“I do not want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member,” Groucho’s letter of resignation to the Friar’s Club, was, at least, certainly written by Groucho. But in Siegel’s microwaved prose, it becomes in “one of its countless dimensions . . . the obliteration not of the self who is making the joke, but of the existential convention, as it were, of having a self, an ego, to begin with.” Never one to leave bad enough alone, Siegel goes on:
If Groucho abolishes his own ego in one stroke with his fabled line—never mind, for a moment, that he also establishes his superior authenticity and power—then who is doing the abolishing? Who is Groucho Marx? He seems to exist in a totally negative space, in which his freedom is synonymous with the fact that he stands for nothing.