Viking: The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Yes, I Can Say That: When They Come for the Comedians, We Are All in Trouble

Censoring comedians during a time of hyper-political correctness is a serious topic, but two-time Emmy Award-winning standup comedian Judy Gold (25 Questions for a Jewish Mother) tackles the subject with insight, reason and laughs on every page. Gold offers an illuminating history of how censorship of comedians has been around for decades, and has only increased in recent years. Some censorship landmarks discussed include Lenny Bruce's on-stage arrests; Howard Stern's battles with the FCC; CBS's cancellation of the top-rated Smothers Brothers variety TV show; and Kathy Griffin's death threats, FBI investigation and being placed on a no-fly list because she held a Trump mask doused with ketchup. Gold quotes Jon Stewart: "I don't understand why in this country we try to hold comedians to a higher standard we do not hold leaders to."

"The best comedy lives on the edge of what's acceptable," Gold writes. "Jokes are nourished by tension; laughter is a release." Her compelling, well-researched and hilarious book on the freedom of speech from a comedian's perspective offers her an opportunity to spotlight numerous comedians' funniest and most biting material.

Gold's four decades as a standup comedian gives readers an insider's perspective on the industry, the clubs, the audience and other comics. She calls Joan Rivers "the funniest and most fearless of women," while Bill Cosby is "a hypocritical and arrogant rapist prick." Her chapter on beloved-then-reviled comedians like Cosby, Louis C.K. and Roseanne is thoughtful and original. Yes, I Can Say That is a hilarious showcase for edgy comedians and a thoughtful look at standup comedy and the First Amendment. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant