Elliott Bay Book Company Capitol Hill
Mon June 4, 2018, 7 pm
Recommended by Sean Nelson
Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture examines the pervasive and sometimes pernicious degree to which comedy has evolved from an entertainment category into the dominant mode of public and private expression among humans. The insights are sharp, witty, and sometimes startling. Jennings is equally adept at citing Cicero and Allen Funt, at zooming in on the inflation of jokes-per-minute in the past 40 years of sitcoms or spinning out on the relationship between Twitter—with its weird split screen of casual cruelty humor and performed hypersensitivity—and the election of certain presidents. Like any honest book published in 2018, Planet Funny does ever so slightly make you want to jump off a bridge. The way only a good book can. Jennings is neither condemning nor celebrating, but his angle on the comedification of discourse has complex implications—particularly if you've spent a lifetime investing in the view of yourself as a funny person.