Joe Oesterle: What’s Funny and Why?

Joe in the middle with myself and Mike Marinacci at a book signing in San Francisco

Joe Oesterle is a writer, artist and comedy writer and performer. We were co-authors of Weird California, which was published in 2006. Joe and I were unaware of each other until we met on promotional interviews that were set up by the publisher, and found out that we shared a mania for classic standup and other recorded comedy, as well as the old National Lampoon magazine. Joe worked for the NatLamp website and also recorded an album of funny songs for them.

I thought it was mandatory that we get together and talk about humor and play some of our favorite bits, so we finally did on March 30 of 2008. What is the purpose of humor? What is taboo in comedy? How do those who make us laugh point out things that are wrong with society?

Joe and I talked about Mad magazine, writers from the old National Lampoon, Michael O’Donoghue, Lenny Bruce, Derek and Clive, Bob and Ray, Cheech and Chong, Bill Hicks and many others.

Since good comedy is rarely polite or safe, I almost need not warn you that we sometimes use naughty words and play a few things that might rattle the easily offended.

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