The Joker

Andrew Hudgins. Simon & Schuster, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4767-1271-0
Hudgins, a self-proclaimed withdrawn military brat and bookworm, discovered humor early in his life and has clung to it. His mom, he recalls, was his best first audience as he slowly learned the intricacies of humor and its vastly different iterations—bad church jokes, racial humor, sexual humor, and eventually racial-sexual humor. Hudgins examines adolescent humor which, despite his efforts, is generally best left to the adolescents and rarely stands up well to scrutiny. Throughout most of this memoir, Hudgins's stories about his childhood and associated forms of humor fall flat, such as his intimate story about rediscovering his laugh in the midst of heartbreak. Any of this would be more meaningful if Hudgins was a famous comedian or comic writer, but he's just an average guy recalling personal stories that are likely funny to him though don't translate to strangers. Hudgins is at his very best, however, when he writes about his current wife's humor preferences, and the book's tail end is at once sweet, funny (maybe even hilarious), and absorbing. The only problem is that readers have to slog through 300 pages to get there. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4767-1273-4
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