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Comedy: A Very Short Introduction, By Matthew Bevis


Books analysing humour tend to be bereft of humour but Bevis quells our fears: "[Comedy] means to put your shoes on the wrong feet."

Exemplars of his view that "a shared joke is a shared world" range from Buster Keaton to the "heartless elation" of Waugh (" 'Am I going to die?' said Tangent, his mouth full of cake").

Some of us would have preferred a bit more Wodehouse (one entry) than laugh-a-minute Nietzsche (three entries), but Bevis shows there's no iron rule that a book on comedy can't be entertaining.