Hokum: An Anthology of African American Humor Edited by Paul Beatty Bloombury Publishing, February 2006 $29.95, ISBN 1-582-34434-5
Forget whatever you have read in previous collections of African American humor. Don't think about "Your Momma" jokes or even the lyrical folk tales of the Signifyin' Monkey. Instead, Hokum serves up an eclectic selection of readings, quotations and excerpts from a wide body of African American writings, including fiction, public speeches and popular cinema.
To aid you on your journey, Beatty has conveniently divided the anthology's bountiful fare into three sections: "Pissed Off to the Highest Degree of Pissitivity," "Nothin' Serious (Just Buggin')," and "Black Absurdity?' The reader gets to choose the level of funny.
Moving from the sophisticated to the streetwise, the pieces in this collection travel comfortably from the historical comeback of former slave Sojourner Truth, to the dubious wit and wisdom of Mike Tyson. Beatty respectfully stops off at the Harlem Renaissance with musings from founding black scholar W.E.B. Du Bois and writer Zora Neale Hurston...