In Ant Farm, former Harvard Lampoon president Simon Rich finds humor in some very surprising places. Armed with a sharp eye for the absurd and an overwhelming sense of doom, Rich explores the ridiculousness of our everyday lives. The world, he concludes, is a hopelessly terrifying place–with endless comic potential.
–If your girlfriend gives you some “love coupons” and then breaks up with you, are the coupons still valid?
–What kind of performance pressure does an endangered male panda feel when his captors bring the last remaining female panda to his cage?
–If murderers can get into heaven by accepting Jesus, just how awkward is it when they run into their victims?
Join Simon Rich as he explores the extraordinary and hilarious desperation that resides in ordinary life, from cradle to grave.
"Hilarious." –Jon Stewart
A contributor to Mad, 22-year-old Rich is a Harvard senior, a former president of the Harvard Lampoon and the son of New York Times columnist Frank Rich. Half of the short humor pieces collected here previously appeared in the Harvard Lampoon, and Rich has taken his college collage and mixed it with new material for a satirical salmagundi that bites back. Since brevity is the soul of wit, the book has 57 varieties of playlets, essays and mirthful monologues, and most are only two pages long. Imaginative premises abound, such as X Files with dog characters. In the title piece, ants plot an escape: "We've been digging tunnels ever since we got here. We always end up hitting glass." Since a college-level audience is targeted, older readers might find some references puzzling. In his original proposal to Random House (a portion of which was printed in the New York Observer), he claimed that the "subject matter horrible, inescapable doom is well-suited for a younger audience.... I think kids will be attracted to the book's unpredictability. The tone remains constant throughout, but the topic changes every page with the abruptness of an iPod shuffle." True, these fragments are fun, and some are so abrupt they could have been iPhoned in. Others are as unpredictable as YouTube, as in your face as MySpace (which will both surely be used for online promotions).