Monday, January 30, 2012

The Mammoth Book of Best New Jokes

By Geoff Tibballs

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II

One thing I don’t do is purchase joke books to memorize jokes and share them with others.  Sometimes, I buy them to find jokes to use in my speeches, essays, and other writing that I do — such as in the writing of my college textbooks (but I have found very few that I could use in this manner).

Tibballs had compiled jokes under close to 80 categories.  In 597 pages there are thousands, and many of them are from contemporary comedians and a number of them, too, deal with contemporary politicians such as Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, the Clintons, and George W. Bush.

There are six jokes in the Sarah Palin category.  Wyatt Cenac, an American stand-up comedian, writes, “The governor of Alaska is so dumb she thinks the capital of China is Chinatown and that soy milk is Spanish for “I am milk’” (p. 418).  Jokes by Jay Leno and Conan O’Brian are mentioned here as well.

There are seven jokes listed for Barack Obama.  My favorite is, “A lot of voters mistrust Barack Obama because they say he’s not a real American.  You can see what they mean—after all, he’s slim” (p. 409).

Nine jokes appear under the category “The Clintons.”  In my view, the best one (all are pretty bad!) Is: “Hillary went to a fortune teller who revealed: ‘I have some bad news.  Bill is going to die a horrible death.’
    Hillary said: ‘Just tell me one thing.  Will I be acquitted?’” (p. 130)

There are more than 14 jokes in the category, “College and University.”  I found this one to be the most relevant and incisive: “When a university student returned home for Christmas his mother asked: ‘How’s your history paper coming along?’
    ‘Well, my history professor suggested I use the Internet for research, and it’s been really helpful.’
    ‘Oh, that’s good.’
    ‘Yes.  So far I’ve noticed fourteen people who sell them’” (p. 133).

Of the 8 jokes in the category “Donald Trump,” all but one discuss his hair—which I find a bit disappointing.  That is, it’s such an easy target and requires no imagination whatsoever.

Under the subject, “Vacation and Leisure,” there are nearly 25 jokes.  There was one Steven Wright joke I hadn’t heard: “I want to hang a map of the world in my house.  Then I’m going to put pins into all the locations that I’ve traveled to.  But first I’m going to have to travel to the top two corners of the map so that it won’t fall off the wall” (p. 551).

Needless to say, I loved this book, not because of all the jokes by Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, Homer Simpson, Jerry Seingeld, Sarah Silverman, Amy Poehler, Margaret Cho and many others—including a number of English comedians I’ve never heard of (I guess I didn’t realize the English even had a sense of humor much less comedians who might display it! —Kidding, of course.), but because of the wide variety and range of jokes offered.  There will be at least one to satisfy every reader!

What led me to this book in the first place had to do with my interest in jokes.  Good thing, huh?  I had compiled more than 2,000 which I intended to include a book to be titled, “Laugh Like There’s No Tomorrow!” (a quote from Mark Twain that reflected the 365 days that contained an average of 4 jokes each day).  Tibballs’ book convinced me that such a book as mine would not sell.  That is, why would anyone buy a book with four or five jokes for each of 365 days when they could buy this one with well over 3,000 jokes arranged by categories?  I have even compiled enough jokes for a second and a third edition.  These books of mine did not go out of print, they never saw print.  The jokes, however, appear on Fridays on my blog.

One note of warning about Tibballs’ book.  He is British, and the English spelling of words, use of English references (such as their money), and the use of English comedian’s jokes occur throughout the book.  This really isn’t a handicap; however, it limits the effectiveness of some of the material here.

The Mammoth Book of Best New Jokes can be purchased from   

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