The Importance Of Being Funny: Why We Need More Jokes In Our Lives by Al GiniThe Importance Of Being Funny: Why We Need More Jokes In Our Lives by Al Gini

The Importance Of Being Funny: Why We Need More Jokes In Our Lives

byAl Gini

Hardcover | July 25, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 130 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


When E. B. White said "analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog; few people are interested and the frog dies," he hadn't seen Al Gini's hilarious, incisive, and informative take on jokes, joke-telling, and the jokers who tell jokes. For Gini, humor is more than just foolish fun: it serves as a safety valve for dealing with reality that gives us the courage to endure that which we cannot understand or avoid. Not everyone tells jokes. Not everyone gets a joke, even a good one. But, Gini argues, joke-telling can act as both a sword and a shield to defend us from reality. As the late, great stand-up comic Joan Rivers put it: 'If you can laugh at it, you can live with it!' This book is for anyone who enjoys a good laugh, but also wants to know why.
Al Gini is a well-known Chicago radio personality, professor, and the author of a number of books that examine contemporary topics in American culture and other themes including: My Job My Self: Work and the Creation of the Modern Individual (Routledge, 2000); The Importance of Being Lazy: In Praise of Play, Leisure, and Vacations (Ro...
Title:The Importance Of Being Funny: Why We Need More Jokes In Our LivesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:168 pages, 8.91 × 5.65 × 0.7 inPublished:July 25, 2017Publisher:Rowman & Littlefield PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442281766

ISBN - 13:9781442281769

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsPrologueChapter 1: A Brief, Highly Selective, And Somewhat Fallacious History of Humor and Joke TellingChapter 2: How Do You Make Funny? So, What's a Joke?Chapter 3: Comedy and Coping with RealityChapter 4: Dirty Jokes, Tasteless Jokes, Ethnic JokesChapter 5: Conversations with a Colleague about Humor and EthicsChapter 6: Philogagging: Humor in the Classroom and BeyondEpilogueNotesSuggested Readings/Humor and ComedyIndexAbout the Author

Editorial Reviews

"Socrates argued that the unexamined life is not worth living. Diogenes, Socrates' ever-present heckler and frenemy, would probably have countered that the un-laughed-at life is equally a waste. Fast-forward two-and-a-half millennia, and Al Gini makes a convincing case for why being funny is important not just for teachers and philosophers, but for everyone-especially when it comes to learning how to live in a less-than-perfect world. Indeed, contra Leibniz, it's hard to imagine that this imperfect world in which we live is even the best logically possible one. Then again, logic is something that Gini shows us has always been based on some funny stuff. Laughter, according to Gini, is a natural reaction to the breakdown of rationality and reason. It is also a balm for our personal ills, an anesthetic for our collective pain, the most sincere response we can have when faced with the unknowable-and yet simultaneously a sign of hope that we will be all right even when faced with ills, pain, and imperfect knowledge. Walking a fine line between arguing that so-called political correctness can unacceptably hinder comedy, yet admitting that jokes do carry moral import-and certain jokes cause harm and thus border on hate speech-Gini does not shy away from addressing the question of ethics as well as aesthetics in matters of comedy. In a concise and accessible manner, he thus takes up the history, nature, morality, and pragmatics of joke telling-an art form he admits is not as popular as it once was. Yet out of something "old school," Gini creates a new reason to pay careful attention, and a reason to follow a new Kantian-inspired Comedic Imperative. Plus, along the way you'll not only learn about the importance of being funny, you'll also learn the answer to some of philosophy's greatest mysteries: why the first chicken crossed the first road, why men go bear hunting, and why the elephant was walked."