Sacred Art of Joking Paperback

by James Cary

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A Bird's Eye View from Eden

BBC sitcom-writer James Cary offers a wry look at jokes, how they work and what happens when jokes go terribly wrong.

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Sacred Art of Joking

Full Product Description

  • Interested in how humour works?
  • A light look at laughs, and what happen when a joke goes very wrong
  • James Cary offer a unique insight as a comedy script writer
Every few weeks a politician, pundit or soap star causes a media storm by making a gaffe or tweeting a joke that some people do not find funny. Comedy is very hard to get right and yet we think it's important to have a sense of humour and not take yourself too seriously. On the other hand, a sense of humour failure can lead to losing your friends, your twitter account, your job, your career and, in some cases, your life.

James Cary knows about this. He is a sitcom writer who's written jokes about bomb disposal in Afghanistan (Bluestone 42), defended comments about Islam by Ben Elton on Newsnight, been on a panel with radical Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, sits on the General Synod of the Church of England and somehow managed to co-write episodes of Miranda. An odd mix, but one that makes him very readable. This entertaining, breezy book, explains how comedy works (with jokes and quotes) and gives much-needed insights into the controversy surrounding humour.

Sacred Art of Joking by James Cary was published by SPCK in January 2019 and is our 1973rd best seller. The ISBN for Sacred Art of Joking is 9780281080922.

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The Sacred Art of Joking by James Cary - Review The Sacred Art of Joking by James Cary - Review
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Foreword by Milton Jones 



Part 1: A Good Sense of Humour

1. It's funny becuase it's true

2. An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman...

3. How jokes work (without killing a frog)

4. How jokes go wrong

5. Punched by a punchline 

6. Where's the line?

7. Why jokes are no laughing matter 

8. Rules of Engagement 

9. Leaping from a car to car

10. Comedy at Ground Zero

Part Two: Comedy and the Church 

11. Do Christians have a sense of humour?

12. The problems with jokes

13. The Philippians 4 manoeuvre 

14. Holy crap!

15. No laughing messiah 

16. The Supreme Being walks into a bar...

17. Was Jesus funny?

18. Why Christianity is an easy target 

19. Why don't comedians make jokes about Islam?

20. Why you shouldn't start a sermon with a joke

21. Notes for readers 

Part 3: Advanced Joking 

22. Betrayed by laughter

23. Springtime for pug dogs

24. Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

25. Jerry and the lawmakers 

26. Careful now

27. All-American prophet 

28. What's so funny about Easter?

About the Author

James Cary is a BBC sitcom-writer (Miranda, Bluestone 42, Another Case of Milton Jones) and theologian. He’s also a member of the General Synod for the Church of England, and has spent a lot of his life watching jokes (some of them his own) go horribly wrong. 

He runs a touring theatre company and performs. He has just produced a 64-date tour of the UK of a show about Martin Luther and 95 Theses, called A Monk’s Tale, which ran for two weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe. There are very likely to be future, perhaps even bigger, tours in 2018-9.

James is married, with two children and lives in Somerset.  


Details for Sacred Art of Joking

Author / Artist
Book FormatPaperback / softback
PublisherSPCK (January 2019)
Number of Pages160
Thickness13 mm
Height198 mm
Width129 mm
Product Code4786024
Page last updated 16th February 2019
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