Only Joking: What's So Funny About Making People Laugh? [NOOK Book]

Overview

Britain’s hottest young comedian presents a seriously funny, up-close look at joking matters—from the social origins of laughter, to the art and craft of humor, to why we can never remember the punch line—featuring over 300 jokes.



As the host of the hit game show Distraction (now in its third season on Comedy Central) and one of the premier stand-up acts working today, ...
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Only Joking: What's So Funny About Making People Laugh?

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Overview

Britain’s hottest young comedian presents a seriously funny, up-close look at joking matters—from the social origins of laughter, to the art and craft of humor, to why we can never remember the punch line—featuring over 300 jokes.



As the host of the hit game show Distraction (now in its third season on Comedy Central) and one of the premier stand-up acts working today, award-winning comedian Jimmy Carr has won over millions of fans around the world with his trademark rapier wit, laced with "exquisitely economical and perfectly timed one-liners" (The Guardian). For this book he teams up with friend and fellow comedy writer Lucy Greeves to take an in-depth look at where humor comes from and how it works, through exploring its purest form: the joke.

Only Joking begins with the mechanism of laughter—how it happens and why even infants do it—then delves into the power of the punch line, exploring the basics of all jokes, from the use of shock and surprise to advanced stand-up techniques such as the "pull-back/reveal." Carr and Greeves go on to explore taboo humor, jokes that bomb, and the psychology of finding something funny. They look into the long-standing connection between politics and humor, and discuss the survival prospects for contentious jokes in the current political climate. Throughout the book they conjure up a supporting cast of colorful joke enthusiasts, from Sigmund Freud to Lenny Bruce, and discuss their influence on the jokes we tell today. Surveying across national, ethnic, and gender divides, this rollicking analysis of why joking will always be close to the human heart is an irresistible exploration of humor that makes clear why we need a good laugh now more than ever.




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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Carr, a British standup comic and host of the game show Distraction, and his friend Greeves, a freelance writer, deserve a round of applause for this entertaining and educational book about the history and practice of humor. In a delightfully roundabout way leavened with a joke or witticism at the bottom of each page the authors discuss theories of comedy, delving into trickster traditions, whether animals understand jokes, gender differences in joking, children's humor ("What's yellow and dangerous? Shark-infested custard"), ethnic and dirty jokes (e.g., the Aristocrats, made famous by the Penn Jillette/Paul Provenza movie), politically incorrect humor and the social role of antiestablishment humor. Tucked here and there are some delightful digressions, including a short bio of a dirty-joke collector, a history of joke books and the story of the development of television laugh tracks. In the end, Carr and Greeves remind readers not to confuse "seriousness of purpose" with a "solemn" attitude: just because people joke about something doesn't mean they're not taking it seriously. And that goes for the history of joking, too. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440627200
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/21/2006
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 751,504
  • File size: 418 KB

Meet the Author

Jimmy Carr is a fast-rising comedy star in both his native England and the United States, where he has had numerous television appearances. Best friend Lucy Greeves, a freelance writer, met Jimmy while they were students at Cambridge University.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    The funniest "serious" book on theory that delivers on both ends.

    I had two reason for purchasing this book: 1st, to understand why jokes work and 2nd, to learn about basic humor theory, and was satisfied on both points. Mr. Carr and Ms. Greeves do very well in setting a tone and pace in the book, switching styles and pace at various intervals. This constant change of style is noticeable, but not annoying, and almost makes it seem like two separate but equally balanced opinions/theories on whatever the chapter's subject is. The theory portion is essentially composed of incremental additions of theorist models and handled on a chapter-by-chapter basis: The chapter discussing sex deals with Freud, etc. The book doesn't necessarily break down why certain topics are/ are not funny, but rather how certain topics have been used in humor historically.
    It is made clear early on that this is not meant to be used as a joke book. I was not looking for a joke book, making this an all the better purchase. Now, that being said, there are plenty of jokes to satisfy your need to dominate any joke-telling situation. Mr. Carr's one-liners are combined with countless jokes from various comedians involved in that chapter's subject. Mr. Carr's usual slaughtering of sacred cows (or is "absolute destruction" a more appropriate term than "slaughter"?) is unfortunately missing, but this solidifies the point that this is not a place for Mr. Carr to advertise his comedy, but to prove his mastery of the subject. Love him or hate him, Mr. Carr has very interesting opinions that, due to Mr. Carr's success, should be given a respectful listen. Other comedians have offered their views, but none are as well-thought out and as potent as "Only Joking". Well done, Jimmy and Lucy.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    Love it!

    I love Jimmy Carr. He's a new, young, British comedian who I find to be amazingly funny. He has a witty comments and snide remarks. This book is truly funny. Love JC!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2010

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