More Mirth of a Nation: The Best Contemporary Humor

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Harper Collins, Nov 12, 2002 - Humor - 592 pages
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More seriously funny writing from American's most trusted humor anthology

Witty, wise, and just plain wonderful, the inaugural volume of this biennial, Mirth of a Nation, ensured a place for the best contemporary humor writing in the country. And with this second treasury, Michael J. Rosen has once again assembled a triumphant salute to one of America's greatest assets: its sense of humor. More than five dozen acclaimed authors showcase their hilariously inventive works, including Paul Rudnick, Henry Alford, Susan McCarthy, Media Person Lewis Grossberger, Ian Frazier, Richard Bausch, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Nell Scovell, Andy Borowitz, and Ben Greenman -- just to mention a handful so that the other contributors can justify their feelings that the world slights them.

But there's more! More Mirth of a Nation includes scads of Unnatural Histories from Randy Cohen, Will Durst's "Top Top-100 Lists" (including the top 100 colors, foods, and body parts), and three unabridged (albeit rather short) chapbooks:

David Bader's "How to Meditate Faster" (Enlightenment for those who keep asking, "Are we done yet?")

Matt Neuman's "49 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth" (for instance, "Make your own honey" and "Share your shower.")

Francis Heaney's "Holy Tango of Poetry" (which answers the question, "What if poets wrote poems whose titles were anagrams of their names, i.e., 'Toilets,' by T. S. Eliot?")

And there's still more: "The Periodic Table of Rejected Elements," meaningless fables, Van Gogh's Etch A Sketch drawings, a Zagat's survey of existence, an international baby-naming encyclopedia, Aristotle's long-lost treatise "On Baseball," and an unhealthy selection of letters from Dr. Science's mailbag. And that's just for starters! Just remember, as one reviewer wrote of the first volume, "Don't drink milk while reading."

 

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User Review  - figre - LibraryThing

When I first proposed a humor column for Internal Auditor magazine I submitted three examples to the committee. (What does that tell you about the chances for humor when a committee is making the ... Read full review

More mirth of a nation: the best contemporary humor

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Regular readers of the New Yorker's Shouts & Murmurs page and the Modern Humorist will likely have already digested some of the fare in this biennial collection of humor pieces, nearly all of which ... Read full review

Contents

Because Yahoo Maps Arent for Everybody
254
Our New Password Policies
258
La Bamba Hot Line
261
All Shook Up
265
Terms of Office
268
The Greatest Hastlly Written Short Notes of the Twentieth Century
272
Anchors Weigh In
277
Who Wants to Keep His Job?
281

A Memoir
35
The SelfHelp Hot Line
39
My Own Private IPO
42
Do Svidannya Baby
46
Losers Auction
49
Portrait of the Postmodern Renaissance Man As Quilt Stitcher Filmmaker Deep Thinker and Sculptor of Cubes of Tofu in Vats of Water
53
Packing for the Second Coming
57
AhChoo A Guide to the New Hankie Code
62
My Wife Liz
68
The Final Frontier
73
RealLife Survivor
77
Sixteen Magazine Rates the Presidents
82
Your Y2K Checklist
85
Your Public Radio Station
89
Double DiamondHighest Difficulty
92
Decision 04
94
The Periodic Table of Rejected Elements
96
Happy Holidays from Maria Callas
98
Three Tries at Mocking IKEA
101
Letter to Ken Burns
103
Five Columns from Media Person
109
Carpool Tunnel Syndrome
122
You Fill Out My Census
129
Clarifications
132
Audiobooks for the Deaf
137
If Poets Wrote Poems Whose Titles Were Anagrams of Their Names
140
Drawing Inky
153
For Whom the Tale Blows or The Curtain Also Rises
160
Amenities
164
Vincent at the Knobs
169
A Brush with Greatness
177
Hall of NearFame
181
NearDeathbed Requests
185
The Breakfast Table
188
From The RealLife WorstCaseScenario Survival Handbook
195
A Short Historical Inquiry into Time
199
An Open Letter to the Firefighters of Engine Company 54 Ladder 4 Battalion 9 in the Glass Booth on the Corner of Eighth Avenue and Fortyeighth ...
204
A Fish Story
208
RealLife Giant Construction Equipment for Kids
217
Bubba in Paradise
222
The Deal Memo of Independence
227
Monks Among the Capri Pants
234
Full Disclosure
238
Preface to My Autobiography
242
Studies in the New Causality
245
Disgruntled Former Lexicographer
248
New Roller Coasters Opening This Season
252
You May Already Be a Winner
284
Costuming the Homeless
289
The NanoPet Epoch
292
Subvarsity Smackdown
295
Adventures with Rod and Gumshoe
301
WELLNESS911
304
Bottleneck Realism from Americas Finest Microbrews
309
A Guide to the LesserKnown Movie Ratings
312
Looking for a Supporting Role Willing to Play Vice President
317
The Busmans Portfolio
320
New York Confidential
324
Internet Stocks Too Hot to Ignore
327
49 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth
330
How Im Doing
340
Virtual Friends
343
Ripoff
346
What Happened to My Money?
349
State Dates
353
Your Neighborhood Laundraclean
356
Three Christmas Candies
359
Womenu
364
Alfred Hitchcocks Hamlet
368
Aristotles On Baseball
375
The First Book of Mailer Called Genesis
381
The Granddaddy of Baseball Operas to Make Its Presence Felt
384
Death of the Blues
388
Blues for Beginners
390
Totally Amazing Grace
393
Teen Times
396
Fun with Names
399
Jupiter
401
In the Spirit of Full Disclosure
403
The Solomon Bar Mitzvah
407
Questions Answered and Unanswered
415
Three Meaningless Fables
425
Critique
435
Zagats Surveys Existence
449
In Brief
453
The Party Problem
459
Dismembering Mr Shawns New Yorker
462
International Name Encyclopedia
465
Supplement to the Basic Course Catalog University of Kansas
470
Excerpts from Mens Self
475
The EndoftheWorld Bake Sale
481
Submission Guidance
483
Questions for Reading Groups
495
Copyright

