Hit Machine

Fall off a chair laughing at America's funniest export.

What can one write or say about Dave Barry? Pick up any book of his and once you fall off your chair laughing, holding onto your sides lest they burst open, you will see my point. When this man gets going, no one is spared, not even the president of the U.S.A. In this book, Barry airs his opinions on a vast range of topics, from beer to aliens to children to squid to terrorism to airbags and back to beer again.

Barry’s style is largely irreverent - nothing is sacred when creativity strikes. In "Greatest Hits", he pokes fun at (among other things) his neighbours, his wife, fleas, Ronald Reagan and himself in exactly the same manner - downright hilarious, and very often insulting. One wonders, after reading this book, how the humans have survived as a species for this long, in spite of their apparent colossal stupidity. Barry’s main strength lies in his ability to make the simplest of things seem ridiculous. He exaggerates everything, blows anything that catches his fancy out of proportion, and does it in a way that comes across as genuinely witty and hilarious - a man who takes pretty much everything in life with a pinch of salt.

This book, in particular, is a collectors item because it has no fixed subject. The eighty-odd chapters are all diverse, unlike his other books, in which he focuses on a particular topic. Needless to say, these are all superb in their own right. Don’t go looking for profundity or food for thought in them, though - they will contain nothing of the sort. What they will have though, is material that make you fairly hysterical by the time you come to the last page - you’ll find yourself wondering how anyone can write like this (and not just a couple of books, but dozens of them, full of what could well pass for nonsense, but priceless in their own way!)

There’s not very much more that can be said about this Pulitzer Prize-winning humourist. You will have to pick up one of his books yourself to discover how to really laugh yourself silly. For all those who need a laugh, this book is a must-read. Enjoy.

A Word of Advice: After finishing with Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits, don’t go overboard spending your monthly wages buying every book he ever wrote. I am warning you all, because people have been known to do this. And I swear I’m not making this up.

This article was first published on 25 Nov 2001.