Eccentrics of Comedy examines the lives and careers of twelve entertainers whose comedic styles were distinctly eccentric: Milton Berle, Ed Brendel, Bobby Clark, Phyllis Diller, the Duncan Sisters, Edward Everett Horton, Alice Howell, Franklin Pangborn, Old Mother Riley, Margaret Rutherford, Colonel Lemuel Q. Stoopnagle, and Ernest Thesiger. For the majority of these performers, Eccentrics of Comedy provides the first serious, detailed discussion of their work. The figures are from all areas of popular entertainment. Milton Berle is "Mr. Television." The Duncan Sisters and Bobby Clark were headliners in vaudeville and musical comedy. Alice Howell was a silent screen comedienne. Colonel Lemuel Q. Stoopnagle was a familiar figure on radio in the 1930s. Edward Everett Horton, Franklin Pangborn, Old Mother Riley, Margaret Rutherford, and Ernest Thesiger are primarily known for their work on screen. The comedic styles vary widely, but Slide highlights similarities between the entertainers.
Slide writes with enthusiasm and affection for his subjects. Both Milton Berle and Phyllis Diller offered him first-hand accounts of their careers, and in many cases he quotes from other film celebrities who worked with the comedians. Slide offers a thorough understanding of the media in which his subjects worked and brings their acts to life.