Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-10-14
- Reviewer: Staff
In this deconstruction of comedy, screenwriter and comedy writer Hoover attempts a broad survey of what makes things funny. He wants to show readers how to identify potentially amusing circumstances, relay those circumstances in humorous form, and possibly make a career out of it. He examines many forms of conventional humor and why they are successful, and encourages readers to start pursuing comedy writing. However, to quote Mark Twain, "Explaining humor is a lot like dissecting a frog, you learn a lot in the process, but in the end you kill it." Despite his attempt to provide a survey of all aspects of modern humor, Hoover has gotten so close to his subject that at times it becomes stale. He never delves deep enough into societal and film criticism to make his exploration of the evolution of the sitcom compelling, and his understanding of humor psychologically—as well as its history—is broadly drawn. Still, aspiring comedians willing to study their craft may find a lot to learn from Hoover.