We Interrupt Our Regular Programming

Mark Paxson

Stepping away from posts about writing and publishing and the like, I want to share a book I just finished.

Regular viewers of our video chats will know that several of us are big P.G. Wodehouse fans. That does not include me. Just as evidence of my lack of fandom, I originally typed P.D. and thought that was correct until I looked it up.

In our most recent video chat, which is still going through editing and should be posted soon, after more discussion about P.G. Wodehouse, I agreed that I would read one of his stories and asked for a recommendation. And that is how Right Ho, Jeeves appeared on my Kindle.

I finished the book a day or two ago and here’s what I think. First off, I appreciated that unlike may books written way back when, it was not dense. It was not filled with pages of unnecessary description. No, instead, there was a lot of dialogue and things happening. While the narrator, Bertram Wooster, occasionally wallowed in his head at times, it was not excessive. I actually found the story enjoyable and easy to read.

That said, and Berthold knows this about me, I simply don’t get comedy in stories. I rarely laugh while reading. Nary a chuckle rumbles from within while I’m reading something that is supposed to be funny. It was the same with Right Ho, Jeeves. I believe I slightly chuckled one time while reading it and I think that one incident related to something I interpreted as a comment on the art and challenge of writing, more than what was going on within the story.

Other than that, however, I read the thing with a straight face and … well, while I could see people being amused by the some of the shenanigans, even laughing at the events and dialogue and the names and all that, it just doesn’t work that way for me. So … I did not laugh. Instead of seeing humor in the story, I saw silliness. Which, I admit a lot of humor derives from silliness. I mean, one of my most favorite movies is The Holy Grail – a monument to silliness.

I guess I just don’t see silliness and feel it when I’m reading.

I asked the others during this last video chat if I was weird because of that. Fortunately, Richard came to my defense and acknowledged family members who have said the same thing.

What about you? Do you find humor in what you read? Whether the humor was intentional or not. And if not that, is there some other hole in your ability to appreciate what you read. Some other genre or trick of the trade that simply doesn’t work on you?

Before I forget, in case I don’t blog anything else in the next week or two, may you and yours have the most joyous of holiday seasons, regardless of how you choose to celebrate. And in 2023 … write on!


  1. Well, thanks for giving Wodehouse a try. 🙂

    I need to think about this question. There probably is some gap in my ability to appreciate what I read, but I’m not sure what it is. Hmm…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kingmidget says:

      I may even try another of his books one day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed Right Ho Jeeves! What I found myself laughing about was Bertie’s turns of phrase. The way he referred to ordinary things and actions was quite refreshing and funny. So were some of the situations, I must admit.
    Another good thing about these books is they’re public domain, so are freely available on Gutenberg. I very likely will read more.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. chucklitka says:

    I actually don’t remember how I discovered P G Wodehouse, but it was a long time ago. I’m sitting next to my bookshelf and the Wodehouse books, so I can say with certainty that I own 55 of his books. Bertie and Jeeves are his best work – and the early short stories are the best of the best. They are silly, but I love the way he uses language, the turn of the phrase, the classical references. I also like books with friendships at their core, and you can count on Bertram. He’s a pal. And he can count on Jeeves. And on a deeper level, I think reading these books and seeing how seriously his characters take all those silly situations they find themselves in helps put real life situations into perspective. Is your situation really all that serious in the big scheme of things? I find them therapeutic.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. kingmidget says:

      This is a wonderful way of describing enjoyable fiction. At some point, I’m going to give Wodehouse another try. Maybe some of his short stories.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. chucklitka says:

        The Bertie and Jeeves stories are his best, I think, because they are written in 1st person. The short stories are easy to read and actually run in a series, so that you get to know all his pals. They can mostly be read in order, Carry On, Jeeves, The Inimitable Jeeves, and Very Good Jeeves! The Penguin paperbacks from the ’70’s with the cover art by Ionicus are the classic Wodehouse books for me
        Almost all of my favorite writers are British, or in the case of Raymond Chandler, British educated. I just like how the use their language for some reason, and their dry humor.

        Still, written humor is pretty iffy. And pretty personal. People go on and on about how funny Terry Pratchett stories are, but they do nothing for me, even though he’s British as well. And well, I’ve sampled some of Berthold’s recommended stories, and well… For me there’s a fine line between almost believable and not believable, and I guess I need a certain degree of believability to enjoy the humor.

        My favorite British humor series was The Detectorists, which is probably the polar opposite of Monty Python.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. kingmidget says:

        Your description of written humor as being personal is spot on. Unlike any other medium, humor in the written word really depends on the perspective of the recipient.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I need to look up Detectorists; that sounds interesting…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Considering I bill my murder books as humorous murder mysteries, I know all too well that humor in writing is subjective. Where one person will laugh out loud, another person can be downright irritated – especially with silly humor.

    And yes, I do find humor in writing. I laughed out loud many times while reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

    I found Wodehouse after finding House and Hugh Laurie. I only read one book out of curiosity, but I did enjoy it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. kingmidget says:

      One of my issues is that the older I get, the less intrigued or entertained I am with silly.


      1. My inner child is twelve years old. I can’t help I’m 67 and still laugh at fart jokes. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. kingmidget says:

        Fart jokes are totally a thing. And should always be. An example of what I’m talking about … modern sitcoms are just stupid to me. People acting as crazy as possible. Stupid storylines. Just … stupid. The last sitcom I liked was Big Bang Theory. I don’t watch any sitcoms now because they’re just silly.

        Liked by 2 people

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