How Comedy Conquered Culture–and the Magic That Makes It Work
Author: Jesse David Fox
One of NPR’s Best Books of 2023. A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Named a Most Anticipated Book by Vulture, Elle, Chicago Tribune, The Millions, and Lit Hub.
“Comedy Book changes the way we talk about an art form that is more diverse and exciting than ever before.” —Seth Meyers
“Energetic and wise . . . Comedy Book is not the definitive history of the past three-plus decades. It’s Fox’s history, and better for it.” —The New York Times Book Review
From a beloved comedy critic, a wisecracking, heartfelt, and overdue chronicle of comedy’s boom—and its magic.
In Comedy Book, Jesse David Fox—the country’s most definitive voice in comedy criticism and someone who, in his own words, enjoys comedy “maybe more than anyone on this planet”—tackles everything you need to know about comedy, an art form that has been under-considered throughout its history, even as it has ascended as a cultural force. Weaving together history and analysis, Fox unravels the genre’s political legacy through an ode to Jon Stewart, interrogates the divide between highbrow and lowbrow via Adam Sandler, and unpacks how marginalized comics create spaces for their communities. Along the way, Fox covers topics ranging from comedy in the age of political correctness and Will Smith’s slap, to the right wing’s relationship with comedy, to comedy’s ability to heal in the wake of tragedy.
With memorable cameos from Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, John Mulaney, Ali Wong, Kate Berlant, and countless others, Comedy Book is an eye-opening education in how to engage with our most omnipresent art form, a riotous history of American pop culture, and a love letter to laughter.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux