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Aspiring comic Frankie Grace is desperate for some new material. And Frankie's pal-turned-manager Sal has a plan: funeral director by day, funnyman by night.
“Think of all the famous people who have successfully led double lives," said Sal. "There was Jekyll by day and Hyde by night, Count Vlad by day and Count Dracula by night. You certainly have a lot in common with him: you're both very much involved with blood. And then there was Theresa Marufi.”
“Crackerjack waitress in the daytime, dynamite Park Avenue hooker by night.”
“I’m sorry I asked.”
“And then, of course, there’s the Wolfman, who, very much like you, comes alive at the full moon.”
Frankie considered the idea. There was certainly no shortage of comedy clubs in New York City. He could easily make three or four a night. “I’m going to need some new material. The stale one-liners aren’t going to fly at the Peppermint Lounge.”
Sal nodded. “Listen, you can put it together. You’ll find your voice. You need a hook, something that will make you stand out. That’s what you need.”
ISBN 978-0-9789736-6-7, hardcover, $29.95 USD
ISBN 978-0-9789736-7-4, trade paperback $24.95 USD
Available September 19, 2009
Twenty-one-year-old Frankie Grace, heir apparent to the family funeral business, is sure his life's calling lies not in embalming but in entertaining. But on the eve of Little Italy's annual Feast of San Gennaro in 1971, he finds himself in deep when he's summoned to make arrangements for a member of the mob. Will Frankie become a hit—or the victim of one?
Die Laughing nails the characters, from mafioso Johnny Ballsziti and his henchmen to Sal, the neighborhood restaurateur who doubles as Frankie's manager, to Frankie's drop-dead-gorgeous love interest—who happens to be JB's daughter. Food and wine flow as freely as the punch lines in a zany neighborhood that combines an obsession over mourning with a zest for life—and where Frankie Grace always makes sure his customers leave with a smile on their face.
"Graziano mixes a loving portrait of Little Italy in the early 1970s with laugh-out-loud funny scenes." —K. J. Egan, author of Where It Lies
"A captivating and hilarious coming of age novel . . . Graziano, who grew up on Mulberry Street, knows his milieu down to the last glass of grappa." —Catherine Hiller, author of 17 Morton Street
"I almost died laughing . . . a howling roman à clef, the tale of a young Everyman torn between duty and desire, who must choose between the two to find his happiness." —Kenneth Shouler, author of The Everything Guide to Understanding Philosophy