Monday, August 19, 2013

the Joker by Andrew Hudgins

Did you ever meet a guy for whom nothing is sacred? He (and it is always a he) tells racist, sexist, homophobic jokes among many others and because of his attitude or demeanor or what, I don't know, can get away with it?  That is this guy.

Andrew Hudgins Professor of Poetry at Ohio State (THE Ohio State University)  has always been enamored of humor and since he remembers hearing his first joke (what is black and white and read all over?)  he has been seeking out and dissecting jokes to understand what makes them funny.

This is an oddly fascinating memoir in which he tells the story of his life through the prism of joke telling.  He carefully remembers and records all the jokes he's enjoyed and told and even hated over the years.  Jokes correspond with an excellent anaylsis of racism and sexism and homophobia. They also play pretty heavily into his childhood and teen years.

Although he does bring his memoir into the present day, about 85% of this memoir is dedicated to his life at age 18 or before. I began to wonder if I would ever know what became of him, if he married (yes twice) or had children (no) or got a job.

Anyway, very interesting twist on the memoir.  Fabulous discussion about humor--all of it, the good, the bad, and the racist. Thanks to Susan for the recommend. Available at the Public Library.

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