That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore: On the Death and Rebirth of Comedy, by Lou Perez

Review by Rob Yates, LPNC Communications Director


Lou Perez's That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore: On the Death and Rebirth of Comedy, is a thought-provoking exploration of the evolving landscape of comedy in the modern world. In a pivotal moment in time, when the very purpose of comedy is being challenged, Perez takes readers on a witty and insightful journey through the history, challenges, and potential resurgence of comedy as a cultural force.

One of the book's strengths lies in its historical perspective. Perez skillfully traces the roots of comedy, showing off an impressive range of knowledge of comedy's roots while peppering in deeply personal and funny stories that drive the narrative and reinforce his arguments with a side of hilarious. This approach provides readers with a rich context for understanding how comedy has evolved and adapted to changing societal norms and technologies and what fitting into that evolution looks like.

Perez doesn't shy away from addressing the complexities and controversies surrounding comedy today. He delves into the challenges comedians face in navigating a world where prominent corners, once bastions of safety for all comedy, are increasingly sensitive and politically correct. He offers multiple perspectives on issues such as cancel culture, the boundaries of humor, and the role of satire, all while challenging outside forces that seek to control what is "acceptable" within the realm of the comic world.

Beyond the myriad laughs and the unapologetic honesty, what sets That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore apart is Perez's engaging and conversational writing style. He effortlessly blends humor with deep insights, making the book both entertaining and intellectually stimulating. Readers will find themselves laughing out loud one moment and pondering the profound implications of comedy the next.

Furthermore, Perez's personal anecdotes and experiences as a comedian add authenticity and relatability to the narrative. His willingness to share his own struggles and growth in the world of comedy adds a human dimension to the book, making it accessible to both comedy aficionados and newcomers.

As the title suggests, Perez explores the idea of comedy's rebirth. He argues that, despite the challenges, comedy continues to evolve and find new forms of expression. He points to the resilience of comedians and their ability to adapt to changing times as a source of hope for the future of humor. And he refuses to put shackles on the limitations of comedy based on potentially harming someone's manufactured sensibilities. Instead, he makes the seemingly obvious demand that comedy be funny, nothing more, nothing less.

That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore is a must-read for anyone interested in the art and cultural significance of comedy. Lou Perez's blend of humor, history, and insight makes for an engaging and enlightening exploration of comedy's past, present, and future. It's a book that will leave you both laughing and thinking long after you've turned the final page.

Purchase here.

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  • Rob yates
    published this page in Book Review 2024-01-21 16:36:08 -0500
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