[Fred] Allen wrote his own material, so even if he doesn’t have a novelist’s sense of form, he does know a good story. One rooming house, to which he was exiled after the one with cockatoos shut down, “was owned by a professional beggar. This man had no legs and moved around the house on his two stumps, using his hands to bounce himself along from room to room. The actors called him ‘the Seal.’
"This book is populated by the most interesting people: Contortionists, monologists, cockatoo trainers, most of them broke, dependent on each other but in mortal competition for stage time. All of them seem to be stealing each others’ acts, and hungry for both meat and booze."