Thurber Prize Finalists for 2012 Announced

The Thurber Prize, which is the nation’s top award for written humor, announced its 2012 finalists.

The Thurber Prize, which is the nation’s top award for written humor, announced its 2012 finalists. They are Pawnee: The Greatest Town in AmericaQuite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of Funny Stuff and Starting from Happy: A Novel.

I did not make the cut. I blame the fact that I did not write a book last year. It was probably the judges’ main consideration in not naming me a finalist for the Thurber Prize. It was very shortsighted of them, if you ask me.

The Pawnee book is based on one of my favorite TV shows, “Parks and Recreation,” and although the book claims to have been written by the TV character Leslie Knope, it was actually written by Nate Di Meo.

The Trillin book, which is sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, is a compilation of the New Yorker writer’s humorous work, some of which I have featured on this site.

Fellow New Yorker writer Patricia Marx is the author of “Starting from Happy.” She used to write for “Saturday Night Live.” I hadn’t heard of this book until I read the list of finalists in the Los Angeles Times.

So, in case you’re wondering what it takes to become a Thurber finalist these days, either write a book based on a popular TV show, write for the New Yorker for 50 years or work for “Saturday Night Live” and then become a novelist. See, there’s nothing to it.

A sincere congratulations to all of the finalists.

The Thurber Prize for American Humor will be presented Oct. 1 in Columbus, Ohio, the boyhood home of James Thurber and the Thurber House. Winner gets a cool 5 Gs.

More from The Humor Columnist:

My interview with 2006 Thurber Prize winner Alan Zweibel


Author: Joe Donatelli

Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles. He publishes The Humor Columnist.

  • jamie@southmainmuse

    Five Gs. Good grief, if I’d known that I’d written some thing.

  • Plus the trip to Columbus, Ohio, gateway to Dayton!

  • All it took in the case of Patricia Marx was working for SNL, becoming a novelist AND writing for the New Yorker. I remember her account of visiting China and being asked repeatedly if she was related to Groucho. No one seemed to remember Karl.

  • I would call that progress.