Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Funny Man” as Want to Read:
The Funny Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Funny Man

3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  61 ratings  ·  19 reviews
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 headli ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Soho Press
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Funny Man, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Funny Man

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 210)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jul 19, 2013 Alan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Class clones
Recommended to Alan by: Sheer randomness
The Funny Man is a pretty good book, although it's actually not all that funny. That's okay, though. Parts of this novel are well worth a chuckle or two, but in reality the business of being funny isn't a funny business. Far from it, in fact. Many comedians have come through significant pain in order to appreciate and harness the humor they use to entertain us, and I think The Funny Man does a fairly good job of showing us that end of the business.

However, the Funny Man in this book (he's never
awesome cover art.
This was a first read contest win.

While so many people think this book is funny, I actually think it is a sad. The funny man (unknown name and I wonder why that is all he is known by) has everything before he made it big. He has a wife, child, home but to me that still was not enough for him. He had to have more. He had to come up with the next big thing to get noticed.

To me this book shows what can and possibly will happen when any of us think that what we have is not enough and w
I won this book from Soho Press. <3

I found The Funny Man hard to finish. I pretty much had to repeatedly tell myself that I would read every day. Now I am going through withdrawal, because as soon as it was gone I missed it. I will probably read it again in a few months.
Why? I've no idea.

I want to go to a magical island. (view spoiler)

I'm pretty sure that with the circumstances surrounding the murder he committed... he was justified. If
Jenn Ravey
The funny man has always been funny enough. As a kid, he didn't know the word for someone who makes people laugh, but he asked. Comic. At first the laughs come in small clubs late at night while his wife and baby wait for him at home, his wife exhausted from her waitressing job.

One day, his stay-at-home-dad routine pays off. The kid sticks his hand in his mouth and makes a noise, laughing, and the funny guy repeats the gag, complete with impressions of celebrities, for an agent, and then to bi
There’s a lot of craft I admire in The Funny Man. Initially, chapters alternate between the titular character’s first-person narration of his manslaughter trial in the present, and third-person narration of the funny man’s career arc. (For a while I was mildly irritated by the funny man’s namelessness, but it’s eventually justified; the novel is really about the nature of celebrity and the main character’s lack of a specific identity is significant.) It’s perhaps a third of the way through the n ...more
Yair Bezalel
Not what I expected. If you know me based only on the reviews I've written then you can be forgiven for not knowing that I'm a big admirer of comedy generally and stand up comedians specifically. Carlin, Hicks, Hedberg, Kinison, Seinfeld, Rock, Dangerfield, CK, Williams, they are all, to me, and when they're at their best, a close approximation to true modern philosophers. They make it all bearable by making it ridiculous. And I'm reminded as I write this of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose an ...more
John Warner's debut novel begins with the title character (only ever known as the Funny Man) on trial for manslaughter. This is a celebrity trail, the trial of the year, maybe even the decade! Did this famous comedian who used to do that funny thing with his hand really shoot that guy dead in that alley? Why? And was he ever that funny, anyway?

Seamlessly moving back and forth between first person and third person narration, Warner does a good job of spoofing celebrity, and all its pitfalls, obse
A comedian is on trial for murder, but his real issues go deeper. A mind-bending satire on celebrity and its discontents. Favorite quote: “What most people don’t understand about dreams is that they can look a lot like reality.”

Also, I wonder which comedian different readers have in mind when they read this novel. I kept picturing Louis CK.
i liked funny man by john warner. it was a good and fun read to red during some down time. i liked how the author wrote it in first person of the funny man during the trial to show what he does and thinks during it. then he switches to third person so you can view the funny mans career as a comedian. this book gives a good insight on the life of a comedian and the trial precess. the book is a good read for people interested in comedians and the criminal process. i really enjoyed reading this boo ...more
Satirical, often absurd, often funny, and sometimes poignant evocation of the nature and effects of the celebrity culture. A seemingly light-weight story, engagingly told. The talented narrator of the audiobook renders perfectly the voice of the Funny Man (who is never named) and assorted other characters---handlers, fans, phantasms---and pulls the reader into the unreal reality of sudden fame. Perhaps not a great book, but clever, insightful, enjoyable, and, in many ways, eye-opening.
I won this book through the Goodreads First Reads Program

A well-written satire on becoming famous and what happens afterwards. The main character goes from struggling comic and devoted husband and dad to self-centered superstar - and then beyond. The book is spot on and snarky about the path upwards to fame, but becomes even more interesting after it all starts to inevitably fall apart. If you like some sarcasm and social commentary with your humor, you should enjoy this book.
I really had fun with this book. It goes quickly and gets a bit odd - but it's a wonderful debut from an author who I've been waiting see a debut from since I first encountered his work some years ago. And I've been hearing about this book since I started following the Tournament of Books, so I'm thrilled to've finally had it in hand. It's a good read - and I can't wait to see what comes next.

A satirical novel about celebrity culture. The title character is an unnamed comedian who, more or less accidentally, becomes a huge success before becoming a spectacular failure (divorce, addiction, manslaughter). The book is funny, sometimes very, but also sometimes strained in its humor. Celebrity culture is a fat target for satire, and this book does it well.
The Funny Man by John Warner is at the same time a very funny novel and also a very sad novel. The Funny Man is the story of a comedian who becomes very famous and successful because of a stupid gimmick But the suddenstardom is not all smooth.Warner is a very gifted writer. He shows that this story can be everyone's story.
Kristin Boldon
Bought this at an indie bookstore, because it's by John Warner, a writer at the site Morning News and the one who does the fun event Biblioracle there, then passed it on. More dark than funny, and with a complex, thought-provoking ending.
Martin Maenza
For my review please visit my blog: Martin's View: The Funny Man.
Funny! A cautionary tale, featuring mystery, romance, and auspiciously malleable anatomy.
Mar 08, 2013 David marked it as to-read
I do not miss the chance to read a book about stand-up comedy....
Emily marked it as to-read
Jan 21, 2015
Catgirl (in Perth)
Catgirl (in Perth) marked it as to-read
Jul 10, 2014
Corinne marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2014
Trish is currently reading it
Apr 16, 2014
Maura Pozek
Maura Pozek marked it as to-read
Mar 31, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Paris to Die For
  • Funeral for a Dog
  • Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight
  • Glass
  • Maybe We'll Have You Back: The Life of a Perennial TV Guest Star
  • Horsemen of the Esophagus: Competitive Eating and the Big Fat American Dream
  • Two Cents Plain: My Brooklyn Boyhood
  • Descent
  • The Day We Delay
  • Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women
  • English Slacker
  • A Pure Drop: The Life of Jeff Buckley
  • Little Chicago
  • Dark Quartet: The Story of the Brontës
  • Blood and Soap: Stories
  • The Tapestry Shop
  • Forest Gate: A Novel
  • Biggest Elvis
Fondling Your Muse: Infallible Advice from a Published Author to a Writerly Aspirant/A Hands-On Guide to Writing Your Very Own New York Times Bestseller So You Want to Be President?: Find Out If You Have the Ego, Bankroll, and Moral "Flexibility" to Lead the Nation and Take on the World My First Presidentiary: A Scrapbook by George W. Bush Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's Humor Category

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »