Dear Reader,

We went back and forth about whether this should be the “Comedy” or the “Humor” issue and eventually, as you can see, landed on the former. Comedy, after all, has connotations that humor doesn’t have. It implies a certain professionalism — it can of course, be a job and a big job at that; it also has an implicit goal. Comedy is meant to be funny or entertaining. Comedy also evokes its opposite — tragedy — and, in that evocation, lets its audience hope for a happy ending. It goes beyond something as amorphous as a sense. A sense of humor is certainly a good thing to have, more people should consider acquiring one, but right now the concrete seems more interesting. If humor is tragedy plus time, then comedy is humor plus politics, plus current events, plus social and economic circumstances. Comedy is humor plus the business of the world.

The range of pieces in this issue of the Los Angeles Review Of Books Quarterly Journal demonstrates the diversity of implications in that word. Here, we’ve included many short, funny stories as well as two different critical takes on the current state of irony. Jonathan Ames considers his inappropriate love for his dog, Fezzik, while a number of comedians and comedy writers consider their own obsessions. You will also find pieces here that are not very funny. Comedy and tragedy go hand in hand, no sense in ignoring that. But don’t worry about those yet because this issue also has comics, which you won’t find in any other edition of the LARB Quarterly Journal. You should, as is the custom, flip through and read those first.