Charles Horn *95 pens humorous guide
Charles Horn *95, shown as he appears as a puppet on the comedy show “Robot Chicken,” was a software engineer before becoming a comedy writer.
Charles Horn *95, shown as he appears as a puppet on the comedy show “Robot Chicken,” was a software engineer before becoming a comedy writer.
Courtesy Charles Horn *95

Most high school students dread studying for the SATs. But Charles Horn *95, an electrical engineer turned TV comedy writer and sometimes-SAT tutor, is trying to add some levity to the hours spent preparing for the questions that measure test-taking ability as well as knowledge. His new book, The Laugh Out Loud Guide: Ace the SAT Exam without Boring Yourself to Sleep! (Andrews McMeel), uses humor and references to pop culture to make test prep fun. Horn was a staff writer for the comedy show Robot Chicken on Cartoon Network. One of the episodes he worked on, Robot Chicken: Star Wars, was nominated for an Emmy, and an animation show he created, Sketch Toons, will debut on the online network Strike TV. His comic strips appear online ( He wrote these answers to questions about his book.  

What made you decide to write a book?

(A) As a comedy writer and SAT tutor, I was in a unique position to create an innovative new SAT study guide.

(B) Hollywood writers went on strike, and I needed to kill some time between marching around holding picket signs.

(C) Someone backed a dump truck full of money up to my front door, and then I woke up.

(D) Chicks dig writers.

(E) I was looking to take revenge on the forest that killed my family.

Answer: D

Why an SAT comedy?

(A) Comedy makes subjects more interesting.

(B) Comedy reduces stress.

(C) Comedy enhances the learning process.

(D) Comedy increases recall.

(E) Comedy makes the SAT hurt less.  In particular, the urge to slit your wrists will diminish.  

Answer: All of the above

You have five degrees, including a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Princeton. How did people react when you told them you were leaving your Silicon Valley software-engineering job to try your hand at comedy writing?

(A) I think it’s great that you’re following your dream.

(B) You’re going to be famous!

(C) Respect.  

(D) Take me with you.

(E) You’re throwing away your Ph.D.!

Answer: A (friends); B (friends who confused writing with acting); C (imaginary friends from the ’hood); D (co-workers still waiting for their green cards); E (Mom)

How did you come up with the questions for your book?

(A) The way all intelligent comedy is generated today — monkeys.

(B) I outsourced to stand-up comics in Bangalore.

(C) By using actual SAT exams as inspiration.

(D) The waterboarding of Mensa clowns.

(E) Through a patented process called laffifification.

Answer: C (No clowns were harmed in the making of this book — as much as I wanted to ... )

See if you can answer test questions below from The Laugh Out Loud Guide.

1. CRITICAL READING: Fill in the blank.

When Amber ________ that Derek, the handsome quarterback, just snuck her a furtive glance as he passed her in the hall, she thought she would, like, oh my God, just totally die!

(A) exclaimed

(B) eked

(C) obviated

(D) pined

(E) discerned

2. MATH: Solve the word problem.

Fourteen years ago, Ashton Kutcher was exactly half the age of his [future] wife, Demi Moore. The sum of their ages today is 76. How old will Ashton be in 20 years when he leaves Demi for her first-born daughter?  

(A) 30

(B) 48

(C) 50

(D) 52

(E) 53

3. WRITING: Find the error in the following sentence, if there is one.  

(A) Loading The Toddmeister onto a gurney, the emergency medical technicians, (B) who happened to be Kappa Omega Kappa brothers (C) themselves and the winning team of the 2000 Chug-a-thon, (D) was relieved to see that the championship drinking trophy was still out on display. (E) No error.  

Answers: 1 (E); 2 (C); 3 (D)