You guys. Catch-22. I don’t get it.
There are few feelings worse than the sense that everyone is laughing at a joke and you’re on the outside. When I first read the Joseph Heller novel, often referred to as a comedic masterpiece, I was a senior in college. And I kept waiting for the funny parts to start.
When I read back bits of dialogue from the novel now, I can see that they have a definite “Who’s on First?” quality. But that’s not enough to be labeled “one of the most bitterly funny works in the language,” I don’t think. Or is it?
Catch-22 came up at a family dinner a little while ago. “I know it’s funny,” I said. “But I just didn’t get it.”
My uncle (who I adore, let it be known, even after the upcoming comment) looked at me like I was an idiot and laughed. “There’s not much to get!” he said.
I shrugged. Whatever there was to get, I didn’t.
But no one enjoys being laughed at or made to feel like a moron.
So now, when people talk about Catch-22 and how laugh-out-loud funny it is, I smile with my lips pursed. I half-nod. I say nothing.
Truth be told, I’m not entirely convinced that they get it either. And, to be clear, I’d take Abbott and Costello any day. Now this is funny stuff.
Did you read Catch-22? Do you think it was hilarious? And if so, can you explain the hilarity to me?? And what’s the “funny” book that never made you laugh?