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Enter Laughing

He’s been one of Danny Ocean’s 11, he’s interviewed a “2000-year-old man” and he helped Steve Martin become a jerk. Actor, film director, producer and comedian Carl Reiner can add children’s author to his repertoire. His foray into the field began several years ago with a title inspired by a plea from his grandson—”Tell Me a Scary Story (but Not Too Scary).” It was followed by a sequel (“Tell Me Another Scary Story”) and an upcoming title, “Tell Me a Silly Story.”

Carl Reiner poses with fans following his lecture at the Library of Congress. 2009. Erin Allen. Library of Congress. Reproduction Information: Reproduction information not available. The Marx Brothers, from top to bottom, Zeppo, Harpo, Groucho and Chico. 1931. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-126207 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: NYWTS - BIOG--Marx Brothers--4--Groups [item] [P&P]

Reiner regaled a packed audience at the Library in October 2009 with tales of his storied career.

“I became an actor because of the government,” he said. “Never let anyone tell you that the government shouldn’t help you. The government should help you. That’s why they’re the government.”

Now available as a webcast and feature article in the Library of Congress Information Bulletin, Reiner also talked about his newest title at the time.

In “Just Desserts: A Novellelah,” the main character, like Reiner, is a novelist and a “nonbeliever.” Nonetheless, he decides to email God with a list of suggestions, which include instant punishment for wrongdoers, rather than in the afterlife.

“Men needed God. We invented God to explain how the human brain could come up with great ideas like E=MC2 and vaccines,” he said. “We each have God in us. That’s my premise.”

The Library is no stranger to comedy. It houses the complete Bob Hope joke file, is rich in Vaudeville history and is the repository for the papers of Groucho Marx.