Jokes to Offend Men by Allison Kelley
Expected Publication: October 25, 2022
A man walks into a bar. It’s a low one, so he gets a promotion within his first six months on the job.
Four comedy writers transform classic joke setups into sharp commentary about the everyday and structural sexism that pervades all facets of life. Jokes to Offend Men arms readers with humorous quips to shut down workplace underminers, condescending uncles, and dismissive doctors, or to share with their exhausted friends at the end of a long day. A cutting, cathartic spin on the old-fashioned joke book, Jokes to Offend Men is a refreshing reclamation of a tired form for anyone who’s ever been told to “lighten up, it’s just a joke!”
The title is a bit tongue in cheek, but the jokes themselves pull no punches. This collection is sometimes funny jokes, but often read more to me like social commentary on the form of anti-joke format (where it’s set up like a joke, but is actually just a fact or point instead of a traditional punchline). So yes, I had some smiles and a few laughs, but overall it was less funny and more grim. The mood is very much like when you laugh at terrible things because the alternative is to give up.
The jokes are broken into categories, so you have similar themes through each section. The unfortunate thing about this is that they start to become somewhat predictable and repetitive. That made them lose their impacts as jokes, though again, in the social commentary side it builds a cohesive overall stance.
If you’re looking for actual jokes to tell, you might get a few depending on your style of humor. This is a lot of dry humor, a lot of subverting expectations of traditional joke setups, and similar styles to that. It mostly relies on familiar experiences of women, so I’m honestly not sure men will “get” all of these jokes, or at least not on the painfully relatable way some of them read for me.
Thank you to NetGalley for a free advanced copy. This is my honest review.
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