1st Edition

Isn’t that Clever A Philosophical Account of Humor and Comedy

By Steven Gimbel Copyright 2018
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Isn’t That Clever provides a new account of the nature of humor – the cleverness account – according to which humor is intentional conspicuous acts of playful cleverness. By defining humor in this way, answers can be found to longstanding questions about humor ethics (Are there jokes that are wrong to tell? Are there jokes that can only be told by certain people?) and humor aesthetics (What makes for a good joke? Is humor subjective?). In addition to humor in general, Isn’t That Clever asks questions about comedy as an art form such as whether there are limits to what can be said in dealing with a heckler and how do we determine whether one comedian has stolen jokes from another.

    Introduction: A Fool’s Errand

    1. The Obligatory Chapter

    2. My, How Clever: What Is Humor and What Humor Is

    3. Joking Matters

    4. Comedy Tonight

    5. Killing It: Humor and Comedy Aesthetics

    6. Can’t You Take a Joke? The Ethics of Ethnic Humor

    7. Am I Blue? The Ethics of Dirty (and Other Morally Questionable) Jokes

    8. Is That a Mic in Your Hand or Are You Just Happy to See Me? Comedy Ethics


    Steven Gimbel is Professor of Philosophy at Gettysburg College, USA. His paper "Heckler Ethics" received the Joseph Ellin Memorial Prize for best paper given at the seventh annual meeting of the Lighthearted Philosophers’ Society. He was also an amateur stand-up comedian for several years, regularly performing at comedy clubs around the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area.

    "Isn’t That Clever is a provocative book that has a lot to offer comedy connoisseurs and professionals alike." - Michael Dalebout, Project Muse