Imagine a world in which you could pick up a 174-page paperback book that would contain everything you always wanted to know about comedy, written by an Emmy Award nominee who'd been a stand-up comedian and writer for Saturday Night Live, Mork and Mindy, and The Muppets Take Manhattan. And let's say this author's wife was a family physician and his daughter was an opera singer. Let's complicate things even further in this world by saying that a dueling scar forced this author to purchase prosthetic eyebrows. Ladies and gentlemen -- all this is absolutely true, at least according to the author's bio. That world is here now.
The book in question is Funny: The Book: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Comedy. It's a fun-packed, wide-ranging look at the principles and practice of comedy, from its origins in pre-history to the worlds of movies, TV, prose, theater, stand-up, and jokes. The author in question is David Misch. And I'm here to tell you in no uncertain terms that the book is informative, insightful, and most importantly -- funny. Really funny. Which is quite impressive for a book that goes way beyond presenting jokes and comedy routines -- it explores the evolutionary, psychological, scientific, philosophical and even theological underpinnings of humor. Who even knew that humor had philosophical and theological underpinnings? Now you do.
Even so, as Misch states in his introduction, "... because the subject of Humor is so vast, by necessity this treatise will be half-vast. And that is one of three puns in this book."
Among the topics included in the book are:
A very cool aspect of the book is its interactive elements. Readers can access audio and video clips referred to in the book via links on the book's website.
I'd always heard/thought that you can't teach people to be funny; either they're born with the "funny gene" or not. While that may or may not be so, this book proves that you can teach people about comedy in a truly entertaining fashion. So, what are you waiting for? This book isn't going to buy and read itself.
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