What do you get when you cross Lao Tzu and an application for a university teaching application? What do you get when you give W. G. Sebald and Clarice Lispector the ability to speak from the afterlife? What happens if a girl is stopped at a red light for an entire year? In on the Great Joke is a palace of hybridity, where film structure informs poetry, poetry alters the essay, and the essay recalibrates the joke. Broadbent has lent her ear to the dead, the living, the voiceless, to give us the punchline of what it means to be intellectually alive.