“Steve Allen does so many things, he’s the only man I know who’s listed on every one of the Yellow Pages.” That’s how protege Andy Williams once described Steve Allen. Noel Coward called him “the most talented man in America.” Apt descriptions, indeed, for Allen is not only a comedian, but a prolific writer, composer, pianist, actor, and a serious thinker as well. Those who are familiar with Steve Allen only in his capacity as a comedian may find it surprising that he has produced a collection of thought-provoking observations on a variety of serious topics in his new book, Reflections. But anyone familiar with his two-volume study of the Scriptures – Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality – or his incisive critique of America’s declining intellectual standards – “Dumbth”: And 81 Ways to Make Americans Smarter – will realize that Allen’s serious side is at least as creative and interesting as his flights of comedic fancy.
Steve Allen is, for the most part, a self-taught intellectual. Perhaps this is the reason that he is able to write in a casual but clear, non-academic style, which makes even his weightiest ideas accessible to the average reader. And as befits a professional humorist, Allen displays his considerable wit from time to time in these pages. But by and large, his comments on assorted philosophical, political, and social questions are not only serious but challenging. No matter what issue he addresses – aging, happiness, heroes, justice, love, psychology, religion, sex, or TV – the popular humorist-and-philosopher-in-one always finds something fresh and insightful to say.