Every few weeks a politician, pundit or soap star causes a media storm by making a gaffe or tweeting a joke that some people do not find funny. Comedy is very hard to get right and yet we think it's important to have a sense of humour and not take yourself too seriously. On the other hand, a sense of humour failure can lead to losing your friends, your Twitter account, your job, your career and, in some cases, your life.
James Cary knows about this. He is a sitcom writer who's written jokes about bomb disposal in Afghanistan (Bluestone 42), defended comments about Islam by Ben Elton on Newsnight, been on a panel with radical Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, sits on the General Synod of the Church of England and somehow managed to co-write episodes of Miranda. An odd mix, but one that makes him very listenable. This entertaining, breezy book explains how comedy works (with jokes and quotes) and gives much-needed insights into the controversy surrounding humour.
"Having worked for many years at the coalface of comedy, sorting the dross from the combustible, James Cary is uniquely qualified to write this book." (Milton Jones, comedian and panellist on BBC2's Mock the Week)