Roy Blount Jr. on the Marx Brothers

We talk “Duck Soup” and the Marx Brothers with humorist Roy Blount Jr. And we look back at movie legend Tony Curtis.

A movie poster for the Marx Brothers' 1933 film "Duck Soup" (Credit:

When the Marx brothers “Duck Soup” came out in 1933, it had to compete for attention with the Great Depression, King Kong and the rise of Fascism. It was an anti-war film – sort of. A whacky masterpiece – absolutely. And sort of a dud at the box office.

But it came back and hung in. T.S. Elliott was a fan. Samuel Beckett stole its gags. Woody Allen straight up used it.

Humorist Roy Blount Jr. adores it all –  Groucho and Harpo and Chico and Zeppo going madcap to war in Freedonia.  Blount joins us to talk “Duck Soup.”

-Tom Ashbrook


Roy Blount Jr., his new book is Hail, Hail, Euphoria!” Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, The Greatest War Movie Ever Made.” You can read an excerpt. He is a humorist, sportswriter, performer, screenwriter, and author of 21 previous books. He is also a panelist on the NPR show “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”

Lance Duerfahrd, film scholar and professor of English at Purdue University, where he teaches several courses on film history and has written about the Marx Brothers.

Mark Vieira, co-author, with Tony Curtis, of “The Making of Some Like It Hot: My Memories of Marilyn Monroe and the Classic American Movie.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Dec 1, 2015
Bethany Winder, a nurse who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., plants a sign in support of Planned Parenthood just south of its clinic as police investigators gather evidence near the scene of Friday's shooting at the clinic Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in northwest Colorado Springs. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Women’s health, American politics and gun violence after the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.

Dec 1, 2015
In this 2010 file photo, Dr. Tom and Ann Earley work a Salvation Army kettle with their dog, Bocce, in an Atlanta, GA-area shopping center. (Flickr / Vicki DeLoach)

On #GivingTuesday, we’ll explore the trends in giving now from crowd sourcing to big charities and beyond.

Nov 30, 2015
Shoppers walks in front of a holiday display Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday and beyond, we’ll add up the dollars and trends and bargains of the 2015 holiday shopping season.

Nov 30, 2015
United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres, center left, Minister of the Environment of Peru and COP20 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, center right, and French Foreign Affairs Minister and COP 21 President Laurent Fabius, center, pose for photographers during a press visit to the COP21, Paris Climate Conference, site, in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

World leaders converge in Paris for the big climate talks. We’ll look at what it will take to get a global climate agreement.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Where Did #GivingTuesday Come From, Anyway?
Tuesday, Dec 1, 2015

Today’s #GivingTuesday. But how — and where — did it start?

More »
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »