The funny man is a middling comic in an unnamed city. By day he takes care of his infant son, by night he performs in small clubs, sandwiched between other aspiring comics. His wife waits tables to support the family. It doesn’t sound like much, but they’re happy, more or less. Until the day he comes up with it. His thing. His gimmick. And everything changes. He’s a headliner, and the venues get bigger fast. Pretty soon it’s Hollywood and a starring role in a blockbuster, all thanks to the gimmick.
Which is: he performs with his fist in his mouth to the wrist. Jokes, impressions, commercials—all with his fist in his mouth to the wrist. The people want him—are crazy for him—but only with his fist in his mouth.
But the funny man is tired of having his fist in his mouth.
And so, the novel begins, his career’s in tatters, his family’s left him, and he’s on trial for shooting an unarmed man six times. But for the second time in his life, against all odds, he’s found love. This time with another celebrity, who may or may not be sending him coded messages, and may or may not be equally in love—or even know he exists.
A coruscating satire of our culture of celebrity, The Funny Man documents one individual’s slide from everyman to monster, even as it reveals the potential for grace—and mercy—in his life.