"Satire is what closes on Saturday night” is a 1937 quotation of playwright George S. Kaufman (1889-1961). Kaufman co-authored many popular comedies—and satires—but he felt that satire is often lost on an audience and is difficult to write successfully. Broadway shows often officially open on a Friday, so a Saturday closing means a quick death to a show.
Kaufman “satire” saying has applied to movie satires as well as stage satires.
Wikipedia: George S. Kaufman
George Simon Kaufman (November 16, 1889 – June 2, 1961) was an American playwright, theatre director and producer, humorist, and drama critic. In addition to comedies and political satire, he wrote several musicals, notably for the Marx Brothers. One play and one musical that he wrote won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama: You Can’t Take It With You (1937, with Moss Hart), and Of Thee I Sing (1932, with Morrie Ryskind and Ira Gershwin). He also won the Tony Award as a Director, for the musical Guys and Dolls.
Even though he was a sometime satirist, he remarked that “Satire is what closes on Saturday night.”
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
George S. Kaufman
U.S. playwright, 1889-1961
Satire is something that closes on Saturday night.”
Quoted in Current Biography 1941 (1941)
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
8 August 1937, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, “The Sound Track” by Gould Cassal, pg. C3, col. 1:
Hollywood cannot understand this sort of thing, or else it feels that sharp kidding is not good for the box-office. (Mr. Kaufman himself has said that satire is what closes on Saturday night.)
22 August 1937, San Diego (CA) Union, Associated Weekly Magazine Section, pg. 3, col. 5:
“Satire,” says PLAYWRIGHT GEORGE S. KAUFMAN, “is something that closes on Saturday night.”
New York, NY: The H. W. Wilson Company
He is a satirist, though he refuses to concede the title, (“Satire is something that closes on Saturday night,” he says), ...
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
21 December 1946, New York (NY) Post, “The Lyons Den” by Leonard Lyons, pg. 39 (illegible—ed.), col. 3:
Leonora Corbett addressed the Press Institute about Message plays, quoted George S. Kaufman’s “Satire is what closes on Saturday nights,” and added “And Messages, on Monday.”
The confessions of a press agent
By Richard Maney
New York, NY: Harper
They recall George Kaufman’s quip, “Satire is something that closes on Saturday night in Wilmington.”
A Companion to Satire
Edited by Ruben Quintero
Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.
In dramas and theatrical practices so varied, satire takes equally varied forms, though few plays in the modern dramatic canon are purely satiriccal, partly because satire is hard to market successfully in systems that rely on public patronage. As American playwright George S. Kaufman quipped, ‘’Satire is what closes Saturday night.’’
New York City • Music/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • (0) Comments • Sunday, February 05, 2012 • Permalink