50 Great Essays Dave Barry

For other people named Dave Barry, see Dave Barry (disambiguation).

Dave Barry

Barry at the 2011 Washington Post Hunt

BornDavid McAlister Barry
(1947-07-03) July 3, 1947 (age 70)
Armonk, New York, U.S.
OccupationHumorist
Author
NationalityAmerican
SpouseAnn Shelnutt (early 1970s)
Beth Lenox (1976–1993)
Michelle Kaufman (1996–present)
ChildrenRob Barry (b. 1980)
Sophie Barry (b. 2000)

Signature
Website
davebarry.com

David McAlister Barry (born July 3, 1947) is an American author and columnist who wrote a nationally syndicated humor column for the Miami Herald from 1983 to 2005. He has also written numerous books of humor and parody, as well as comic novels.

Early life and education[edit]

Barry was born in Armonk, New York, where his father, David, was a Presbyterian minister. He was educated at Wampus Elementary School, Harold C. Crittenden Junior High School (both in Armonk), and Pleasantville High School, where he was elected "Class Clown" in 1965. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Haverford College in 1969.[1]

As an alumnus of a Quaker-affiliated college, he avoided military service during the Vietnam War by registering as a religious conscientious objector.[2] Notwithstanding his father's vocation, Barry decided "early on" that he was an atheist.[3] He said, "The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people, and then they come after you with machetes."[3]

Writing career[edit]

Barry began his journalism career in 1971, working as a general-assignment reporter for the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pennsylvania, near his alma mater, Haverford College. He covered local government and civic events and was promoted to City Editor after about two years. He also started writing a weekly humor column for the paper and began to develop his unique style. He remained at the newspaper through 1974. He then worked briefly as a copy editor at the Associated Press's Philadelphia bureau before joining Burger Associates, a consulting firm.[4]

At Burger, he taught effective writing to business people. In his own words, he "spent nearly eight years trying to get various businesspersons to...stop writing things like 'Enclosed please find the enclosed enclosures,' but...eventually realized that it was hopeless."[5]

In 1981 he wrote a humorous guest column, about watching the birth of his son, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which attracted the attention of Gene Weingarten, then an editor of the Miami Herald's Sunday magazine Tropic. Weingarten hired Barry as a humor columnist in 1983. Barry's column was syndicated nationally. Barry won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1988 for "his consistently effective use of humor as a device for presenting fresh insights into serious concerns."[6]

Barry's first novel, Big Trouble, was published in 1999. The book was adapted into a motion picture directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring Tim Allen, Rene Russo, and Patrick Warburton, with a cameo by Barry (deleted in post-production). The movie was originally due for release in September 2001 but was postponed following the September 11, 2001, attacks because the story involved smuggling a nuclear weapon onto an airplane. The film was released in April 2002.

In response to a column in which Barry mocked the cities of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, for calling themselves the "Grand Cities", Grand Forks named a sewage pumping station after Barry in January 2002. Barry traveled to Grand Forks for the dedication ceremony.[7]

Articles written by Barry have appeared in publications such as Boating, Home Office Computing, and Reader's Digest, in addition to the Chicken Soup for the Soul inspirational book series. Two of his articles have been included in the Best American Sportswriting series. One of his columns was used as the introduction to the book Pirattitude!: So You Wanna Be a Pirate? Here's How! (ISBN 0-451-21649-0), a follow-up to Barry's role in publicizing International Talk Like a Pirate Day. His books have frequently appeared on the New York TimesBest Seller List.

On October 31, 2004, Barry announced that he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence of at least a year from his weekly column in order to spend more time with his family. In December 2005, Barry said in an interview with Editor and Publisher that he would not resume his weekly column, although he would continue such features as his yearly gift guide, his year-in-review feature, and his blog, as well as an occasional article or column.

