Since Andrew Hudgins was a child, he was a compulsive joke
teller. So when he sat down to write about jokes, he found that he was writing
about himself—what jokes taught him and mistaught him, how they often delighted
him but occasionally made him nervous with their delight in chaos and sometimes
anger. Because Hudgins’s father, a West Point graduate, served in the US Air
Force, his family moved frequently; he learned to relate to other kids by
telling jokes and watching how his classmates responded. Jokes opened him up to
the serious, taboo subjects that his family didn’t talk about openly—religion,
race, sex, and death. Hudgins tells and analyzes the jokes that explore the
contradictions in the Baptist religion he was brought up in, the jokes that
told him what his parents would not tell him about sex, and the racist jokes
that his uncle loved, his father hated, and his mother, caught in the middle,
was ambivalent about.
This book is both a memoir and a meditation on jokes—how
they educated, delighted, and occasionally horrified him as he grew. Download and start listening now!