I love to read books about comedians, comedy’s impact in the world, and books that are just plain funny. I’ve been known to send many jokes to friends and loved ones because I can’t resist sharing a good laugh with those I love. There are countless books that contribute to the laughs in the world, and I find them irresistible! Here are a few favorites that are too good for me to keep them to myself, in a few of my favorite packages:
A comedian’s biography will usually overview their life, and can sometimes examine their personal demons as well as their greatest triumphs, as is the case with Dave Itzkoff’s book about Robin Williams called ROBIN. One of the most popular of this group has to be BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey, which not only talks about the course of her career, but is sprinkled along the way with her (often hilarious) observations. It’s well worth the read, and the audiobook, narrated by Fey herself, is a winner. This category also definitely needs to mention Billy Crystal’s STILL FOOLIN' 'EM, the story of his life which has its share of laughs combined with heart, personal loss and redemption, and some absolutely amazing experiences.
Comedy as the Subject
Many books love to talk about comedy as a phenomenon, especially because their stories are usually a roller-coaster-ride of their rise in popularity, bumps along the way, and eventual fall or translation into something new. SEINFELDIA: HOW A SHOW ABOUT NOTHING CHANGED EVERYTHING by Jennifer Armstrong and AS YOU WISH: INCONCEIVABLE TALES FROM THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE by Cary Elwes are excellent examples. But my personal favorite is probably THE DAILY SHOW: AN ORAL HISTORY AS TOLD BY JON STEWART, THE CORRESPONDENTS, STAFF, AND GUESTS by Chris Smith. Not only is this the story of a show which singled-handedly created a new genre of humor, but an overview of the major events of America during its time, especially the political landscape and its shifts. It’s an interesting way to review the events of the past two decades, to be sure.
Comedy as the Content
Lastly, you can just go straight for the jokes. There are quite a few excellent comedians out there who are willing to package up their trusted material and let the masses experience them without the cost of admission. Ellen DeGeneres has published a delightful collection of bits in SERIOUSLY... I'M KIDDING, but my favorite comedian-turned-author has to be Jim Gaffigan, whose titles even crack me up: DAD IS FAT, and FOOD: A LOVE STORY being a couple of favorites. These books are best suited to audiobook listening because they are usually performed by the author, and you get the benefit of all their skillful delivery and timing.