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Only Joking: What's So Funny About Making People Laugh?
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Only Joking: What's So Funny About Making People Laugh?

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  435 ratings  ·  35 reviews
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, aw
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 21st 2006 by Gotham (first published January 1st 2006)
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This is a fun book! A professional comic and his friend, who seems to be some kind of academic type, collaborate to write a treatise on the nature of humour. They've done a good job, and there is at least one joke on every page - a really varied assortment too, ranging from traditional staples (What's brown and sticky?) to sophisticated meta-jokes. Some of the ones I liked most are in my updates.

You can read it for the jokes alone, but I thought the discussion was at least as worthwhile. They lo
Absorbing, funny and surprisingly well written. This is not a shameless celebrity cash-in, this is apparently something which the two authors cared about and wanted to do properly.

They manage the tricky balancing act of fitting plenty of laughs in the text while also taking the subject seriously and giving the reader a really informative and fascinating discussion. Their investigation into every aspect of jokology takes in Elegba the trickster god, The Wise Men of Gotham, the ancient Roman idio
I considered covering this up when I read it outside, as Jimmy Carr is one of those comedians who make ironic or ambiguous offensive jokes, then quite happily accept ticket money from people who wouldn't know irony or ambiguity if they hit themselves in the face with them.

Al Murray, he's the worst one for it. And he has such kind eyes.

Anyway, having said that, I like Jimmy, and his jokes make me laugh SO PERHAPS THE JOKE IS ON ME. This book is a very good exploration of all the different aspects
Will Stokeley
I bought and read this believing it to be a 'how to get more humor in your delivery book'. It isn't.

In this tome, Carr and his co-author repeat the same turgid point chapter after chapter, "Jokes are funny. People like them. If you deconstruct them they loose what makes them funny. "

But deconstruct is precisely what Carr and Comrade try to do. Without much success! They do succeed in making the same points over and over and over, though. Yawn.

Carr includes a few examples of studies done on hum
Steve Mitchell
Although there is a joke at the foot of every page and a dozen between chapters, this is not a particularly funny book. This is a genuine attempt to locate the place that the joke and laughter occupy in the human psyche. As the quote from E. B. White says at the start of chapter five; “Analysing humour is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested, and the frog dies.”
This is a genuinely well thought out treatise into the nature of humour and well worth a look provided you realise that aro
Mar 08, 2014 Spiros added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want an answer to the question "Are you havin' a laugh?"
Shelves: freebox, falsestarts
Man walks into a bar...
I got about three-fourths through this book, which was quite fairly enjoyable and mildly thought provoking, when I took it into a regular Friday night Chinatown haunt, and, due to some sadly predictable stupidity between the drunken owner and a douchebag patron, decided that I wanted to be elsewhere. It didn't seem worthwhile wadding back into the shitstorm (the cops had everything under control) to retrieve it, so I guess I'll never know how it turns out. I'm sure it'll b
If you know what you are looking for, this book can GIVE YOU EVERYTHING. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but this book is fantastic IF you are looking for a book ABOUT jokes and humor, the history, the politics, the culture of joking. It is a sort of anthropology. THIS IS NOT A JOKE BOOK. There are jokes on every page (straight forward, lining the bottom of the pages, I mean) and in between each chapter. But the text is a brilliant survey of the joke taken from different perspectives: myths, off ...more
This book is a funny look at jokes that works well. They explore joking in our society, history, what it's for, how humour is useful, theories of humour, offense, and every other part of joking.
Like most people you probably think Jimmy Carr is a bit of a cock. That occasionally funny bloke who lives on comedy pannel shows and those shows about the 50 most blah blah blah movies/show/events that seem to fill up the Saturday night TV schedule whilst sucking the life out of you. Actual his stand-up material is quite good if a bit formulaic.
Well along with Lucy Greeves (ok she probably did most of the work) he has gone and written a rather brilliant book about comedy. There's also a joke an
That was a fascinating read. Full Stop. It was informative, without loosing itself into too much detail and it gave a really good inside to comedy and also a good overview on the history of 'making people laugh', theories on why we laugh at all, etc.
It is questionable if it had needed quite as much one-liners (not so much in the text itself, which is written humoruous without overdoing it) but there's one at the bottom of every page and you get 3-4 pages of jokes of varying quality between the c
I hoped this would further my understanding of What is Funny. (And the next question: Why.) It didn't.

