Algonquin Round Table
Guy Lochhead, 10/09/10
A group of young New York City writers, critics and actors who met for lunch at the Algonquin Hotel every day from 1919 until roughly 1929. They initially met as the result a practical joke by press agent John Peter Toohey, when he used a ‘luncheon’ he organised to welcome critic Alexander Woollcott back from World War I as an opportunity to mock him. Woollcot enjoyed the joke, and the meeting was a success, so the group decided to meet at the Algonquin each day for lunch. They would eat, play games and wittily critique cultural matters. Together, they wrote ‘No Sirree!’, a theatrical take-off of a then popular European touring revue called ‘Le Chauvre-Souris’ performed for one night only. I hate this stuff… There’s a quote from Gertrude Atherton on the Algonquin Round Table Wikipedia page where she describes (sarcastically) “the Sophisticates” as being “so excitedly sure of their cleverness”. There’s another of Dorothy Parker (an ex-member) describing it as “a bunch of loudmouths showing off, saving their gags for days, waiting for a chance to spring them… It was the terrible day of the wisecrack, so there didn’t have to be any truth…”

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