Monday, September 19, 2011

1001 funniest things ever said

Edited and with an introduction by Steven D. Price

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I was skeptical of this book when I first selected it — only because what appears funny to one person often is not funny to me.  At least that has been my experience.  As I read more and more of the book, I kept thinking that the statements (not all jokes per se) selected were great.  I even laughed out loud at some of them.

So, as a test of my perceptions, I gave the book to my father-in-law, Edgar E. Willis.  For those reading this who are unfamiliar with that name, he is the author of that great book on humor entitled, How to be Funny on Purpose: Creating and Consuming Humor.  His book is available at

As an author of a book on humor, as a critical analyst of humor in the contemporary world as well as what it takes to be funny, as a teacher of how to construct jokes, as a lecturer on the art of humor, and as a true connoisseur of quality humor, I thought his reaction to the selections in 1001 Funniest Things Ever Said would be a true gauge of the book’s merits.

I was correct.  He not only read the book from cover-to-cover, he wanted to have it for an extended amount of time.  Also, with a question on a quotation from Dan Quayle (which he had used as an example in his own book), I even took the time to Google it and get a complete explanation.  (It was a quotation attributed to him that probably was never said by him.)

All the way through the book, both Edgar and I came up with the same question: How in the world did someone discover all of this great material?

Although the book is 322 pages long, it is only 6-inches by 7-inches, and there are usually only 3 or 4 entries on a page; thus, it is a quick read.

You will undoubtedly discover jokes you have heard (or even used) before.  I found, for example, the joke Dr. Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, discovered from his scientific experiment in 2002, to be world’s funniest:
        Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses.  He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed.  The other man pulls out his phone and calls emergency services.
        He gasps to the operator, ‘I think my friend is dead!  What can I do?’
        The operator in a calm, soothing voice replies, ‘Take it easy.  I can help.  First, let’s make sure he’s dead.’
        There is a silence, then a shot is heard.  Back on the phone, the hunter says, ‘OK, now what?’  (pp. 232-233)

The reason I remember this joke so well is that it is the first joke I use in a chapter, “Using the Internet to Find or Develop Jokes,” in the book How to be Funny on Purpose: Creating and Consuming Humor.  In that chapter I offer, as well, five pages of jokes (with explanations) from that same scientific study.

1001 Funniest Things Ever Said is the kind of book to make available to guests in the waiting room of a dentist’s or doctor’s office, put on the coffee table in your living room, or place in that special room in your house where short reading times are the norm.  It is delightful, entertaining, and delicious.

This book can be found at 1001 funniest things ever said

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have you read the latest book review? Have you read the book? What do you think? Thank you for your comment.