Jean Shepherd, Hatemonger?


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

December 29, 1960, Vol. VI, No. 8

Entertainment: Jean Shepherd

Through New Year’s Eve, Jean Shepherd will be at One Sheridan Square, making some of the inner Out-Groups feel really In. The scoffers at Norman Vincent Peale, the Tishman Building, Time-Life-Fortune, parakeets, virginal librarians, chicks, guys, etc., have a field day. So do any assorted White Sox fans.

The intriguing thing about the show is that I think Mr. Shepherd hates his audiences. And they love it. Moving like a wound-up mechanical doll and speaking in the professional voice of a radio announcer telling bedtime stories to the kiddies, he tells them that the Out-Groups aren’t any better off than the In-Groups, and they eat it up. He tells them that they are all losers, and they go wild. Maybe it is because he uses that I’m-only-kidding-kiddies tone of voice, but they all know he really means it.

Appearing with Shepherd are the folk-singing Tarriers. They swing, sometimes, and in the group is a banjo-man, Eric Weissberger, who may just be the greatest living master of the instrument — Sandra Schmidt

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