Book Report: The Power of Judyism by Judy Tenuta (1991)

I bought this book at the Carondolet YMCA book fair. I spent a $1.00 on it, but I justified it on these factors:

  • It’s a stated first edition.
  • It’s a signed stated first edition, with the inscription “To Stevie – My favorite stud-puppy–bend over! Love, Judy Tenuta”.
  • In the late 1980s, I thought Judy Tenuta was kinda hot.

So I picked this book as my most recent nonfiction reading material. It’s 212 pages, but those pages make judicious use of white space, drawings, and photography that proved that Judy Tenuta was kinda hot in 1991, in a disturbed sort of way. Hey, I was in my late teens. Disturbed but hot would continue to feed my tastes for another half decade yet. She’s also got another luminary of the era, Emo Phillips, in some of the photos. Hey, where did he go? You know, I thought he had a cult following when I was clicking through Hot or Not profiles and saw a lot of chicks born in 1985 continued to appreciate emo. But I digress.

The book, coupled with the last book by a comedienne I thought was hot in 1990 (Rita Rudner, Naked Beneath My Clothes), defines the difference between humor and shtick. Judy Tenuta, with her Love Goddess persona and accordion, represent one, and Rita Rudner, with her musings on life and pointed pauses with lips pursed, represents the other. One translates well to books, and the other doesn’t. One ages well, and one does not–I cannot imagine Judy Tenuta running around with the same observations and act now that she’s about to trip 50; however, Ms. Rudner can continue with her observations and pursed lips without missing a beat.

I also thought Judy Tenuta was kinda amusing ca. 1990, too, but come to think of it, I don’t know I ever saw any extended performance. I think I saw some promos for MTV or VH1 featuring her, but no specials. Otherwise I might have skipped this particular purchase, which depicts how one should worship her and participate in her religion, Judyism. She inserts observations and jokes about commoners and celebrities as they relate to her, but ultimately, it’s only one note played on a variety of instruments and called a symponme.

Not to say that the book was totally meritless, as its value as an artifact of history and my personal life (remember 1991 B.C.–before Clinton?). Still, nothing in the book made me laugh out loud or really chuckle. I didn’t rush to my beautiful wife to tell her what Tenuta said. Nor, probably, will I ever. But she was kinda hot in 1990. For someone almost my mother’s age.

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