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What I'd Say to the Martians and Other Veiled Threats

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,350 ratings  ·  155 reviews
Jack Handey is one of America's favorite humorists, from his New Yorker pieces to his Deep Thoughts books and Saturday Night Live sketches. Now, in What I'd Say to the Martians, Handey regales readers with his incredible wit and wacky musings. ...more
Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2008)
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

One of my fondest childhood memories is spending Saturday night at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and staying up late to watch Saturday Night Live. A million few years later, I remain loyal to SNL – I’m just old now, so the correct name for Saturday Night Live would be something along the lines of Sunday Morning DVR.

SNL has a history of producing superstars,

(Note: I’m calling out Aidy Bryant as the next best thing. She brings the LOLz er
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I try not to give five stars to very many books. My ratings-criteria is fairly simple, based on a system first introduced to me by the brilliant Roger Ebert.

What is the book/movie/art piece/piece of cultural detritus trying to do, and how well does it do it?

Assessing a work under this criteria means one cannot give lower and higher scores based on one's personal tastes. One must cast aside personal bias and rate the work simply on what they determine it is trying to do, and well it is going abou
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: appreciators of all things stupid
Shelves: funny
This book is one crescendo of stupidity after another. Which is why I loved so much of it. The middle slowed down significantly and the ending had descriptive passages of former sat. night live material that didn't work in written format but the parts that made me laugh, MADE ME LAUGH!
Did I feel shallow and unintelligent for letting the collection of Nerudo poetry, the short stories of checkov, and the moviegoer keep waiting for me on my nightstand as I barreled forward with this inane collectio
I chose to read this book because the title was intriguing to me and the sample stories on the back looked somewhat funny.
This book is a compilation of short comedy stories. Most of them revolve around the theme of the author being in a normal place or situation then saying something very out of the ordinary.
I liked the book a lot for around the first hundred pages, the stories were funny and they were very short so they didn’t get old. Another thing I liked is how there were repeated charac
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you do not like this book then you are a fool.
It's difficult to explain how I feel about this book now that I've finished it. The author's use of dark humor and irony was hard to decipher at some points. There were jokes that I genuinely found amusing while others seemed to just go straight over my head; not because I didn't understand them but because I didn't understand how it was funny. You can tell immediately that Handey has a very active, wild imagination. It was interesting to read about his thoughts and ridiculous scenarios, I've ne ...more
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, format-ebook
Super funny. Some recycling of material (Deep Thoughts and SNL skits), but hilarious. Recommended.
Dave Osmond
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious! Especially fond of "Scary Skeleton"...

(If you're a Millennial or younger, don't even bother. You won't get it. Just go back to your Xbox and your Tiktok account...)
This was silly and fun.
Terry Clague
Feb 09, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In 1997 I acquired my very first email address from Cardiff University. Exciting times. One result of this new-found medium of exchange was that friends would share things from the internet. One such email that did the rounds contained Jack Handey's dark thoughts and we all hooted to discover this stuff that had previously been aired on Saturday Night Live. I still remember some by heart, such as:

One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyla
May 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fromthelibrary, humor
Whether you were introduced to Jack Handey through Saturday Night Live, his pieces in The New Yorker, Outside and Playboy, or one of his many collected works, including Deep Thoughts, Deeper Thoughts or Deepest Thoughts, his humor, born from Steve Martin's "Jerk Humor,"; plays the fool again in these longer essays. Essays/bits/theories (I'm not sure WHAT to call them)vary from why your skeleton should be as scary as possible after you die to how he'd film a nature documentary. In addition to th ...more
Eric T. Voigt
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spring-thirteen
Zaniness. What isn't to enjoy about the egotistical dullard who lives in a world of Draculas for neighbors and Everests that can be ascended hundreds of times? Nothing. Rhetorical questions are destroying my critical reputation. It's like I'm using the question mark to distance myself from the truth instead of just telling you outright I laughed a bunch and am sitting here pissed that his SNL sketch "The Zombies vs. The Bees" was produced but never aired. Why didn't they air that? It reads so we ...more
Mac Flynn
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gems among a few duds, the scattered stories and snippets of snark will leave you smiling, if not flat-out laughing. A must-read for anyone who likes jokes with punchlines that will keep you turning the page.
Phil Ganz
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the funniest and most creative books I've ever read. ...more
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I’d Say to the Martians by Jack Handey

Martians have been on our mind for millennia.
It may well be that concern with, fear of those who live nearby and can visit the Earth and possibly conquer it have affected the psyche of humanity.

Maybe it’s subconscious.
War of the Worlds is an example where Orson Wells and his veridical rendition of a Mars Attack have created panic of a large scale.

Listeners to War of the Worlds have been sure that Martians are conquering the planet and it is the end of t
Bill Weaver
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jack Handey is famous for his "Deep Thoughts" on Saturday Night Live:
quick segments where an announcer would just read something Handey had
written. My favorite has always been, "To me, it's a good idea to
always carry two sacks when you walk around. That way, if anybody
says, 'hey, can you give me a hand with?' You can say, 'Sorry. Got
these sacks.'"

