Terry Southern, Give Me Your Hump: The Unspeakable Terry Southern

Ben Schwartz

By Ben Schwartz

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

As wild a ride as the '60s are reputed to be, few people took it like gonzo author Terry Southern. As a screenwriter, he saw the big joke in nuclear war (Dr. Strangelove) and consumer culture (The Magic Christian), and wrote the hippies 'epitaph, Easy Rider, before they even knew it was over.

The gonzo author reads his own work shortly before his early-’90s passing.

Here, Southern reads his own work in various locales: a room at the Gramercy Park Hotel, the home of sardonic humorist Michael O'Donoghue and at the legendary Siné Café, all in New York City. It was the early '90s, just a couple of years before his death, but the edge hadn't dulled. In "Rimmers," US troops in 'Nam sexually abuse dead Vietcong. In "Chico," the billionaire prankster of The Magic Christian, Guy Grand, discovers a parking ticket on his car; a street punk laughs, and Grand offers him thousands in cash to eat the ticket, then and there, in his unsettling quest to see average Americans debase themselves for money.

There's also LBJ at JFK's coffin, the underage porn star's agent, and other slapstick obscenities. Well, at least something of the '60s won't make it onto your local oldies station.