The Daily Beast
December 17, 2013
So, what do you think makes a great column?
A lot of newspaper columns used to be written in a rat-a-tat-tat, fast-paced style—and they tended to be funny. They were a little relief from the grimmer, grayer parts of the newspaper, and one of the best people at doing this was Will Rogers. He had a weekly newspaper column called “Illiterate’s Digest,” and it was just him riffing off the events of the day. Many of the things we remember Will Rogers saying—like “I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.”—are right out of his column. And they didn’t need a lot of connective tissue because the connective tissue was really what had happened that last week and so there was no need for throat clearing at the beginning or summation at the end or bloviating in between.
Why did the humor column fall out of fashion?
Because Dave Barry retired.