Rich plays it smart, short and funny
With its absurdist premises and pure silliness, Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations seems calculated to invite comparisons to Steve Martin and Woody Allen. It would be easy to dismiss the first-time author’s work as slight and chalk up his book deal to his connections as former Harvard Lampoon president and son of New York Times columnist Frank Rich. Easy—except that this collection is simply too damn funny.
Rich has mastered a kind of verbal site gag—conceptually clever pieces brief enough to appeal to the shortest attention span, a la Martin’s classic, Cruel Shoes. A child imagines the conversation at the grownup table (Grandmother: Did you see the politics? It made me angry. Dad: Me, too. When it was over, I had sex.). Fighters trapped inside the Nintendo cartridge Street Fighting Man question God when they are slaughtered by “he-who-is-dressed-differently.”
Ant Farm is simple, smart and easily digestible, and that’s a potent combination these days.