In a funny confrontation between two “wild and crazy guys,” Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel will have you thinking they are the Lunatics in their namesake novel. In spite of myself, I ended almost every chapter laughing out loud.

Taking turns being idiotic, each author alternates writing chapters as Philip, the happy owner of a pet store called “The Wine Shop,” and Jeffrey, a forensic plumber, angry at the world for getting in his way. Of course, their paths cross.  In a ridiculous sequence of random events that innocently starts with a soccer game, the two become embroiled in a series of mishaps that has them chased by the police, terrorists, bears, and pirates.  They almost destroy the world, and then put it back together in better shape than before their exploits.

The language can be crude and insensitive; think Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. If you don’t like your laughs rough and bawdy, or if you are a Prius driver, this book may not be for you.   On the other hand, if you are thinking about taking one of those new cultural vacations to Cuba, you might want to read the book before you go.  Both authors get carried away, and the side bars – although funny – seem to run-on, but if you decide to skip through some of it, be sure to check out the Republican National Convention at the end (if you are a Republican, you may not be as amused).

Lunatics is quick silly diversion; I wondered which author wrote each character (in an NPR interview, Dave Barry admits to being the forensic plumber), but I knew they must have had fun writing their plotless wonder together.

Try the G Rated Version of “Go the XXXX to Sleep”

It is free to listen to on YouTube, but should you?  You can’t miss hearing about it, and if you’ve ever tried to get little children to bed, you’d understand the premise.  Jennifer Schuessler notes in her column for the Sunday New York Times Book Review, “Like sex, alcohol, nudity, and drugs, swearing sets off the great American seesaw of schoolmarmish horror and schoolyardish glee…”  I did laugh listening to Samuel L. Jackson’s reading of the book (shoolyardish glee?) and this is a book for adults, but what happens when the child says that word back to you (schoolmarmish horror)?

More bleeps than Comedy Central…

Try the G rated version by Geoffrey Kloske- same idea and funny  – but with no shock-factor to sell the book.

Chelsea Handler – “Comedy” with a Side of Disgusting

I’ve been avoiding Chelsea Handler – her TV shows and her books, especially her books.  Cathy Horyn’s recent article Comedy With a Side of Disgust called me out on my uptight judgment.

“It’s obvious that Ms. Handler who delights in calling her staff members ‘idiots,’ has a good head on her shoulders…{selling} four books in almost as many years…Silly, or not, they have sold in the millions.”

“She’s funny…but a little raunchy”

Sometimes compared to Roseanne in comedy style, Handler evolved from being a participant in a reality show “Girls Behaving Badly” to standup comic and now TV, books, and movies.  Taking Horyn’s cue, I skipped over My Horizontal Life (an account of her one night stands), and ordered her 2010 publication Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang from the library.

What had I been missing? Not much.  Potty and foul-mouthed declarations and a memoir that starts out planning to shock, then segways to Cabbage Patch dolls.  Funny?  Not really, but I guess that depends on your sense of humor.

To be fair, I lost interest after the first few chapters, but it was enough to know that I don’t plan to read anymore by this “author.”