SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio — What’s round on the ends and high in the middle? The answer is, of course, Ohio.
And, if you’re from Ohio and enjoy a laugh or two — or maybe 101 — the recently released book “OH! That’s Funny! 101 Hilarious Ohio Jokes,” might be the book for you.
Written and complied by South Euclid resident Marjorie Preston, the book features jokes that Preston wrote or co-wrote, as well as those contributed by a grand total of exactly 37 friends and family members.
Preston, who lived for eight years in New York City while working at a public relations company, has tried her hand at all sorts of writing for laughs. That includes writing jokes, sketch comedy and parody songs, while also performing standup comedy and, in recent years, relishing time spent in the no-safety-net-below world of improv comedy.
Even the pandemic has not gotten Preston down. In addition to releasing a book, she has kept right on performing.
“During quarantine I’ve done, actually, four live performances over Zoom, through a group in Chicago that does improv,” she said. “They’re an improv group called the Flower Shop Bangers, and I’ve been on a couple of shows with my group, the Angry Ladies of Improv.”
Yes, the fast-talking, energetic Preston is a doer. But it’s taken her eight years to actually wrap up the publication of her book, completed in 2012. The birth of her second child, Liam, seven years ago (we’ll talk about her first child below) and some other happenings that occur in life postponed its publication.
And, it turns out that time marches on, even when it comes to providing laughs. So, Preston knew that it was now-or-never time to get the book into the hands of readers.
“It all started when my friend Jeff (Rutherford, from the New York PR agency) said he would give me $500 to write a book and have the cover designed,” she said. Preston loved the idea and set about writing and gathering jokes.
She was, however, saddened in recent times by the deaths of three of its contributors. The book is dedicated to those three friends — Andy Craze, Mark Rapp and Norman Tischler.
“It was really like, wow, time flies,” she said. “It was eye opening to think these living, breathing, great people, telling jokes, could be gone.”
On a lighter note, Preston found that time can also have an adverse effect on the use-by date of jokes. One joke slated for the book in 2012 told of LeBron James’ lack of championship rings. James has since ruined that joke by winning four of them — including one in that very year of 2012.
But, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of funny left in Ohio.
While those of us who live in the Cleveland area might (or might not) enjoy jokes concerning the lack of rings won by our Cleveland Browns, or about figures from local TV’s past such as Dorothy Fuldheim and Dick Goddard — we don’t want to tell you these jokes here because we already gave you one at the top of the story, leaving only 100 more to go — Ohio is a big state.
Preston is originally from Bowling Green, Ohio, so she means it when she says, “There are over a dozen jokes about Northwest Ohio.” That means that you in Toledo might want to be prepared.
And, of course, there are also the jokes made at the expense of locales outside the Buckeye State, like the one that asks why Ohio leans to the east. The answer, according to the book, is that Michigan blows and Pittsburgh sucks.
Unfortunately, that now leaves only 99 jokes for those who buy the book, so we’ll stop with the jokes here. But, Preston does add that her brother, Don Milnor, also a Northwest Ohio native, likes to write jokes that give the needle to places like Kentucky and West Virginia.
“My brother called me just today with a joke for the book,” Preston said. “He keeps thinking of them. I told him: ‘The book is done! No more!” Her father, Jerry Milnor, also contributed.
Preston is no stranger to mixing family members and comedy. Her first book, from summer 2012, was called “Emmaisms!” She, in actuality, edited the book, which was “written” by her then 4-year-old daughter. It featured the girl’s witty and whimsical sayings while experiencing many things for the first time.
“OH! That’s Funny! 101 Hilarious Ohio Jokes,” is now available on kindle through Amazon.com. Preston is now in the process of narrating an audio version of the book, which is also available in physical form at marjoriepreston.com and at Fireside Books in Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights’ Appletree and Mac’s Backs, and Shaker Heights’ Loganberry Books.
So, if you really want to know what happened next when a man walked into a Cleveland bar with a duck under his arm, you know where to go to get the book.
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