Mikhail Bakhtin’s approach to humour, embodied in grotesque realism or the closely related carnivalesque, emphasises a form of interpenetrative materialism. Its comic exaggeration and scatological tone affirm the joyful continuity of man and world and highlight, by their focus on the lower body, the mutual fecundity of life and death. Breakfast of Champions (1973) is an excremental novel, a paradigmatic example of the Bakhtinian grotesque’s subject matter. Images of eating and excreting abound, and the barriers between the natural and artificial are frequently transgressed. While this profound intersection and relativisation between the organic and inorganic is ripe for affirmative Bakhtinian humour, the grotesque elements of Breakfast of Champions remain inert. The potential for symbolic rebirth and renewal, exemplified by the grotesque Kilgore Trout’s final plea to be made young again, is left suspended at novel’s conclusion. This ultimate failure to consummate the Bakhtinian affirmation of and conciliation with interpenetrative materiality is representative of a fundamental lack of awareness on the part of the novel’s characters. Unaware of the material forces that constitute and drive their thoughts and actions and connect them to their surroundings, they remain trapped – as the text itself remains suspended – in a state of alienation.