Humour Exercise


Nadav Sarid


Underdogs, outcast and loners


Traditionally comedy is presented in novels in a fairly clear and obvious way, the novel Motherless Brooklyn displays and use of comedy in a very unique way. Lionel the main character of the Novel suffers from tourret’s, the main aspects of comedy of the story come from him and his tics.

A scene in the novel that I found very humorous was on page 167. The Minna men were supposed to be discrete men who kept a fairly low profile; there work isn’t the “cleanest” of jobs so drawing attention to them selves was never good. On page 167 Minna had given the men a task, “we were dispatched to stand guard in broad daylight around a car, a Volvo, and we picked up a scent of The Clients in Minna’s stilted.” (167) I found this to be funny for two reasons, firstly it was going against what there profile entitled, four men surrounding a car all day isn’t exactly what I call “low key”. Secondly I found this scene funny because the men had stood around the car the entire day. The men trusted Minna and looked up to him, he had left them sitting there the entire day, they didn’t know exactly what was in the car or why they had to protect it, all they knew is Minna told them to stand around it all day so they obeyed there command. This scene made me realize that these men are much like guard dogs and I found this very humorous. I’m not sure if the author intended for this scene to be funny however I found it very funny.

A second scene that I found funny was when Lionel had been kidnapped. The scene had started off by trying to scare the reader “Two men took me by the elbows and hustled me into a car waiting at the curb.” (145). Usually when reading a sentence like this I immediately jump to the conclusion that Lionel is going to be hurt, held for ransom or possibly killed. None of the above happened, the kidnapping had turned into a big comedy scene. Lionel starts off by describing the members in the car and how they were all jammed in the back scene “It was a bit crowded” (145). I would have expected Lionel to start questioning the situation “where are we going”, “I didn’t do anything”, “who are you” but instead he is calm and at ease. Lionel’s behavior in the car was very funny, when he notices that one of the mens sunglasses still has it’s $6.99 price tag on them, “I reached out and batted at Pimples price tag. He turned his away and my finger hooked the earpiece and jerked the shades off his face.” (146). Lionel was in no way faced by being abducted in that manner; he stayed calm and humored the audience the entire time. His way of interacting with these men was hilarious, they tried to instill fear in him and he took none of it. The men in the car were also very entertaining, they did an awful job at scaring Lionel and they weren’t doing there job very well either. When Minna’s beeper went off they asked Lionel to phone the number thinking it would help there cause, however Lionel ended up having a nice friendly conversation with Loomis. Throughout this entire scene I was laughing, I thought that the kidnappers were quiet stupids and they made the scene extremely entertaining.

Overall the pages 145-203 were very entertaining and I really enjoyed reading it. Motherless Brooklyn has a very unique sense of humour and it makes the novel very enjoyable to read. Lionel’s character is very amusing to follow and I’m excited to see what else the novel has in store


Nadav Sarid


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