In 2005, Barry won the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.[8]

On Sunday, September 22, 2013, the opening night of the 15th annual Fall for the Book festival in Fairfax, Virginia, Barry was awarded the event's highest honor, the Fairfax Prize,[9][10] honoring outstanding literary achievement, presented by the Fairfax Library Foundation.

Dave's World television series[edit]

From 1993 to 1997, CBS broadcast the sitcom Dave's World based on the books Dave Barry Turns 40 and Dave Barry's Greatest Hits. The show starred Harry Anderson as Barry and DeLane Matthews as his wife Beth. In an early episode, Barry appeared in a cameo role. After four seasons, the program was canceled shortly after being moved from Monday to the "Friday night death slot".[citation needed]

Music[edit]

During college, Barry was in a band called the Federal Duck. While at the Miami Herald, he and several of his colleagues created a band called the Urban Professionals, with Barry on lead guitar and vocals. They performed an original song called "The Tupperware Song" at the Tupperware headquarters in Orlando, Florida.[11]

Beginning in 1992, Barry played lead guitar in the Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock band made up of published authors. (Remainder is a publishing term for a book that doesn't sell.) The band was founded by Barry's sister-in-law, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, for an American Booksellers Association convention, and has also included Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount, Jr., Barbara Kingsolver, Matt Groening, and Barry's brother Sam, among others.[12][13] The band's members "are not musically skilled, but they are extremely loud," according to Barry. Several high-profile musicians, including Al Kooper, Warren Zevon, and Roger McGuinn, have performed with the band, and Bruce Springsteen sat in at least once. The band's road tour resulted in the book Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude. The Rock Bottom Remainders disbanded in 2012 following Goldmark's death from breast cancer. They have reunited at least several times, performing at the Tucson Festival of books in 2016 and 2018.

Other activities[edit]

Beginning in 1984, Barry and Tropic editors Gene Weingarten and Tom Shroder have organized the Tropic Hunt (now the Herald Hunt), an annual puzzlehunt in Miami. A Washington, D.C., spinoff, the Post Hunt, began in 2008.[citation needed]

Barry has run several mock campaigns for President of the United States, running on a libertarian platform. He has also written for the Libertarian Party's national newsletter.[14]

The screen adaptation of Barry's book Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys was released in 2005; it premiered at several film festivals and is available on DVD.[citation needed]

Style[edit]

Barry has defined a sense of humor as "a measurement of the extent to which we realize that we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason. Laughter is how we express the anxiety we feel at this knowledge."[15]

Personal life[edit]

He married Lois Ann Shelnutt, his first wife, in 1969.[16] Barry married his second wife, Beth Lenox, in 1976. Barry and Lenox worked together at the Daily Local News, where they began their journalism careers on the same day in September 1971; they had one child, Robert, born October 8, 1980. Barry and Lenox divorced in 1993. Barry experienced tragedy in his family; his father David W and brother Phillip suffered alcoholism, and his father died in 1984, his sister Mary Katherine was institutionalized for schizophrenia, and his mother committed suicide in 1987.[17][18] In 1996, Barry married Miami HeraldsportswriterMichelle Kaufman;[19] they had a daughter, Sophie, in 2000. Barry has had dogs named Earnest, Zippy, and now Lucy. All have been mentioned regularly in Barry's columns.[20]

Works[edit]

Non-fiction[edit]

