Dan Kois profiles Jack Handey for The New York Times:

Maria Semple, a writer for “S.N.L.” and “Arrested Development” and the author of the novel “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” spent a long time on the phone with me trying to explain what it is about Handey’s comedy that makes him different from almost anyone else writing comedy today. “In the rewrite room,” she finally said, “we used to say, ‘It smells like a joke.’ That’s the scourge of comedy these days. It smells like a joke, but there’s no actual joke there. I’m not the comedy police, but you watch a movie, and everyone’s laughing, and then you shake it out and you realize, ‘There’s no joke there!’ ” But in Handey’s novel, she said, “I don’t think four lines go by without a killer joke. These are real jokes, man. They don’t just smell like jokes.”