“If you lose your job, your marriage and your mind all in one week, try to lose your mind first because then the other stuff won’t matter that much.”
Jack Handey’s latest book, The Lost Deep Thoughts (Hyperion), doles out more of his nonsensical wisdom. Handey, a former Emmy Award-winning writer for “Saturday Night Live,” created the popular SNL skit “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey.” His fourth book follows the same line of insanely humorous thoughts that made his skit successful and his first three books bestsellers. In the end, however, it falls short of his other successes with “Deep Thoughts.”
The Lost Deep Thoughts offers more than 80 musings accompanied by the same simplistic nature photographs that helped make his earlier books successes. The juxtaposition of his completely random thoughts with the serene black and white photos of cats and beaches forces the reader to stop and ask, “Is Handey really saying that?”
Handey’s “thoughts” are similar to those in his other works. Although all are funny, some fail to hit the mark because they appear too contrived and too forced to be truly hilarious.
A few shining examples of pure, unadulterated Handey are scattered throughout the book. Examples of his top-notch humor are thoughts such as, “When I saw the old bum pushing his grocery cart down the street, at first I felt sorry for him. But then when I saw what was in his cart I thought, Well, no wonder you’re a bum, look at the dumb things you bought.” These few moments of brilliance are unable to carry the entire book.
Anyone reading a book by Handey for the first time would be better entertained by an earlier work. The Lost Deep Thoughts amuses readers but lacks the quality of his other books. The concept of “Deep Thoughts” is no longer fresh and enticing. Using the same humor, the book – and his thoughts – become repetitive and hackneyed.
This article appeared in the September 14, 1998 issue of the Hatchet.