There may be funnier species in the literary universe than a Southern writer on a roll. The richest vein of American humor - the broadest, the earthiest, the most outrageously inventive - can be found below the Mason-Dixon line, where the comic impulse just naturally seems allied to the native storytelling genius, and the sacred and the profane are on intimate terms. Roy Blount, Jr., himself a son of the South and on paper and in person one of the funniest men in America, has dug deep and foraged far and wide to produce the definitive treasury of Southern humor for our time. It comprises more than 150 selections, including stories, sketches, folk tales, essays, poems, memoirs, and blues and country and rock lyrics, arranged under such headings as My People, My People (How's Your Mama 'n' Them?), Here Be Dragons, or How Come These Butterbeans Have an Alligator Taste? and Lying, and Other Arts of Communication. The wildly heterogeneous roster of contributors ranges from such enduring masters as William Faulkner, Mark Twain, Flannery O'Conr, Zora Neale Hurston, Joel Chandler Harris, Erskine Caldwell, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Tennessee Williams, and Eudora Welty to such brilliantly funny contemporaries as Molly Ivins, Dave Barry, Little Richard, Harry Crews, Clyde Edgerton, Lyle Lovett, Barry Hannah, Lee Smith, Charles Portis, Bailey White, Florence King, and Roy Blount, Jr., himself. If you could stop laughing long eugh, you'd probably call Roy Blount's Book of Southern Humor a classic. And you'd be right.