Kliph Nesteroff joins me on the show to discuss his bestselling book The Comedians; Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy. The Comedians chronicles the evolution of comedy from interval acts in burlesque shows, through its growth on radio and tv, to the glory days of Las Vegas and the comedy clubs, before finishing on the comedy of the new millenium. The Comedians expertly blends deep research, anecdotes, and gossip to give us the definitive history of comedy and comedians but it also a social history of the US since the early 20th century. Kliph was a brilliant guest and his own origins are as fascinating as many of the people he chronicles. During our conversation we discuss; How Leo Tolstoy saved his grandparents from the gulags. His first experience of live comedy. His years as a stand-up comedian. His love of counterculture. The time he worked in a halfway house for heroin, crack, and meth heads. Why Richard Pryor is so important to modern comedians. Why comedy is full of white, middle-aged guys. The types of personalities that are attracted to comedy (narcissistic personality disorder). Kliph was a brilliant guest and it was great having him on the show. Enjoy, Dave. For full episode notes, including a list of Kliph's recommendations visit the inspireland podcast blog.