The funny man is a middling comic in an unnamed city. By day he takes care of his infant son, by night he performs in small clubs, sandwiched between other aspiring comics. His wife waits tables to support the family. It doesn’t sound like much, but they’re happy, more or less. Until the day he comes up with it. His thing. His gimmick. And everything changes. He’s a headliner, and the venues get bigger fast. Pretty soon it’s Hollywood and a starring role in a blockbuster, all thanks to the gimmick.
Which is: He performs with his fist in his mouth to the wrist. Jokes, impressions, commercials—all with his fist in his mouth to the wrist. The people want him—are crazy for him—but only with his fist in his mouth.
And the funny man, he is tired of having his fist in his mouth.
Thus, as the novel begins, his career’s in tatters, his family’s left him, and he’s on trial for shooting an unarmed man six times. But for the second time in his life, against all odds, he’s found love. This time with another celebrity, who may or may not be sending him coded messages, and may or may not be equally in love—or even know he exists. A coruscating satire of our culture of celebrity, this debut novel documents one individual’s slide from everyman to monster, even as it reveals the potential for grace—and mercy—in his life.
|Publisher:||Soho Press, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||8.48(w) x 5.86(h) x 0.96(d)|
About the Author
John Warner is the managing editor of McSweeney's Internet Tendency. His book, My First Presidentiary: A Scrapbook of George W. Bush (with Kevin Guilfoile) was a number one Washington Post bestseller. John is also the editor of three volumes of material culled from the website, Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans; Mountain Man Dance Moves: The McSweeney's Book of Lists; and The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes. Warner teaches at Clemson University in South Carolina and is a consulting editor to the South Carolina Review.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
John Warner's debut novel THE FUNNY MAN is an interesting tale about an average comic in an average city who hits the big time with a gimmick that suddenly the public can't live without. Unfortunately, he can't really live WITH it, and as his fame skyrockets his life completely unravels. He is poor and in love and grounded before fame, and rich and alone and possibly insane after. If this were just another "fall from grace" story it would be totally unremarkable. However, the author employs two completely different styles in the story, using both third person and first person to tell the story. The third person portions are more narrative, describing what is actually happening. The first person parts are describing what the hero THINKS is happening, which as the story moves on separates more and more from reality. But the genius in the story telling is that the two stories dovetail in a way that the reader can never be sure that what's happening in the "funny man's" head (we never learn his name) ISN'T reality. It's reality to him, to be sure, and Warner's style is convincing enough that the reader is wondering, "Am I reading tragedy, fantasy, comedy, or something in between?" I will admit that the book caught my eye because I was looking for something light and funny. This didn't really fit that bill, but there were definitely some (darkly) funny moments. It was definitely entertaining, just not humorous. Plenty of profanity, so for those who don't like their curse words spelled out, this may not be for you.