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The Comic
Guernica Editions, Spring 2020
275 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN13: 9781771834827
ISBN10: 177183482X
$20.00 Canada, $20.00 US

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A bored part-time college English instructor who teaches a class called "Humour in Classical Novels" to students who really don't care decides to try his hand at stand-up comedy, which takes him from his very protected academic world into an arena open to attack and persecution by his family, the public at large, the media and the courts. The novel explores issues such as political correctness/cultural sensitivity, personal and private space and social media, freedom of speech, huckster media, the notion of originality and most especially the nature of humour itself -- what makes something funny, what subjects are taboo and why, what causes certain jokes to lose favour, how does context affect what can or cannot be said. To further this approach, he takes the name Bruce Leonard and dresses a là TVs Columbo. On his downward spiral, the man meets some wild characters: a female stand-up comic who tends to mirror his routine and voyage, a prosecuting lawyer who uses court cases to promote her other role as author, an omnipresent drug dealer, a hipster talk show host who shills everything from diet plans to CDs with equal aplomb.
It's all out there in the ether swirling around like a giant dried cat turd waiting to drop on my head. Suddenly people are staring at me on the street, nudging each other, whispering: Look! That's him. That's Bruce Leonard. The piss comic.

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