Humor and Witticisms 101 Plus
by Alex Gall

"Mary’s voice was as clear as a bell. The problem was her voice left a ringing in my ears."

Comedy is all about coming up with the right thing to say, in an acceptable amount of time, when presented with a situation or a character. The author’s hundreds of phrases, banter, and wisecracks are collected and presented in an A-to-Z topical format ranging from marriage to politics, health to intelligence. Each heading offers between one and dozens of pithy remarks set up either as anecdotes, punchlines, or simply clever bits of wordplay and creative observation. Each line is a surefire way to crack a smile, chuckle sensibly, or share with a friend for twice the laughter. Much of the humor is good-natured but also ventures into the deprecating or fun-poking variety from time to time, so readers should bring a sense of humor or some thickened skin.

The “Plus” alluded to in the title references a series of longer-form essays and observations that skew more on the humorous side than not but allow for a greater degree of setup, explanation, or storytelling. These essays account for dozens of topics and avenues of thought but still come delivered in the author’s trademark comical style that champions a certain style of independent living while at the same time self-deprecates and keeps the narrator and/or author down-to-earth. The last three sections that comprise this extended section allow for a broader style of writing and humor that doesn’t just go straight for the direct and most efficient laugh on a subject. The jokes and witty remarks in this book can brighten a bland day, create a conversation starter with friends, or be shared just for the heck of it.

Readers picking up this book expecting a typical joke book should have their expectations set immediately going in that this is not a series of call-and-response, setup and punchline snippets that can be repeated in the presence of company. The author’s style is more of a conversational, eased style of speaking that one could imagine being used whenever the discussed topic or subject is brought up. The resulting book paints the author less as a comedian and more as a humorist, with a perspective on life and the world that is uniquely his and made accessible by not taking himself too seriously. Over the course of these hundreds of remarks and quips, the reader gains a strong sense of the author’s personality, particularly his sense of humor.

The essays and random thoughts that populate almost the entire second half of the book are a bit more revealing and a bit more honest, pulling back the showmanship to let a little more of the author’s voice rise to the center stage. Not to say the tone changes from one extreme to the other, as there is still plenty of opportunity for cracking wise in these additional selections, but there’s more to it than just trying to surprise the reader or draw a laugh out of them. It seems almost a shame that these longer-form pieces show up only at the end of this book, as it paints a much clearer and more human picture of the author that informs the rest of the snarky jokes and one-liners in a much more complete way. Still, anyone who likes to crack a punchline or tickle their funny bone will have plenty to digest in this volume.

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