cover image MAXX COMEDY: The Funniest Kid in America

MAXX COMEDY: The Funniest Kid in America

Gordon Korman, . . Hyperion, $15.99 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0746-8

Ironically, Korman's (Son of the Mob) usually smoothly delivered humor often stumbles in this tale about an 11-year-old whose "overpowering ambition" is to be a professional stand-up comic. When he discovers a contest to find "the funniest kid in America," Max Carmody is convinced that this is his big break. To audition, he must submit a video of his comedy routine. But first he has to find an audience who will laugh at his jokes to provide a laugh track for the tape. This quest has an unexpected conclusion—and one that lands Max (who gives himself the stage name of Maxx Comedy) a slot as a contestant in the competition. The bumbling boy and his trio of best friends—including a constantly self-deprecating girl who makes Eeyore sound like Pollyanna—careen from one ill-fated slapstick scenario to another. The gags run from hoary (a girl accidentally splits a seam in her pants) to the gross (when Max and friends accompany his vet dad to a calving, they get placenta all over themselves). Though Max, due to further calamitous happenings, arrives at the contest too late to perform, he does get a second shot at the spotlight, a chance that he—surprise!—also botches. Readers will surely give the hero laughs at some points but there are groaners aplenty as well. Ages 8-12. (June)