Lethem use’s of Humor

Yes, I’ve only read until page 145.

Well how can I explain this? Honestly, I’m a very busy man. Ok I admit it, I do not work in a job but my school program over-workloads me. That sucks for me because it tremendously diminishes my work time for my other courses. I try my best. And I am not a native English speaker, which more disadvantageous.


Hi, my name is Ricardo and today I will cite you some good sense humour found from Motherless Brooklyn book by Jonathan Lethem.

Ok that was a pretty lame intro…

First and foremost, I suck at understanding sense humor simply because… I don’t have a sense of humor… Kind of. My humor’s level ‘’skillz’’ is at zero, but I hope I can learn and maybe get a decent one by reading Motherless Brooklyn. It make take some time… At this very moment, I am trying very hard, so please, bear with me


So let’s go to page 123. I don’t know why but this part makes me laugh because it makes me think of myself. Sometimes I try to make some funny joke to have attention or to make me look like a funny guy, since I am a bit monotone, but instead, I make myself look dumber. And people ignores me and continue their chit-chat with the others.

One of Loomis’s joke, I found his name a little bit dumb, was pretty lame in my opinion, even Lionel finds him idiot:

“Years ago he’d latched on to Minna’s joke-telling contests, decided he could compete. But he favored idiot riddles, not jokes at all, no room for character or nuance. He didn’t seem to know the difference.’’(p.123)

Lionel describes his jokes incompetent if you know what I mean. He jokes lacks of coherence and “greater“ play of words. Here’s what Loomis’ got to say”

“What about how do you titillate an ocelot?”


Titillate an ocelot. You know like a big cat. I think

“It’s big cat. How do you titillate it, Loomis?’’

‘’You oscillate its tit a lot, get it?’’ (p. 123)


First I was misunderstanding it and after looking on google what it meant, I found it inert and absurd at the same time because of it was a sexual joke and at the same time a bad pun. Lenthem illustrates his incompetencies by portraying him as a dumb guy.

Also There is another moment of sense humor that I find particularly interesting. In was in a specific moment. You could, let’s say, laugh as hard as you could but it was at the same time, not the greatest moment to laugh. This moment goes back to page 25 to 29. It was when Coney and Lionel was driving Minna to the hospital. Lionel was making a joke about the Octopus playing music  instruments. He was dying. I personally think it was a hard moment because Lionel and Coney were losing a great childhood friend. Lethem illustrated an emotional feeling about loosing a great friend, despite they were trying hard to keep Minna alive. It unnoticeably showed deep feeling about Coney and Lionel.

I want to add another from page 145 to 203, but I couldn’t because I didn’t read further than 145 due to lack of time.


Beat around the bush

Hello Freak show , you’re welcome to discover and express your ridiculousness !

I will invite you to analyze and have a look at  your own comicality .What do you think about mysterious clients or They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”?Does it sounds familiar to you ? Don’t get me wrong , its not Harry Potter  , you senseless people …I am talking about Motherless Brooklyn of course !

Lionel Essrog looks like a Pandora box , when you see it on the outside it looks fine , however when you look inside ,it is a real mine of complex neurones that “ try” to transmit information but unfortunately the signal can not be transmitted , instead it comes out as an outburst . A great example of him trying to be farcical is when he seems to beat around the bush about the clients :

“ So what did they tell you ?”

“The Clients?” “Sure, The Clients ,”said Tony.”Matricardi and Rockarforte .Frank’sdead , Lionel .I don’t think he’s gonna , like,spin in his grave if you say their names .”

“Fork –it-hardly”, I whispered , hen glanced over my shoulder at their stoop.”Rocket-fuck-me”  (Lethem,180)

In this passage , we can clearly see and almost feel the irony and sarcasm of Tony .Lionel seems to be unconsciously playing with Tony’s nerves and patience , slowly “ tugboating “ him. The so called detective Esssrog , seems to turn in circle to avoid Tony’s questions ,as a result it makes him look like a “meathead” , a human being unable to express their own thoughts and complete a sentence properly . A human being  that’s what it is after all , a “human freakshow” that tries his best or not to stop being weird.

Another great example of Essrog , Police dog-underdog , is when he tries to  concentrate on his posture and breathing when suddenly he hears Minna’s voice in his head and says , “I dare you to shut up for a whole twenty minutes sometime , you free human freakshow.