That's Handey. Short. Simple. Profoundly clever. I read about this
book in a McSweeney's article claiming that Handey had written the
greatest joke ever
Jason Edwards
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really good litmus test would be one where you ask people if they like Jack Handey. The ones who know him personally are exempt from this test. Also ones who have never heard of him. Also ones who are deaf and didn’t hear what you said. Also ones who have a mouthful of ramen so you can’t hear their answer. (Maybe the deaf guys and the ramen guys should get together. That’d be a hoot).

Then if the person you asked says yes, he passes. If he says no, write a movie about how Liam Neeson is going t
Comedy is hard. Comedy is harder in writing where you lose so many key ingredients like timing, visual gags, or even tone of voice. Comedy is even harder if you're writing short vignettes. There's little time to set up characters or establish a scene in the reader's imagination. It made Jack Handey's book of short and absurd vignettes that much more enjoyable, even the premise of such a book is in itself absurd.

There's not much more to say, it's funny. My only recommendation is to read it in sma
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second foray into the print world of Jack Handey (I read his hilarious comic novel, The Stench of Honolulu last year) and I found myself laughing out loud on the train several times while reading this. I thought the inclusion of the classic Handey-written SNL skecthes at the end seemed a bit tacked on, and I wish that the book were a bit longer, but "WISTTMAOVT" made me so happy I wanted to get up and do the funny cowboy dance Handey writes so lovingly about throughout this book. ...more
Theo Bazin
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I'd Say to the Martians is a wonderful collection of writings by Jack Handey, not all of them veiled threats exactly. Handey also talks about some of his favorite deep thoughts, his ideas for paintings, why it's important to have a scary skeleton, and of course, what he would say to the martians. With repeated references to his "funny cowboy dance" and his "so-called friend Don", Jack Handey's book is sure to keep the reader entertained and laughing all the way through. ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear lord what a lot of silly stories. All these foolish musings. Why oh why would someone read or write all this senseless dribble.

One unbelievably weird story after another. There's so little time to lead an intellectually stimulating live and writers spend their lives inventing these extremely wacky stories. How much nonsense can a man endure??

Well, as much as possible, so far as I'm concerned. Bring it on. I want more!

Well Hedlun was silently laughing and shaking his whole body he found this book so funny. I had a few smiles and the Happy Fun Ball brought back some memories, but this author's humor didn't fit my own...Hedlun found the essay about his wife being his 3rd best friend, hilarious, I want to know if this guy is still married:)...short book and was able to read it during basketball game breaks so a quick and easy read.
Doug Moe
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I'll never forget the time the president came to our town. When I saw him go by, he looked so much older and sadder than I thought he was. Also, why was he driving an ice cream truck?"

"I tried to explain to little Betsy how, when horses get old, you have to take them out and shoot them. But then I thought, Why not wait until she gets a horse?"

Funny funny funny. Highly recommended.
Peter Dyer
Mar 11, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could not finish this book. Many years ago I liked this sense of humour (back when I was a teenager), a little like Kurt Vonnegut. I've grown up and I no longer find "ridiculously stupid" funny anymore.

I would recommend this book to a teen or person in their early 20's but if you have not laughed by page 20 then put it down and go find a much better book to read.
Katie Leonard
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading a few of Jack's stories, I could recognize his pieces in other magazines. His voice is distinct, witty, and memorable. Particularly enjoyed his lists of thoughts and the story of preparing a rabbit. Though I wasn't too fond of his SNL scripts and frequent mentions of the cowboy dance, "What I'd Say to the Martians" nonetheless remains a great collection. ...more
Christopher Brown
I get that some people find Jack Handey to be funny - the why escapes me. There were a few sentences that I enjoyed but they were few and far between. Perhaps this is better on a SnL skit, or it did not age well, or his other works are just better. Its supposed to be zany but I just found it tedious.
Brian Necastro
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Also very funny. Not quite as consistently funny as The Stench of Honolulu. But some chapters were a real hoot. The handful of sketches (both aired and unaired) from SNL included at the end were a great capper.
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very silly and fun little book. I especially liked his references throughout the book to his funny cowboy dance. One of these days I'll look that up on YouTube and see if it's as funny as I imagine it to be. I enjoyed this book. ...more
Tristan Williams
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"I came here in peace, seeking gold and slaves. But you have treated me like an intruder."

This book is fantastic.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was okay. Nothing here I have not seen before from Handey, still there were some laughs, and it was a nice diversion.
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Jack Handey is an American humorist. He is best known for his Deep Thoughts, a large body of surrealistic one-liner jokes, as well as his "Fuzzy Memories" and "My Big Thick Novel" shorts. Many people have the false impression that Jack Handey is not an actual person, but a character created by Saturday Night Live or a pen name used by National Lampoon. ...more

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