So this is kind of like The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, which I also don’t think is funny.
So I definitely didn’t think this was funny. Even the editor of the collection was like “Look, it’s hard to translate humor sometimes and also this isn’t a really funny book.” Apparently Flaubert said something to the effect that the goal was make a super hilarious book that went on and on and on was hilarious at every hilarious turn.
Instead, here’s some samples:
“Ice Cream: Eating it is dangerous.”
“Iliad: Always followed by Odyssey.”
“Imbeciles: Those who don’t think like you.”
“Impiety: Thunder against it.”
“Invoice: Always too high.”
Architects — All idiots; always forget to put staircases in houses.
Englishwomen — Express surprise that they can have pretty children.
Black women — hotter than white women (see also brunettes and blondes).
Koran — Book by Mohammed, which is all about women.
Old People — When discussing a flood, thunderstorm, etc., they cannot remember ever having seen a worse one.
Blondes — hotter than brunettes (see also Brunettes)
Brunettes — Hotter than blondes (see also Blondes)
Sex — Word to avoid. Say instead, “Intimacy occurred…’.”
So yeah. It’s like watching a bunch of new comics trying out the same tired jokes from the 80s club scene and being really earnest about it and it just failing miserably. Occasionally something would make me smirk, but I cannot stress enough how bad I thought this was. Translations are tough, especially with pithy humor and puns. So maybe that’s why it just doesn’t work in English.
Basically go watch Kellyanne Conway do stand up instead.