In his riotous debut collection, Ant Farm, Simon Rich found humor in some of life’s most desperate situations. Now this former editor of The Harvard Lampoon and current writer for Saturday Night Live has returned to mine more comedy from our hopelessly terrifying world.
In the nostalgic opening chapter, Rich recalls his fear of the Tooth Fairy (“Is there a face fairy?”) and his initial reaction to the “Got-your-nose” game (“Please just kill me. Better to die than to live the rest of my life as a monster”). He goes on to present Count Dracula’s desperate Match.com profile (“I am normal human looking for human woman to come to castle. I am normal, regular human”). Later, he gets inside the heads of two firehouse Dalmatians who can’t understand their masters’ compulsion to drive off to horrible fires every day. And in the final chapter, he tackles some of life’s biggest questions: Does God really have a plan for us? Yes, it turns out. Now if only He could remember what it was. . . .
Praise for Simon Rich’s Ant Farm
“Ant Farm has an imaginative power that can trigger snort-fests. . . . Ferociously creative, this book is for readers craving both smart humor and belly laughs.”
–People (four stars)
–The New York Times
“Hilarious. Open this book anywhere, begin reading, and you will laugh.”
“Ant Farm is what all humor books should be: full of brief, high-concept musings that you wish you’d thought of yourself.”
–Time Out New York
“A satirical salmagundi that bites back . . . Imaginative premises abound. . . . As unpredictable as YouTube, as in your face as MySpace.”
Rich, an author and Saturday Night Live writer, delivers a punch-and-jab gigglefest in his follow-up to the similarly chaotic Ant Farm. A slim book of short takes, Rich doesn't stray far from his formula-many of these pieces would work as mercifully brief (and funny) SNL skits-but it's a formula that delivers a laugh on every page. Split into thematic sections-Growing Up, Going to Work, Daily Life, Relationships, Animals and God-Rich's twisted observations are often dark, especially in the Growing Up portion; "terrifying childhood experiences" include "peek-a-boo," and the people hiding in 7-year-old Rich's closet (Freddy Krueger, Chucky, a murderer, his dead uncle, and his doctor) pine, "Man, I cannot wait to kill this kid." Rich offers this brand of humor in a wide range of flavors, going, for instance, directly from Pheidippides of 490 B.C. to an "All-you-can-eat buffet fantasy" in the Daily Life portion. Still, there isn't much here that's not laugh-out-loud funny, perfect for rainy-day/toilet-top browsing or one long, painful guffawathon.