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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2003
I heard some of the humorists from this book on our local NPR station, and the interviewer gave the best description: Half-kidding, he just said that editor Rosen was the Bob Hope of the USO tour, but without the golf club. And it's all humor for the page, not the stage. But since we're all feeling somewhat like weary troops these days, this kind of humor--smart, reflective, surprising, trusty--is just what's needed. Best of all, it's not humor that banks on profanity or insanity to win you over. It's a great series. I bought the 6 CD set for holiday gifts, for folks who have too much drive time and not enough laughing during the stopping and starting of rush hour. Bravo, this "loose canon of American humor." And thankfully it's not just another survey starting with Train and ending with Keillor. Lots of new talents as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2003
This book is a compilation of funny writings by prolific American writers. Betwixt a strange look at Pokémon and a letter from the Census takers, there are great things, like the periodic table of rejected elements, and 100 favorite body parts. This book is hilarious, and I recommend it to all people, except for people who make census, and the creator of Pokémon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2002
The big, sparkly gem that catches your eye may be the recognizable names like Steve Martin, Ian Frazier, et. al., but the shining gold band that holds that gem in place are the newcomers, like Francis Heaney, Martha Keavney, and Alysia Gray Painter, for whom the editor concocted a special award called the "Discovery Prize" just to draw attention to her. Five years from now these "newcomers" will be the ones whose books you'll pre-order, so if you start liking them now (like I have) you can brag to your friends later that "you knew `em when". (If you and your friends have that kind of relationship. Which I do.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2002
A comedy tour-de-force by some of the funniest names in the business. Well known funny men Steve Martin and Rick Moranis are paired with brilliant and extremely intelligent writers such as Bruce McCall. The real strength of this compilation, however, rests on ithe inclusion of brilliant newcomers like Holly Smith, Tim Harrod, and Judy Grued. Read it if you dare!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2008
While many of these pieces are genuinely funny, others either try too hard, nearly reach funny but don't quite make the leap, or are utterly predictable. I found the editing annoying - at the beginning is an italics-plagued table of contents and at the end a list of 'Submission Guidelines,' both boring compared to the best humor contained in the book. I wish the editors, who presumably added these features, had the presence of mind to edit themselves, because both of these features have the potential to be funny if only they weren't so ramblingly tedious. I also thought the snarky "Fortunes" sprinkled throughout the book (samples: "She was faking," "Two words: Nose job") were, well, unremarkable and dull. If this book is really the best contemporary humor, it should act like it, and refrain from reusing or reinventing lame and tired jokes and ideas. On another note, I thought Francis Heaney's "Holy Tango of Poetry" was hilarious.
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on February 24, 2009
Perfect to take along for a plane or train ride, this second collection from the Thurber House editors is full of funny stories that range from the divine (Merrill Markoe on Buddhism) to the sublimely ridiculous (Steve Martin grants himself access to himself for an interview). You can open this book up to any page and find amusement. I highly recommend keeping this book in your carry-on. A word of warning--you might get strange looks from the other passengers as you laugh out loud.
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on March 12, 2014
Has your boss just taken a big bite out of your rear?, Have the kids gotten you to the point where. You want a cocktail? Has life beaten you to a pulp? Well then, this is a great remedy. I have to admit, I found the preface a little dry, but it is still funny. I. LOVED the rules on submitting entries for publication., almost paid for the book right then. And then you get to the actual contributions , I loved the Will Durst Top 100's. There are also 'ads' placed throughout the book that had to be contributions.
So, if your butt needs a bit of care, or the kids are making you crazy, I recommend that you pick up the book and read 1-3 articles, depending on how much you need a laugh.
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on January 11, 2013
There are some funny bits in this massive volume, written by many of the writers familiar to all of us (James Thurber, Rick Moranis,Steve Martin, and the like).Some things, like the innumerable "funny lists" (something we did in our dormitory in undergrad school), get a bit tiresome, and seem to be just for filling space, and the "fortune cookie" pieces of paper, interspersed throughout the book, are interesting if a bit odd. Overall this is a nice book of humor for reading at a leisurely,episodic pace. It has its good moments in the history of humor and makes for a good read in its ending.
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on April 7, 2015
Poorly written nonsense
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2004
Rarely have I been as disappointed with a book as I was with this one. I love a good laugh, and picked this book up while on a business trip, expecting to have a good chuckle while on the airplane, but alas it was not like that at all.
There were one or two gems in here, but mostly this is a collection of "almost funny" stories and essays. Many of the writers here are trying way too hard to be hip and intellectual.
You will find more laughs per page in this month's issue of "The Economist" magazine. Do yourself a favor and skip this book. Try anything by Woody Allen or P.G. Wodehouse instead.
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