The Joker: A Memoir
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The Joker: A Memoir

3.06 of 5 stars 3.06  ·  rating details  ·  49 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Since Andrew Hudgins was a child, he was a compulsive joke teller, so when he sat down to write about jokes, he found that he was writing about himself—what jokes taught him and mistaught him, how they often delighted him but occasionally made him nervous with their delight in chaos and sometimes anger. Because Hudgins’s father, a West Point graduate, s...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by Simon & Schuster
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Lisa
Jul 23, 2013 Lisa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: memoir
Meh. Unfortunately, I was expecting more jokes and less memoir, and I got more memoir with not enough jokes, which would be nice if I'd a) at least heard of this guy before I read his book or b) cared, but I didn't, and reading lots and lots and LOTS about him didn't make me care about him more. The beginning starts off well enough with all the jokes you tell as a kid and why they are funny, or not, depending. There are a lot of religious jokes, but so much of it is about him and his upbringing...more
Brandon
The Joker is an interesting read about the life of Andrew and his need for laughter and jokes. Most of the book is about his life growing up and his need to understand words, and later on jokes. A majority of the jokes are racist or deal with sex, so if you are expecting a book about clean jokes, this is not the book for you. I felt it was relatively long and slow at points, but still a decent read.
Ricky Kilmer
I received a copy on the mail a few days ago. I am thankful for the book and looked forward to reading this story. It starts out great in his youth and takes you along for the ride. There's some laugh out loud parts and a few tugs of the heart along the way. Andrew shares his memories with us all in an accessible and easy to read way. while I love to read and I'm not sorry to have read this glimpse into his life, it's a book I probably wouldn't have ran out to buy after having read it. I would s...more
Matt Lohr
A book I'd like to give to everyone who's ever wrinkled their nose or flat out gotten angry over a joke I've told. I have for years had a reputation as a "room-clearer", the man who revels in telling jokes that end the conversation and disgust half the people within earshot. Why do I do it? Why do I exult in telling jokes that I know to be patently false, insulting, vicious, blasphemous, or just plain gross? Andrew Hudgins's chronicle of his life as an inveterate, sometimes uncontrollable joker...more
Diane
I have never been a joke-teller, other than elephant or knock-knock jokes, but loved the television shows of Lucille Ball, Bill Cosby, Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, Jack Benny, Robin Williams, the appearances of Jonathan Winters and many of the Saturday Night Live skits. I never saw the humor in the Three Stooges and Don Rickles. There was always a biting sarcasm to so much of their humor.

This book explained much of why I was, and still am, uncomfortable to many jokes and jokesters. I appreci...more
David V.
Received as an ARC from the publisher. Read it in just a few days.
Whew!!!! What can I say about The Joker? If you expect a book of terrific jokes, this ain't it! It's the memoir of a poet who loves telling and hearing jokes. He analyzes his life and the jokes he heard along the way, through his school years, his numerous re-locations as a "military brat," from friends, openly racist relatives, his marriage, his divorce, and his second marriage. I cringed on almost every page as most of the jokes...more
Akeiisa
In this memoir, Andrew Hudgins discusses how jokes have been a part of his life and shaped some of his thinking. He goes into great detail of the history of different types of jokes, their origins, and how jokes allowed him to learn about different taboo subjects as he grew up - sex, racism, religion.

Many of the jokes and discourses on them made me uncomfortable. Mostly because they felt like excuses to tell unfunny jokes/stories and rationalize how they reflect stereotypes or denigrate groups o...more
Linda Eells
I tried...I really did. I picked up this book with great anticipation and put it down with great disappointment. I even got my husband to give it a whirl
( the ultimate joker ) but after an hour he handed it back.

I understand the intent of the author but he could have accomplished it with half the verbiage. It was funny but covered with too many words..and i do believe the humor just may not be for everyone.
My heart goes out to the little boy trapped inside a grown man who is jumping up and down...more
Paige
I won this book as part of the first reads program. I was so excited when I won my book and thought this book was going to be really great. I was unfortunately let down. I felt the author was too wordy and took way to long to get to the point. I also felt that for the most part there wasn't a lot of jokes in the book. I did think about humor as a whole in a new light though. I hadn't really thought of what the world would be like if nobody laughed. Overall, this book was okay. The book isn't eve...more
Samantha
I really liked this book, but it was hard to place it. It really was split down the middle - half memoir, half joke analysis - and I can see how a reader who wanted more of one would be disappointed. However, I thought the memoir aspects that peeked in were touching and thoughtful, the meditations on humor both amusing and insightful, and the interplay between the two balanced and complementary. I could feel a little bit of Hudgins' joker in myself, too, so the reassurance he offered was nice.
Juliana Gray
This is one of the smartest books I've read this year. Hudgins doesn't simply recount his life story; rather, he structures his memoir around the evolution of his sense of humor, his love of jokes, and the subject matter (religion, race, and sex) that he heard most often and was most affected by as he came of age in Alabama. Some critics don't seem to like or understand Hudgins's hybridization of memoir and analysis of humor, but I found it intelligent, moving, and laugh-out-loud funny.
Janet
This has been getting such great press I wanted to skim it and see what the fuss was about. As a recovering class clown, I certainly identify with that seemingly undeniable need to crack a joke even if you're totally unsure of your audience and outcome. Hudgins cannot NOT joke, and it's led him into hilarity and, at times, less than ideal situations. Good for Father's Day, esp. if your dad is a jokester!
Kelly
*I received a free copy of The Joker: A Memoir from Goodreads' First Reads program.
This book...is not for the easily offended. Jokes are everywhere, but there is also analysis behind the jokes and humor as a whole. Coming from a dysfunctional family, reading this book made my day!
Nicholle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daphne Atkeson
I would have given this book a 4, but the energy, fresh insights, eerily reminiscent observations about the jokes of childhood/adolescents petered out (sorry) by 3/4 through and the "punchline" fell flat. Kept me interested, however, and I'm not fond of memoirs.
Wanda
This book was a good reads giveaway I would not have bought the book. This book was hard to read mainly because most of the jokes were crude and insensitive. Yet, due to his life circumstance, I can understand why he would relate to being a "jokester".
Meg
Sep 25, 2013 Meg rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Some off-color jokes that were integral to the storyline were not enjoyable for me to read.
This review is based on an ARC provided to me by the publisher.
Molly
An occasionally funny, mostly pleasant, sometimes tedious memoir. I guess the take home is: the more you think about a joke the less funny it usual is.
Jenny
I appreciate that the author is trying to be frank, but racist and sexist jokes will never be funny to me.
Allison Sweeney
I enjoyed this book, I thought it was well written and made me smile. Thumbs up!
Keith
A funny and poignant book by one of the best teachers I ever had.
Mr.
A very interesting book,
I really enjoyed it.
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ANDREW HUDGINS is the author of seven books of poems, including Saints and Strangers, The Glass Hammer, and most recently Ecstatic in the Poison. A finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, he is a recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships as well as the Harper Lee Award. He currently teaches in the Department of English at Ohio State University.
More about Andrew Hudgins...
After the Lost War: A Narrative Babylon in a Jar: Poems Ecstatic in the Poison Shut Up You're Fine: Instructive Poetry for Very, Very Bad Children The Glass Hammer: A Southern Childhood

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