I pushed it away , thought One Mind instead.One Mind.

Tell me one , Freakshow.One I don’t already know. One Mind .I focused on my breathing.
Come home,Irving.

One Mind.Sick Mind.Dirty Mind.Bailey Mind.

One Mind

Oreo Man.”

(Lethem , 196)


In today’s blog post I will be writing about humour as usual, but by dissecting the novel, Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem. I know it is pretty hard for a book to be funny because it can’t talk but hey some of the words in it can be funny too so have an open mind.

We very well know that the main character of the novel has Tourette’s and tends to blurt out certain phrases that Lethem uses to humour the reader. During a conversation between Tony and Lionel, Lethem writes, “Garbage cookie” (153). Here we can see how one of Lionel’s tics sounds just so absurd that I found it funny to read because he was having a pretty serious conversation. Lionel was trying to refer to the Loomis, A.K.A. the garbage cop but I guess the work cookie just had to come out. At many points when the book tries to be serious there’s always some sort of absurdity that pops out.

Tony seems to be a very intense character and uses a lot of play on words to describe other characters in the novel. For example again when talking to Lionel he calls him “shitlock Holmes” (179). In the context of the conversation it does fit well but is also rude. As for any of you who know Tony he can be quite the wise guy but not very smart about it. He is being mean towards Lionel but for some reason maybe I was just tired but the play on words he comes up with sometimes just crack me up.

**Only had time for 2

Mr. Nice Guy

When it comes to comedy, I rather look the other way. You’ll never hear me suggest to watch a funny movie or laugh at an obvious joke. What’s truly humorous to me is subtlety, which is why this novel by Jonathan Lethem makes me chuckle. While reading about the four men who abducted Lionel in chapter 3, I imaged them to be tough, intimidating guys. Lethem took this opportunity, and made the characters the butt of the joke. Here’s what I mean:

“We want you scared.” But it was eight-thirty in the morning, and we were fighting traffic on Second Avenue. (146)

What’s funny to me is that these men were sent to Lionel to scare him, rather than staying quiet and letting the tension build up, they told Lionel straight up what their intentions were, cutting all chances of making him feel frightened. Lionel describes the scene as they sit in traffic chatting about how the door men are taking him to a location to rough him up, clearly doing a terrible job at making him feel intimidated. I typically associate big doormen to be emotionless, unapproachable, rugged men who walk around squishing anything and everything that gets in their way as though they were tiny insects scattered on the sidewalk. Instead, these doormen have soft skin and wear cheap sunglasses like most women I know. Lethem has an ironic approach, describing the mans tender hold on Lionel as a hug (146). Using repetition throughout the novel Lionel says, “he reminded me of my long-ago kissing tic, the way he was crowding me close to him in the car” (146). Lionel spends his time in the car coaching them, and pointing out the flaws in their scheme: “you can’t throw a scare so good when you’re scared” (151).


Chelsea Silva-Martin

Comedy Exercise

I’ve only read up until page 113, which isn’t much, but there are still many things in this story that can be considered as humour up until that page. During the story, we have a very serious scene in which two very serious characters (Mr. Matricardi and Mr. Rockaforte) are presented to the L&L crew. After this tense scene with the two mobsters comes to an end, the characters are all saying goodbye to each other, All the while Lionel Is trying to keep his syndrome under control, “’Thanks.’ ‘Thanks.’ ‘Thanks, Mr. Matricardi.’ ‘Arf!’”(65). Here we see that the author’s use of irony makes Lionel’s syndrome almost funny in a way, or at least it’s being used in that way here. This to me was a good example of comic relief, it got me to laugh because I could just picture the feelings of the guys standing in the room, and how it would be funny to hear someone bark at a potentially dangerous mobster. It was well placed especially because it reminded me that the book is a mixture of both realistic seriousness, and humour.

After an argument between Minna and Tony, The orphan boys are all left on the street as Minna leaves away with his van so that they are forced to walk home. At the point and time, Lionel is losing the control over his turrets and starts using insults towards tony that Minna had used prior:

“Tony had me cornered against a parked car … ‘Dickweed’ I said. I tried to mask it in another sneeze, which made something in my neck pop. I twitched and spoke again. ‘Dickyweed! Dicketywood!’ I was trapped in a loop of self,”

This situation demonstrates a misunderstanding between the two boys, while one is doing his best to resist the urges his body is pushing him make, the other sees it as Lionel is trying to mock him in front of their other friends to see what he’ll do. Being that Minna has already pushed Tony far, Lionel’s words just put him over the edge. I found his scenario funny because Lionel says things that I don’t expect, making it that much more satisfying when he says something because of his turrets. It may get him into trouble, but he maintains a funny aspect because he says only the last things I would think about, this therefore making it amusing to read.

Luc Paquette



Hello bloggers and comedy nerds,

(It’s been a very tiring morning, so let’s just get this over with)

In these last few pages that I’ve read from Motherless Brooklyn, there are a couple of moments that I found funny and that really struck me.

The first moment was when Lionel was talking with Loomis on the phone and when he asked him for Ullman’s address. Lionel said to Loomis, “Tell me Ullman’s address”, and his brain went, “Man-Salad-Dress” (149). Here, Lethem tries to use worldplay in order to give some humour to the story. I found it funny because the words “Ullman’s address” and “Man-Salad-Dress” are similar in sound and the combination of the words are just so weird. Lethem’s creativity is revealed through Lionel’s tics, and it sounds funny because it’s just so spontaneous and ridiculously strange at the same time. I mean who would have thought of “Man-Salad-Dress”? Just imaging it is hilarious!

Another moment that I found funny is when Lionel overheard a man talking to himself, and then he said out loud,“Fucking people talking to themselves in a public place like they got some kind of illness!” (163) Lethem uses irony in this case. Lionel says that there’s a man talking to himself while he does the very same thing as he says that!

That’s all folks! (At least for today)

Claudia Keurdjekian


Motherless Broklyn humour blog

Hey bloggers this book Motherless Brooklyn is absolutely hilarious. There are many examples of humour presented to us by the author and I will present three of my favorites between the pages of 145 to 203.

The first example of humour that I enjoyed was on page 147 when Lionel was kidnapped by the 4 men who wanted to try scaring him off the case. The men in the car discuss with each other whether to “ruff up” Lionel or not, one of the men Lionel names Chunky asks “what you want to pull over and rough him up in Park Avenue?”(147) and Lionel replies “maybe just a scare without the roughing-up will do” (147). This is funny because as the men are trying to be scary Lionel is not scared at all and in fact is sort of poking fun at them with comments like this. The humour method that Lethem is using here can be irony because Lionel is supposed to be scared of the men but in reality describes them as “clowns” which is why it is truly funny in my opinion (151).

The second example of humor is also as Lionel is with the four men but the interaction takes place with another character called Loomis the garbage officer. Minna’s beeper which Lionel has on him beeps displaying a number on the face. The four men ask Lionel to call it and it is Loomis on the other line. Right away Loomis tells a joke to Lionel which was “what’s the difference between three hundred sixty-five blow jobs and a radial tire?”(148). Lionel not caring for the joke and just trying to get along with the conversation says “don’tcare” (148) however Loomis goes on to complete his joke with the punch line “one’s a good year, the other’s a great year”(148). The humour method that the author is using is straight man/funny man because as Lionel is in a serious situation and wants to hurry along with the conversation Loomis is saying a joke and not cooperating as well as Lionel would like. I find this funny because of the situation that Lionel is in and Loomis is unaware and funny because I find the joke very silly and entertaining.

The third example of humour I enjoyed was during the conversation between Lionel, tony and the homicide detective. The homicide detective was trying to get information out of the two Minna men but was doing this unsuccessfully and when Lionel and tony realized this they would “cut him apart with her tongue for the mistake” (190). The cop asked them about Matricardi and Rockaforte and in reply tony said “they went through a tunnel in the basement, they had to get back to their hideout since they’ve got James bond—or batman, can’t remember which—roasting over a slow fire. Don’t worry, though batman always gets away. These supervillains never learn” (191). This humour method that Lethem uses can be absurdity because as one character is trying to be serious the other two are responding with absurd and funny responses. In my opinion this is funny because it is as if they are laughing in front of a cop’s face who is investigating them for murder, something you should not do!