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Dave Barry On ‘Insane City’

We’re talking with Pulitzer Prize-winning humor man Dave Barry about Miami madness and his new book, “Insane City.”

Miami skyline. (AP)

Miami skyline. (AP)

There’s something about Florida that makes Dave Barry laugh.  He’s written zillions of newspaper columns, won a Pulitzer for commentary, imagined the pre-history of Peter Pan, written dozens of wry and wacky books.

But he keeps coming back to Florida and, above all, Miami.  The hot and sexy capital of cool craziness.  “Insane City,” as the title of Dave Barry’s new book has it.

Pythons, pot, scheming billionaires, desperate immigrants, angry strippers, Russian gangsters.  Dave Barry country.

This hour, On Point:  humorist Dave Barry and “Insane City.”

-Tom Ashbrook


Dave Barry, columnist, comedian, and author. His new book is “Insane City.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Fort Worth Star-Telegram “There’s a method to Dave Barry’s madness. It pretty much works like this: If the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer is amused by some foolish notion — such as a pirate ship defending itself by firing frozen chicken nuggets from a cannon — it’s going to wind up in the pages of his book.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ”Mr. Barry, a longtime humor columnist, has had a second life as a comic novelist and a third life as the co-author of a series of books for young readers that provide a back story for Peter Pan. He is back on familiar ground with “Insane City,” his fifth novel.”

Excerpt From “Insane City”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=725352091 Lauren Peter Garnache

    Looking forward to this!  ”Tricky Business” can always make me laugh, and I’ve really enjoyed Barry’s “starcatchers” series.  Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories, and this new chapter has struck me as in the spirit of the original. 

  • ToyYoda

    One winter, years ago, I was laid off from the hedge fund industry and lived with my sister in Florida.  To open my eyes as to what I could do with career, she introduced me to her friends who all had ‘odd jobs’ but made a comfortable living: card dealers, professional poker players both online and off, a dog trainer for the Hollywood stars, strippers, strip club owners, hip hop artist, DJs, guitarists for Blue Man Group, a toy store owner, a stuntman for Disney, etc.

    It was an interesting tour of Florida, and I loved it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/garret.woodward Garret K. Woodward

    I’ve always been impressed with the quality and output of work Barry has continued to offer us all. Does he have any advice on writing, being a writer, and finding your voice (which he dialed right into perfectly)?

  • lesliejuden

    The only reason I subscribed to The Miami Herald was to get Tropic Magazine and to read Mr. Barry’s column every week. I lived on Hibiscus Island in the early ’80′s when it was cheap to rent. My neighbor was featured on 60 Minutes as the “largest independent arms dealer in the world”. Strange days indeed.

    I wonder how mr. Barry feels about Miami now as compared to the really fun days of the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s or does he find it just as interesting with all of the gentrification that has taken place?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1258988292 Darrell Bibby

    What about the story about the night club reporter?  Please

  • pmelnel

    Living in the ‘Insane City’, after Hurricane Andrew, Dave Barry’s Tropic Hunt was fantastic fun.  The one I played in was in Coconut Grove.  It ended in a supposed broken toilet stall…. void where prohibited was the clue.

  • Todd Britt

    I just heard this segment on the radio.  Fantastic, and Barry’s insight is spot on.  He touched on every one of the points that made me fall in love with Florida in 2004 from Orlando south and ultimately convinced me to move down in 2006.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UPAUGJDOUOIYVK5LSFUNKP24P4 Stan

    Born and raised in Miami now living in Boston. Have great memories of reading Tropic every Sunday. What a truley bizarre wonderful mix Miami is.

    It’s like a recipe that can’t be replicate – you have all the same ingredients but it will never turn out like that. The python is definately the thing you have to go to the specialty grocery for…

  • http://twitter.com/danibrze Dani Brzezinska

    I enjoyed your interview with Dave Barry and downloaded Insane City.  I was surprised nobody mentioned (at least when I was listening) Tom Wolfe’s book ‘Back to Blood” also about Miami’s vibrant culture . 

  • Andrew Schettino

    Tom, I listen every chance I get on WAMU in DC but this show with Dave Barry was really great. I read him all the time in The Washington Post Magazine!

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.dreyersmith Eric Dreyer Smith

    5.0 out of 5 stars Miami Heat, January 30, 2013By Eric Smith - See all my reviews(REAL NAME)   
    This review is from: Insane City (Hardcover)Yes more books about our huge, Latin dominant cities – the mixed cultures – these make interesting stories. I always like Barry’s approach. He understands the complexity and vying interests of the city. He brings humor to seriousness. It reminds me of the crime novel about San Antonio – No One Blames San Antonio for the Civil War.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Kelly/692448753 Jim Kelly

    As a native, I have to take exception to Dave’s assertion that “nobody’s from there [Miami], nobody.”

    Then again, he’s almost right. The truth is, there are so *few* of us that we’re aliens in our own territory. Growing up, I got used to getting baffled stares when I told recent immigrants from New Jersey or New York that I was from “here.” Sometimes it turned into a “who’s on first” bit: “No, where are you *from* from?”


    “*Here* here?”

    Like Stan, I too miss Tropic – it was an amazing convergence of creative insanity, with Dave and Gene Weingarten and Tom Schroeder, not to mention freelancer T.M. Shine, who became a pizza deliveryman a) to pay the bills and b) to report on what Miami looks like when it’s 3 a.m. and standing in its front yard in its tiger-striped jockey shorts, waiting for you to come up with the change on a twenty.

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