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Popular passages

Page 368 - Your worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service; two dishes, but to one table: that's the end.
Page 190 - ... morality." Because when we start deceiving ourselves into thinking not that we want something or need something, not that it is a pragmatic necessity for us to have it, but that it is a moral imperative that we have it, then is when we join the fashionable madmen, and then is when the thin whine of hysteria is heard in the land, and then is when we are in bad trouble.
Page 347 - The wish to capture evanescent reflections is not only impossible, as has been shown by thorough German investigation, but the mere desire alone, the will to do so, is blasphemy. God created man in His own image, and no man-made machine may fix the image of God...
Page 365 - BERNARDO. Who's there? FRANCISCO. Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself. BERNARDO. Long live the King! FRANCISCO. Bernardo? BERNARDO. He. FRANCISCO. You come most carefully upon your hour. BERNARDO. Tis now struck twelve. Get thee to bed, Francisco. FRANCISCO. For this relief much thanks. Tis bitter cold, And I am sick at heart.
Page 416 - Why is it that when you're driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on the radio?
Page 186 - Pacific in lieu of filing for divorce. I tell you this not as aimless revelation but because I want you to know, as you read me, precisely who I am and where I am and what is on my mind. I want you to understand exactly what you are getting...
Page 531 - UMPHREY is Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College.

About the author (2002)

The editor of More Mirth of a Nation: The Best Contemporary Humor, Michael J. Rosen has been called the unofficial organizer of the National Humor Writer's Union, a pretty good idea for an organization that could offer all kinds of benefits to its struggling members (currently numbering more than 300 who have never been published in The New Yorker or aired on NPR). He has been called other things as well, like in third grade, and then in seventh grade especially, by certain older kids known as "hoods," who made his life miserable, specifically during gym class, lunch period and after school. Later, much later, the Washington Post called him a "fidosopher" because of his extensive publications on dogs, dog training, and dog-besotted people. The New York Times called him an example of creative philanthropy in their special "Giving" section for persuading "writers, artists, photographers and illustrators to contribute their time and talents to books" that benefit Share Our Strength's anti-hunger efforts and animal-welfare causes. As an author of a couple dozen books for children, he's been called...okay, enough with the calling business.

For nearly twenty years, he served as literary director at the Thurber House, a cultural center in the restored home of James Thurber. Garrison Keillor, bless his heart, called it (sorry) "the capital of American humor." While there, Rosen helped to create The Thurber Prize for American Humor, a national book award for humor writing, and edited four anthologies of Thurber's previously unpublished and uncollected work, most recently The Dog Department: James Thurber on Hounds, Scotties and Talking Poodles, happily published by HarperCollins as well.

In his capacity as editor for this biennial, Rosen reads manuscripts year round, beseeching and beleaguering the nation's most renowned and well-published authors, and fending off the rants and screeds from folks who've discovered the ease of self-publishing on the web. Last summer, Rosen edited a lovely book, 101 Damnations: The Humorists' Tour of Personal Hells; while some critics (all right, one rather outspoken friend) considered this a book of complaints, Rosen has argued that humor, like voting and picketing and returning an appliance that "worked" all of four months before requiring a repair that costs twice the purchase price, humor is about the desire for change. It's responding to the way things are compared to the way you'd like things to be. And it's a much more convivial response than pouting or cornering unsuspecting guests at dinner parties.

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