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The prisoner’s Guide to Humor is an unusual book of jokes intended to bring humor into a setting of endless boredom. A few years ago comedy suddenly became quite the rage at Rahway Prison in New Jersey. It started out as a fad that swept through the house. Originally joke tellers started trading jokes in the chow hall. After awhile they were asked to tell their jokes loudly enough for everyone to hear. Soon they were using the mike and speakers already set up for daily announcements. It’s now a major part of prison life at Rahway. Inmates devote much of their free time to comedy. Some have become in-house celebrities for their stand-up routines or for finding hilarious gems to share. Being a “comedian” at Rahway is as important as being a “jailhouse lawyer” (a prisoner who has a good understanding of the legal system and advises other inmates). Our “seasoned comedians” decided to publish a volume or two of the Rahway Prison Comedy Project’s ‘Guides to Humor’ to share with all of you. Consider this gift a model that you can use in your own “Graybar Hotel.” If you’re a fish, or the rare CO who has a sense of humor or someone who’s returned to the free world, or someone from the free world who wants to get a rare look at prison humor you might find this book a hilarious gem. (For readers from outside the Graybar Hotel, a ‘fish’ is a new prisoner, ‘the free world’ is the world outside of prison, a ‘CO’ is a correction officer, and our beloved ‘Graybar Hotel’ is prison). “The rough life you hear about mainly takes place because our brothers “inside” are living hopeless lives. Comedy has proven to be a healing force in our prison. We all love to laugh. We learn to expose our pain in “group therapy”. Comedy expresses the opposite, the pleasure that we all have the capacity to feel.

 


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