Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bob and Emily Talk III

Emily (having finished devouring Nick Hornby): I think I need something else really funny to read. But I don't want just any old thing. I want something I know will make me laugh. Hard. A There's Something About Mary sort of laugh (a movie that had her on the floor between the seats doubled over in pain she was laughing so hard).

Bob: Yes, you do. No more The Faerie Queene right now.

Emily: There's Three Men in a Boat, but I always read that when I want something to make me laugh.

Bob: Maybe you should read Emma.

Emily doesn't know what to say. She thought he was listening until now, but he couldn't possibly have been. Yes, she knows he has seen her, many a time, reading/listening to Jane Austen. She has been known to let the occasional giggle escape while doing so, and Emma does happen to be her favorite. But really. If we're talking about tears-streaming-down-the-cheeks, fall-out-of-the-chair laughing, what he's seen her do while reading the likes of David Rakoff, Mary Roach, Sarah Vowell, and the aforementioned Jerome K. Jerome, she can't imagine how Jane Austen has sprung to his mind. (Note how David Sedaris is intentionally missing. You are surely all sick of references to him in this blog, but he is King of Consistently Getting Emily to Laugh Like That, so he really belongs in that list, too.)

Bob (noticing that Emily must be giving him a very strange look): least for that one scene.

And suddenly, it dawns on Emily. He's not referring to Austen's Emma. He is referring to Wilton Barnhardt's Emma, as in Emma Who Saved My Life. "The scene" is the scene that had them both in stitches when they read the book, the "Truckload of Dreams" scene. It's when Gil finally gets a job in the theater (what he has come, as a young dreamer, to NYC to do), a theater he describes as "barely the theater," a place where one "winds up in a bunny suit" (if memory serves well), and we are treated to a history of that theater, most memorably a description of the theater's attempt to do "Black Theater," popularized in the 1970s by such hits as "The Wiz."

Emily: Ohhhh, you don't mean Austen! You mean Emma! What was the play again? "Truckload Full of Dreams," right?

Bob: I don't know, but whatever it was, it was one of the funniest things I've ever read in a novel. (He starts to laugh. Soon, they are both laughing uncontrollably, despite the fact neither one of them remembers the details of the scene, or maybe even the title of the play, all that well.)

Bob (once they've pulled themselves together): But just read that one scene. It's not really a funny book.

Emily: I know. We read that before we even had the apartment in NY, didn't we?

Bob: Did we? Didn't we decide to ride all the subways in NY because of that book? We never did.

Emily (wistfully): I know. (She decides to leave Emma on the shelf for now.)


Susan said...

Sometimes, just remembering a laugh is enough to laugh again! Even more romantic (and how Emma!! lol) you and Bob were able to share it :-D

I love this post, Emily!

raych said...

Speaking of making you laugh like that, I'm currently reading Connie Willis' 'To Say Nothing of the Dog,' at one point in which the princible characters ACTUALLY RUN INTO George, Harris, and JKJ (to say nothing of Montmorency). Also, the book is slaying me. If you have never read, you should

Anne Camille said...

I hadn't thought of that book in years until I was in NYC a few years ago and tried to think of where it was that they always planned to take the train -- was it Far Rockaway? I thought it was funny in parts, but I bet I would hate it if I read it now. Hadn't thought of the theatre scene in years.

litlove said...

I do love your conversations. I've just read Mariana by Monica Dickens and loved it - I laughed out loud many, many times because it is so amusingly written. And the story is pure comfort read delight. Highly recommended for all I Capture The Castle fans. But failing that, the lovely David Sedaris is my knight in shining humourous armour.

ZoesMom said...

I think your conversations with Bob would make a good book that would make me laugh out loud any time I picked it up. I'll have to remember to go back to these posts when I am in need of a good laugh.

Stefanie said...

What a fabulous conversation. I was thinking you needed to read David Sedaris :) Have you ever read any of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books? He is often laugh out loud funny at my house.

Emily Barton said...

Susan, yes, it is fun to be able to share such laughs.

Cam, you might surprise yourself. My guess is that the book is even better the more intimately you know NYC. And , I'm not sure, but yes, I think it was Far Rockaway.

Litlove, as I noted on your blog, I love Mariana, too! And, yes, Sedaris is very hard to beat.

ZM, hmmm...wonder if I could gather enough of them to make up 70,000 words?

Stef, I haven't read any Pratchett, except Good Omens, which is what made me realize I need to read more. Thanks for the recommendation.