J is for Joke

It’s amazing how many words that start with “j” have something to do with pulling someone’s leg. Just think about these: joke, jest, josh, jink (as in ‘high jinks’), juke, jape, jive, jig (as in ‘the jig is up’). Since “j” is one of the least used consonants – but a high scorer in Scrabble! – it seems especially interesting that there are so many. And most of them, except for jive and juke, have been in the English language for over 300 years. You can look that up in the O.E.D., if you think I’m pulling a jape!

With this in mind, we’ve compiled some items – memoirs and recordings – by and about some of the most famous modern jesters. This time, the joke’s on them!



700 Sundays – Billy Crystal

American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot – Craig Ferguson

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life – Steve Martin

Bossypants – Tina Fey

Cloris: My Autobiography – Cloris Leachman

The Comedy of Charlie Chaplin: Artistry in Motion – Dan Kamin

Cosbyology: Essays and Observations from the Doctor of Comedy – Bill Cosby

Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour – David Bianculli

Don’t Shoot, It’s Only Me: Bob Hope’s Comedy History of the United States – Bob Hope

The F Word: How to Survive Your Family – Louis Anderson

Familyhood – Paul Reiser

Gracie: A Love Story – George Burns

Hello Dummy – Don Rickles

I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America’s Top Comics

I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This: And Other Things That Strike Me as Funny – Bob Newhart

I’m the One That I Want – Margaret Cho

It’s Always Something – Gilda Radner

Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse: My Life in Comedy – Phyllis Diller

Made You Laugh: The Funniest Moments in Radio, Television, Stand-up, and Movie Comedy – Joe Garner

Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America – Laurence Maslon

Mixed Nuts: America’s Love Affair with Comedy Teams: From Burns and Allen to Belushi and Ackroyd – Lawrence J. Epstein

My Lucky Life, In and Out of Show Business – Dick Van Dyke

Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin – Kathy Griffin

Pryor Convictions and Other Life Sentences – Richard Pryor

Rickles’ Book – Don Rickles

Rock This! – Chris Rock

The Second City Unscripted: Revolution and Revelation at the World-Famous Comedy Theater – Mike Thomas

Seven Dirty Words: The Life and Crimes of George Carlin – James Sullivan

Seriously — I’m Kidding – Ellen DeGeneres

Sunday Nights at Seven: The Jack Benny Story – Jack Benny

This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection – Carol Burnett

The Three Stooges: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Most Popular Comedy Team of All Time – Jeff Forrester and Tom Forrester

When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? – George Carlin

Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi – Bob Woodward


Button Down Concert  – Bob Newhart

Greatest Bits – Jeff Foxworthy

Live  – Brian Regan

Live at Carnegie Hall – Ray Romano

Live in San Francisco – Lenny Bruce

Monty Python’s Flying Circus Greatest Skits

Old Time Radio Shows: Comedy

The Piano and Humor of the Great Victor Borge

Wonderfulness – Bill Cosby

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