  • The Taming of the Screw (1983, with illustrator Jerry O'Brien)
  • Babies and Other Hazards of Sex: How to Make a Tiny Person in Only 9 Months With Tools You Probably Have Around the Home (1984, with illustrator Jerry O'Brien)
  • Stay Fit and Healthy Until You're Dead (1985, with illustrator Jerry O'Brien)
  • Claw Your Way to the Top: How to Become the Head of a Major Corporation in Roughly a Week (1986, with illustrator Jerry O'Brien)
  • Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and/or Sex (1987 with illustrator Jerry O'Brien)
  • Homes and Other Black Holes (1988)
  • Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States (1989)
  • Dave Barry Turns 40 (1990)
  • Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need (1991)
  • Dave Barry's Guide to Life (1991) (includes Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and/or Sex, Babies and Other Hazards of Sex, Stay Fit and Healthy Until You're Dead and Claw Your Way to the Top)
  • Dave Barry Does Japan (1992)
  • Dave Barry's Gift Guide to End All Gift Guides (1994)
  • Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys (1996)
  • Dave Barry in Cyberspace (1996)
  • Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs (1997)
  • Dave Barry Turns 50 (1998)
  • Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway: A Vicious and Unprovoked Attack on Our Most Cherished Political Institutions (2001)
  • "My Teenage Son's Goal in Life is to Make Me Feel 3,500 Years Old" and Other Thoughts On Parenting From Dave Barry (2001)
  • "The Greatest Invention in the History Of Mankind Is Beer" And Other Manly Insights From Dave Barry (2001)
  • Dave Barry's Money Secrets (2006)
  • Dave Barry on Dads (2007)
  • Dave Barry's History of the Millennium (So Far) (2007)
  • I'll Mature When I'm Dead: Dave Barry's Amazing Tales of Adulthood (2010)
  • You Can Date Boys When You're Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About (2014)
  • Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer is Much Faster): Life Lessons and Other Ravings from Dave Barry (2015)
  • Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland (2015)
  • For This We Left Egypt?: A Passover Haggadah for Jews and Those Who Love Them (2017)

Collected columns[edit]

  • Dave Barry's Bad Habits: A 100% Fact-Free Book (1985)
  • Dave Barry's Greatest Hits (1988)
  • Dave Barry Talks Back (1991)
  • The World According to Dave Barry (1994) (includes Dave Barry Talks Back, Dave Barry Turns 40 and Dave Barry's Greatest Hits)
  • Dave Barry is NOT Making This Up (1995)
  • Dave Barry Is from Mars and Venus (1997)
  • Dave Barry Is Not Taking This Sitting Down (2000)
  • Boogers Are My Beat (2003)

Fiction[edit]

  • Big Trouble (1999) ISBN 978-0-399-14567-4
  • Tricky Business (2002) ISBN 978-1491509692
  • Peter and the Starcatchers (2004, with Ridley Pearson) ISBN 0-7868-3790-X
  • Peter and the Shadow Thieves (2006, with Ridley Pearson) ISBN 0-7868-3787-X
  • Peter and the Secret of Rundoon (2007, with Ridley Pearson) ISBN 0-7868-3788-8
  • Escape From the Carnivale (2006, with Ridley Pearson) ISBN 0-7868-3789-6
  • The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog (2006) ISBN 978-0425217740
  • Cave of the Dark Wind (2007, with Ridley Pearson) ISBN 0-7868-3790-X
  • Science Fair (2008, with Ridley Pearson) ISBN 978-1423113249
  • Peter and the Sword of Mercy (2009, with Ridley Pearson) ISBN 978-1423130703
  • Blood Tide (2008, with Ridley Pearson) ISBN 978-0786837915
  • The Bridge to Neverland (2011, with Ridley Pearson) ISBN 978-0425253373
  • Lunatics (2012, with Alan Zweibel) ISBN 978-0425253373
  • Insane City (2013) ISBN 978-0399158681
  • The Worst Class Trip Ever (2015) ISBN 978-1484708491
  • The Worst Night Ever (2016) ISBN 978-1484708507

Film adaptations[edit]

  • Big Trouble (2002)
  • Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys (2005)
  • Peter and the Starcatchers (Disney project, announced May 17, 2012. Release date TBA)

Collaborations[edit]

  • Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America With Three Chords and an Attitude (1994) with Stephen King, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Al Kooper, Ridley Pearson, Roy Blount, Jr., Joel Selvin, Amy Tan, Dave Marsh, Tad Bartimus, Matt Groening, Greil Marcus, Tabitha King, Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Dorris
  • Naked Came the Manatee (1998) with Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, James W. Hall, Edna Buchanan, Les Standiford, Paul Levine, Brian Antoni, Tananarive Due, John Dufresne, Vicki Hendricks, Carolina Hospital, Evelyn Mayerson
  • Novels (as listed above) with Ridley Pearson and Alan Zweibel.
  • Hard Listening, (July 2013) is an interactive ebook about his participation in a writer/musician band, the Rock Bottom Remainders. Published by digital publisher, Coliloquy, LLC[21]

Audio recordings[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^"Dave Barry". Biography.com. 
  2. ^"The World According To Dave Barry", 1985, Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune
  3. ^ abHuberman, Jack (2007). The Quotable Atheist. Nation Books. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-56025-969-5. 
  4. ^"2008ish bio". Dave Barry. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  5. ^"1999 Dave Barry Biography". Retrieved May 6, 2007. 
  6. ^"Pulitzer Prize Winners 1988". Retrieved May 6, 2007. 
  7. ^"Idling in the Grand Cities". Retrieved April 11, 2016. 
  8. ^Arizona State University. "Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication". Retrieved November 23, 2016. 
  9. ^"Dave Barry Named 2013 Fairfax Prize Winner". Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. 
  10. ^"Fairfax PRize". Archived from the original on January 20, 2014. 
  11. ^Barry, Dave. Dave Barry's Greatest Hits, p. 110
  12. ^McGrath, Charles (June 4, 2007). "Rock On, but Hang on to Your Literary Gigs". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2012. 
  13. ^"Dave Barry". Retrieved September 5, 2016. 
  14. ^Presidency 2000:The Independent, Write-In, and other Candidates, Politics1.com Archived June 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^Curtis, Bryan. "An elegy for Dave Barry". Retrieved June 3, 2007. 
  16. ^"Lois Ann Selnutt Bride of Mr. Barry". The Morning News. June 9, 1969. Retrieved September 19, 2017. 
  17. ^"He Can't Make This Up". Newsweek. December 15, 1991. Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  18. ^Peter Richmond (September 23, 1990). "Loon over Miami: The On-Target Humor of Dave Barry". The New York Times. Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  19. ^Joan Fleischman (November 13, 1996). "We're Not Making This Up: Dave Barry Gets Hitched". The Miami Herald. p. 2B. 
  20. ^"People & Their Pets | Social Miami & Paws 4 You Rescue | March 2012". Max Norman Pet Photography. Retrieved October 11, 2016. 
  21. ^"Hard Listening". 

External links[edit]

Brian Engler, Chair of the Fairfax Library Foundation, presents the 2013 Fairfax Prize to Dave Barry on September 22, 2013.

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist comes a celebration of the aging process. Not just Dave's, but that of the whole Baby Boom Generation--those millions of us who set a standard for whining self-absorption that will never be equaled, and who gave birth to such stunning accomplishments as Saturday Night Live!, the New Age movement, and call waiting. Here Dave pinpoiFrom the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist comes a celebration of the aging process. Not just Dave's, but that of the whole Baby Boom Generation--those millions of us who set a standard for whining self-absorption that will never be equaled, and who gave birth to such stunning accomplishments as Saturday Night Live!, the New Age movement, and call waiting. Here Dave pinpoints the glaring signs that you've passed the half-century mark:

- You are suddenly unable to read anything written in letters smaller than Marlon Brando.
- You have accepted the fact that you can't possibly be hip. You don't even know if "hip" is the right word for hip anymore, and you don't care.
- You remember nuclear-attack drills at school wherein you practiced protecting yourself by crouching under your desk, which was apparently made out of some kind of atomic-bomb-proof wood.
- You can't name the secretary of defense, but you can still sing the Mister Clean song.

So pop open a can of Geritol®, kick back in that recliner, grab those reading glasses, and let the good times roll--before they roll right over you!...more

Paperback, 224 pages

Published August 31st 1999 by Ballantine Books (first published 1998)

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