Being cut off from all social interaction is depressing, and a lightening up of mood is in order. Comic writing can be a perfect pick-me-up. P.G. Wodehouse, Gerald Durrell and Tom Sharpe are, we take it, well-thumbed. Now read the comic genius you’ve probably not read—the immortal, laugh-out-loud, linguistically inventive Damon Runyon. Narrated by an anonymous person in New York, these stories, told in street skaz, inhabit the world of speakeasies, diners and horse races, populated by gangsters, dropouts and lowlife of every dimension who all live by their wits. Broadway in the ’20s and ’30s was never so much fun as here.
On Broadway: Damon Runyon