However, the introduction about the difference between British and American humor was quite engaging. (Are we Yanks really much less agile with irony?) Unfortunately, the book went on to be a light-weight prance through the social history of jokes and a mediocre review of the humor studies in the sciences.

BUT at the bottom of most of the pages are jokes. Read these. Some are the funny you are
Sophie Duncan
I enjoyed this book and not just for the jokes at the bottom of every page. The observation and humour came through, even though, as Jimmy and Lucy admit, analysing why something is funny can be disastrous in killing the joke. I liked the fact that the book discusses the differences between the two authors at times, showing that not everyone finds the same things funny, but at the same time, looking at how humour is used in so many different situations. This book traverses the line between schol ...more
Very funny & imformative
Nice compilation of jokes. The biography is a little light, as may be expected of a lesser known comedian. But the jokes cover the breadth of standards (like the one about the Jewish grandmother's kid who gets swept out to sea) and brief kid pleasers (like "What do you call a fish with no eyes? Ans: fsh!").

Along the way, Carr tries to dissect humor. It's a valiant effort, but it doesn't really engage the reader. Probably because it's too dry.

Recommended for the jokes.
An interesting and enjoyable read about the origins of jokes and what that means in the comedy world today. There were some fantastic jokes sandwiched between the chapters. Overall a fairly comprehensive view, though somewhat light in academic terms occasionally, it certainly gave me a few research points to google when I'm bored one day.
Brian McLachlan
Carr and Greeves have a pretty solid idea of how comedy works, and dissect jokes and humour with great skill and cite some good research. The jokes in the book are also very solid, even if I had heard almost all of them before. For me, it was a bit too afraid to be delve deep, and tried too hard to be funny, but otherwise delivered as promised.
Not bad. I was hoping for a book full of what a joke is made of and how to create them and what makes people laugh, but that was mostly just two chapters and the rest was history and related thoughts. Those two chapters were good though, and it was very interesting to read how Carr thinks about it.
I only read the first two chapters of this book. I doubt I will finish reading it; at least not in the new future. I found that it was just repeating the same point over and over, and not even then jokes at the ends of chapters were making it worthwhile.
Darrin Woods
It's got Jimmy Carr in, which makes it aces already. I am very impressed with the balance of scholarly study and a relaxed tone in this volume. If you want to read a book about jokes, not just of jokes, then I would suggest this one.
Josephine Myles
Not only a really interesting dissection of how jokes and humour in general work, but it's a joke book too. I laughed out loud many times while reading! You don't even have to like Jimmy Carr to enjoy the book ;)
John G.
The best book I've ever read about humor and laughing, from one of my favorite comics too. Very deep and serious examination of humor, its history, its functions, its value. Great, great jokes too!
Ellen Evers
Nice overview. On one hand it's great that the authors tried to be scientific, on the other hand, they did not manage to distinguish between good research and weird speculation.
Dave Powell
good book, thought provoking and funny. favourite joke was one by Les Dawson -

"apparently there is this tribe that worships the number zero - is nothing sacred?"
I haven't read a book on this subject before and I'm not a particular fan of Carr's comedy, but I can't help but appreciate the passion he (and his co-author) writes with.
Fascinating book about the history of jokes, why we laugh, etc. and it contains a lot of jokes that are great fun. A wonderful summer read.
David Raffin
An interesting book on the subject of jokes.
Compiled by the comedian Jimmy Carr ("Throwing acid is wrong. In some people's eyes.")
Managed to get about half way through. Then just read the jokes and put it on the shelf. One to avoid.
Brilliant. Funny, informative, a great non-fiction read (and I don't say that very often).
Farhat Baig
nice attempt to explain why we like jokes. interspersed with one liners throughout (one per page)
a book that claims jokes cant be analysed...and them proceeds to do so. ...more
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James Anthony Patrick "Jimmy" Carr (born 15 September 1972) is an English comedian and humourist, known for his deadpan delivery, dark humour, and use of edgy one-liners. He is also a writer, actor and presenter of radio and television. Carr moved to a career in comedy in 2000 and has become a successful British comedian. After becoming established as a stand-up comedian, Carr began to appear in a ...more
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