Why do anvils fall from the sky?
And backseat drivers make us cry?
What do these old jokes mean?
The answers are in American Cornball, a hysterical illustrated survey of things that used to make us laugh. From hiccups and henpecked husbands to outhouses and old maids, Christopher Miller revisits nearly 200 comic staples, their (often unseemly) origins, why they were funny then, and why they’re not so funny now. The result is a grand tour of the era between vaudeville and TV—a world of black and white, highborn and lowbrow, witty and wacky, the awkward and the sublime. Complete with more than 200 period illustrations, American Cornball is a masterwork of cultural excavation . . . and a genuine laff riot.