Literature, as a medium for comedy, is sorely underrated. I have so often heard people lament, “ugh, I should read more…”. Well, if that’s the way that you feel, I would highly recommend that you start with comedy — they’re real page-turners! Here are a few of my more recent recommendations:
“Meaty” and “Wow, no thank you” by Samantha Irby
Book review of Irby’s “We are never meeting in real life”
Samantha Irby’s comedic take on her life is uproarious and pointedly crude, but her proses never fail to endear. She writes essays about life, love, and diarrhea (she is unfortunately plagued with chronic gastrointestinal distress). Her writing style is conversational but more eloquent and frankly more engaging than plan-old, dictated word. For example, instead of saying, “I often wake up at noon with the blinding sun in my face,” she writes “I like to wake up naturally, gripped by a heart-pounding panic as the sun slices through my eyelids at noon, when it is perfectly aligned with my bedroom windows.” (<<this quote is from “Wow, no thank you”). Dropping out of college her freshman year and ultimately pursuing a writing job in showbiz, Irby’s life is filled with ups and downs, which makes her books a bit of a roller coaster.
Yearbook by Seth Rogen
If you know “Super Bad,” “This is the End,” or “Pineapple Express,” you already know that Seth Rogen’s memoir is going to be epic. Rogen documents his childhood in Vancouver (yes, he’s Canadian), where he got his start as a stand-up comedian. His tales are plot-driven and hilarious (he even made Jewish summer camp sound intense). He recounts his experimentation with marijuana (or “skunk” as the nude man, selling it to teens on the beach called it), molly, acid as well as the crazy, Canadian high jinks that ensued. Finally, Rogen also details episodes from his Hollywood career, including the political tension surrounding the making of the farcical comedy “The Dictator” (which features Kim Jung-un as a character) and his strange encounters with Nicholas Cage. Even if you have never seen any of Rogen’s movies (but, like, you probably should) then, there is still something to be enjoyed in the hilarity of his journey.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
What a time it is to be young and single. With the advent of dating apps and hookup culture, pursuing relationships should be easy-peasy, right? Well, this is easier said than done, of course, and for Aziz Ansari, at times, dating has resembled quite the series of unfortunate events. Using both empirical evidence and personal anecdotes, Ansari spins a heartwarming and utterly entertaining tale of mating, dating, and searching for “happily ever after” in the digital age.
Acne by Laura Chinn
Acne is not like the other books on this list. Instead of being laugh-out-loud, every-few-sentences-you-haha funny, Acne is ludicrous (which literally describes something as so absurd that it’s funny). The book is a memoir of the author’s life (Laura Chinn is also an actress). Her childhood is a series of episodes worthy of documentation — she started smoking when she was a pre-pubescent child, lost her virginity at fourteen, her brother is diagnosed with cancer, her parents are divorced, she didn’t know what racism was until she was nine, she grew up in Florida… oh, wait, that all kind of sounds sad, doesn’t it? Fear not! Although Chinn’s upbringing is filled to the absolute brim with hardship, Chinn puts her comedic spin on everything and you will have yourself asking again and again — wait, did that actually happen? Oh, I should also mention that her stories are loosely tied together by her years-long struggle with acne (like of the painful, cystic sort), which explains the title.
I am a huge fan of comedy (…you should check out my videos) and I have so many more books to recommend. I have covered a decent number of books by comedians in blog-posts past, so if you’re in the market for recommendations (with accompanying reviews — I got you 😉 ), check out some of the below titles:
I was Told There’d Be Cake — Sloane Crosley
Look Alive Out There — Sloane Crosley
I’m Fine… And Other Lies – Whitney Cummings
Bossypants – Tina Fey
The Last Black Unicorn – Tiffany Haddish
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling
The Rules Do Not Apply — Ariel Levy
Don’t Worry It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething’s (Mostly Failed) Attempts at Adulthood — Alida Nugent
Yes Please – Amy Poehler
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo – Amy Schumer
P.S. …if you can’t be happy, I hope you are at least entertained 🙂
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