Writer Magazine.  "I've been reading him since I was a kid, and still return to his essays regularly for inspiration." http://www.writermag.com/wrt/default.aspx?c=a&id=850 


In an interview for Time Magazine, Barry told Jeff Chu that the biggest influence, by far, on his humor, besides his mother was Robert Benchley.  "I always wanted to write like him . . ."  Barry said.       http://www.iaisnd.com/archivednews.cfm?id=533 

In a review of Nathaniel Benchley's book, The Benchley Round Up, Barry said, "My favorite book is any collection of the columns of the great Robert Benchley.  My dad had a bunch of Benchley books around the house when I was a boy, and I read them voraciously - that's when I realized I wanted to be a humor writer."  http://www.readersclub.org/reviews/tresults.asp?id=2353

Barry's own website, www.davebarry.com, ranks the influences on the Dave Barry style of humor in the following order:   1)  his parents, especially his mom;   2) Robert Benchley; and   3) Mad Magazine.   http://www.davebarry.com/faq_for_students.html

The Annenberg Media Foundation quotes Barry as saying,  "The guy who made me laugh the most of all is dead.  Is Robert Benchley.  I always wanted to be like Robert Benchley.  Um, not in the sense of being dead.  I'd like to be Robert Benchley, but not dead."  http://www.learner.org/catalog/extras/interviews/dbarry/db02.html 


Horace J. Digby, the 2005 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor winner, has a story remarkably similar to Dave Barry's. 


"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," Digby said.   


While Dave Barry and Horace J. Digby both spent their lives wanting to be like Benchley, it seems that for many today, Robert Benchley is considered "The Dave Barry of his day."  http://www.answers.com/topic/robert-benchley 




Here is how Mike Gerber, a Robert Benchley fan and best selling author of Barry Trotter and the Shameless Parody, put it.  "Benchley’s stylistic influence has probably been greater than any other American humorist . . . Benchley-esque offhandedness is almost a prerequisite of writing humor in American English.  He’s the Dave Barry of a more literate—and thoughtful—era. "  http://www.mikegerber.com/CoreCollection.html


For more information about Robert Benchley and how you can win the 2006 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor, go to www.robertbenchley.org  or http://www.lexingtonfilm.com/barrytojudge.htm




Entries may be submitted by mail, postmarked on or before APRIL 15, 2006, to:

The Robert Benchley Society
c/o David Trumbull
130 Bowdoin St., #1110
Boston, Massachusetts  02108.

or by E-mail on or before APRIL 15, 2006 as attached MS Word document with "Benchley Writing Competition in subject line of E-mail to david@robertbenchley.org

Entries must be:
    1)  Original;
    2)  Benchleyesque (in the sense of reflecting the Benchley style and humor);
    3)  Not more than 500 words in length (times height times width);
    4)  In the English language, such as it is these days;
    5)  All of the above;
    6)  Accompanied by a large number of small unmarked bills (optional).


All judging will be done in accordance with WBC rules:
    1)  There is no standing 8 count and no 3 knockdown rule;
    2)  Fighter can be saved by the bell in the last round only;
    3)  A 10 point must system is in effect;
    4)  Accidental head butt goes to the scorecard after the fourth round.
    5)  None of the above;
    6)  Officers and family members of officers of the National RBS, and judges are excluded;


PLEASE NOTE, The first page of the entry shall include ONLY the name, address, and other contact information for the entrant; the essay shall appear on the following page(s) with NO NAME OR OTHER IDENTIFYING INFORMATION.


The top four finalist entries will be ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th by finalist judge, Dave Barry, who has agreed to provide his comments regarding the top four entries. 


Winners will be announced in June of 2006, by the Robert Benchley Society


The Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor is sponsored by the Robert Benchley Society