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Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations by…
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Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations (2007)

by Simon Rich

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2151154,204 (3.82)13
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    Not Funny by Patrick Hennessey (Anonymous user)
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A collection of very short humorous scenes and sketches, featuring such topics as the kids' idea of what people are talking about at the grown-ups' table, what the criminal justice system would look like if real life were like middle school, what that "may contain peanuts" note on food labels really means, and (my personal favorite) the canine version of The X-Files. ("Yesterday I fell asleep, and when I woke up, my testicles were missing.") These are generally more sort of modestly amusing than laugh-out-loud funny, but there's a certain kind of cleverness in its skewed-yet-strangely-rational perspectives that's appealing. ( )
  bragan | Dec 30, 2011 |
I was halfway through the book before I actually laughed out loud, but there were three more instances after that. Still a pretty low percentage, but I don't think it's quite my sense of humor. My boyfriend is more the target demographic and he laughed pretty much at everything. It became much more impressive when I read at the end that he wrote all this during his four years of undergrad (not only as a senior). That explains why almost everything is from a kid's perspective and how the few pieces in adult voice didn't ring quite true. Many gags are familiar and he doesn't put a new twist on them. But they're the first time for someone. The piece with the hockey players was the most ambitious and thus almost the most impressive (but definitely sad rather than funny, at least to me), but he made some assumptions that just couldn't hold up. The ones I actually laughed at were Medieval England, Stadium Proposal, Sultan of Brunei, and Life in the U.S. Army. ( )
  kristenn | Jan 10, 2010 |
In a series of brief yet highly imaginative sketches, Simon Rich creates clever fantasies based on questions and topics that most of us would never consider. What happens when elementary school children discover the true intent of the Politeness Game? Are those love coupons your girlfriend gave you still valid after you've been apart for years? And just how awkward is it when murderers run into their victims in heaven? These are only a few of many hilarious tales that Rich offers up in this fast-paced read.

Ant Farm is the perfect book for those in need of a quick dose of humor to brighten their day; simply open to any page, start reading, and laugh out loud. Each situation has a unique twist that makes you look at ordinary life in an entirely new way. This is the kind of book that you could read all the way through within the hour or dip back into from time to time - either way, it never loses it's spontaneity and intelligent wit. ( )
2 vote Aaven | May 27, 2009 |
The college humor magazine I write for kept passing this one around. I can't tell you how jealous it made us all.

This guy is hilarious, and his last lines are always fantastic. There are two great images in particular that stuck with me after I had finished: the images called up by the phrase 'muscle arms' and the image of a big fat man rubbing coins all over his belly. You'll have to read it. For serious.

But the guy who wrote this graduated from Harvard after editing the Lampoon and is the son of NYTimes movie reviewer, so whatever, he's riding a massive wave of privilege all the way out to sea, I guess. Good for him. Wish I was born rich and famous and with a famous dad. Then I, too, could be selling my humor in Barnes and Noble the very year I graduate from college. That would be pretty sweet, right? ( )
  lmichet | Nov 21, 2008 |
"I'm not trying to get negative, I'm just...(Sigh)"

That pretty much sums up this snarky, cynical and humorous collection of speculations and observations from Simon Rich. It's a collection that presents a more youthful, upbeat resignation echoing the more reposed one found in the writing of David Sedaris. Ant Farm is full of nostalgic recollections and weird possibilities concerning the irrelevancies of those desperate situations that give us awkward moments of reflection.

Moments that involve realizing the agony spent before receiving one's first calculator, the ironic closed-mindedness when experimenting with a ouija board, making candy with a forgetful someone named Peanut Al, keeping close tabs on your daily karma tally, God's overwhelming support for Orel Hershiser, and the three things you really don't need if stranded on a desert island.

Ant Farm is an incredibly fast and funny read. The selections are brief and varied, maybe a little too much so, as each consists no more than a couple of pages and is unbounded by coherent theme other than pure whimsy. But it does create that weird momentary pause, raising the question whether there is anything more absurd than us humans and our behavior. ( )
1 vote gonzobrarian | Oct 24, 2008 |
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For my mom
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Then Abraham tied Isaac up and laid him on the altar over the wood.
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SERVANT: We just gave them the boxes and told them to collect for UNICEF. We said it was for "a good cause," but we didn't get any more specific than that.

UNICEF: Ha ha ha! Those fools! Soon I will have all the money in the world. For I am UNICEF, evil king of Halloween!
A math teacher's new apartment is approximately 12 ft. long and 5 ft. wide, and the bathroom takes up 50% of the apartment. A normal human-size bed is 6 ft. x 3 ft. Does the math teacher have enough room for a standard bed? Or will he have to sleep in some kind of dog bed?
MR. BENDER: Okay class, now it's time to read one of your anonymous sex questions out loud. Here's one...

JONATHAN: Hey, Seymour, did you write that one? That looks like your handwriting.

SEYMOUR: Mr. Bender! Don't read it!

MR. BENDER: Please, no talking. It's very important that I answer this question. Whoever asked it is obviously incredibly confused about sex. These are not normal concerns. Not even close.

SETH: Hey, I bet that's Seymour's question. It's written in blue ink like all his homework assignments.

SEYMOUR: Oh, no!

MR. BENDER: Okay, let's see ... it's a seven-part question. The first part is about testicles.

SEYMOUR: Oh my God!
Her name is Tiffany Sparkle. She goes to a different school, a modeling academy in New Brunswick. He showed me some pictures of her from magazines, and believe me, she is hot. He met her over the summer, when he was visiting his grandparents in Canada. He saved her life. She was about to get run over by a double-decker bus when all of a sudden Jared skateboarded through traffic and pushed her out of the way. There was a huge crowd of Canadians standing around, and when Jared saved Tiffany's life everybody just started cheering like crazy. Then she kissed him on the mouth. When I heard that story, I was like "Give me a break!" because it was just about the coolest thing I had ever heard in my entire life!
SULTAN: Would you still love me if I were poor? Keep in mind that if you say no, one of my warriors will murder you.

CONCUBINE: Yes, I would love you no matter what!

SULTAN: Okay, good. Now ... do you want to see a movie or go bowling? Keep in mind that if you say bowling, one of my warriors will murder you.

CONCUBINE: Let's see a movie.

SULTAN: I am the Sultan of Brunei!
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A humorous compilation of essays offers an imaginative look at the comic extremes of serious circumstances, pondering such issues as what would happen if murderers, who had gotten into heaven by accepting Jesus, encounter their former victims.

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