Books: Laid-Back Camaraderie

A COUPLE OF COMEDIANS by Don Carpenter

Simon & Schuster; 220 pages;

$9.95

In A Couple of Comedians, Narrator David Ogilvie—gagman of the title team —makes a list, in descending order of status, of the Los Angeles hotels favored by showfolk. He does it perfectly, beginning with the Bel-Air, ending with the Montecito. This may seem a small felicity, but it is precisely the sort of thing that writers of parboiled Hollywood romans à clef usually get wrong or skip altogether in their haste to get to the casting couch and the boudoir.

Verisimilitude is...

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