Extravaganza: A Joke Book

Extravaganza A Joke Book The lives of two vaudeville comedians Smith and Dale are followed through their career in a story told as a series of vaudeville vignettes

  • Title: Extravaganza: A Joke Book
  • Author: Gordon Lish
  • ISBN: 9781568580975
  • Page: 224
  • Format: Paperback
  • The lives of two vaudeville comedians, Smith and Dale, are followed through their career, in a story told as a series of vaudeville vignettes.

    One thought on “Extravaganza: A Joke Book ”

    1. I read about 20 percent of the book only to get a taste of it to write a catalog listing. A strange experiment in fiction presented as a vaudeville script. I'm not sure what the deeper message might be but perhaps something about Jewish survivors' guilt or self-loathing after the Holocaust. Imagine Martin Luther King talking about race issues through the medium of a minstrel show. Something like that.

    2. Are you the doctor?What the fuck are you talking about, dickhead?This book will punch you in the face if you don't watch your face. Keep a mirror around; use it often.But I have to say that the idea this is a comedy is somewhat misleading; I don't think it is. Seems like an experiment in monotony.

    3. Confounding. Two men tell jokes with conventional setup-punchline structure, then retell the jokes ad nauseam with increasingly menial detail. Every now and then they will break out into Anti-Semitic rants, especially when a joke involves trains. Perhaps this is some commentary on the American Jewish experience and comedy/joke-telling after the Holocaust? An interesting read, very trying at times. I did not understand it!!

    4. May 2015: Re-reading.May 5th: A very bizarre book, one which I enjoyed but would hesitate to recommend. When it came out (1989), the NY Times review said, "Jokes may abound in ''Extravaganza,'' but Mr. Lish makes sure that existential despair keeps whistling through the cracks." Kirkus Review hated it ("appalling work of fiction").

    5. Required reading for an English lit class, but despite that I couldn't even finish it and I rarely leave a book unfinished.

    6. A disappointment to me after all the other great Lish reads. Bad jokes are called bad jokes for a reason.

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