Reviewed by Keith Hernandez
Edited by Barry Dougherty with a forward by Lewis Black
Lewis Black thinks they help you travel through time; Richard Belzer believes they date back to Cleopatra’s Egyptians. Whatever their proper use or origin, one thing’s for certain: Dirty jokes are funny.
The pubescent kid inside all of us gets a kick out of hearing perversely wicked tales and then dishing these secret barbs to co-workers, friends and loved ones. With that in mind, The Friars’ Club Private Joke File successfully celebrates debauchery and dirt with more than 2,000 jokes from the men and women who, for decades, have graced the famous dais to whip low blows and raunchy one-liners at each other.
The Friars’ Club Private Joke File is the ultimate poop-joke book. Reading it cover to cover will not give you nearly as much pleasure as rummaging and flipping through the 400 pages at a leisurely pace. It’s a book that you return to and never want to finish, hoping there is one more joke that will drive you into laughter.
The book is broken into eight sections, ranging from wife dick jokes to doctor dick jokes all the way to animal dick jokes, all delivered with childish fervor. The most hilarious jokes by far are the ones pulled from actual Friars’ Club roasts, like Belzer’s burn of Chevy Chase: “The only time Chevy has a funny bone in his body is when I fuck him in the ass.” In these moments, you can truly see the comedians’ sharp wit and deep understanding of wordplay come to life, albeit, to the detriment of their friends.
One of the biggest surprises of the book: Paul Shaffer and Joy Behar are actually funny. Their television personas don’t do them justice as they definitely have comedic talent. Jeffrey Ross, Lisa Lampanelli, and Jackie Martling all shine with quips that are outlandish and hysterically honest.
Then come the old-timers like Milton Berle, Dick Capri and Freddie Roman, who validate the idea that you can be dirty without cursing. In addition to the jokes, short essays interspersed throughout vary the book’s structure and help make the thick volume an entertaining read and ride.