Dogs Don't Tell Jokes Study Guide

Dogs Don't Tell Jokes By Louis Sachar

Gary W. Boone ("Take the G from Gary and the Oone from Boone, and you get Goon!") is a young boy who desperately wants to be a comedian. He daydreams about being a late-night TV show host. Of course, his classmates think he's a dork and abuse him in typical middle-school fashion.

The school announces an upcoming talent show with a one hundred dollar prize for the winner, and Gary decides that this is his big break. He starts trying his jokes on everyone around him, and learns that people just don’t like his jokes. He tries to make jokes up himself, but can't figure out the punchlines in time. He starts to question his dream of being on television and wonders if his classmates are right to think that he is a nerd.

Gary eventually gets tired of feeling unfunny and declares that he is giving up, and decides to become a normal kid. He tries to hang out with the other kids and not crack any more jokes. He suffers through this mundane existence for some time, but he eventually realizes that no one is paying any attention to him either way. Figuring that, as long as he wasn't doing any better being normal, he might as well do what he loved instead.

The night of the talent show, Gary is very nervous and he wets his pants. He screws up the opening of his set and soon forgets his entire routine. Fortunately, Gary has "friends" who think they're going to mess him up by spraying water and throwing stuff at him. This earns Gary a few laughs, and once he hears them, he suddenly feels at home. He restarts his routine, manages to surprise the audience with a 'secret weapon', and wins the $100 and the respect of his classmates.

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