We could all use a good laugh from time to time. Diving into the absurdity of life, these books by comedians have no shortage of humor. Comics like Jerry Seinfeld, Ali Wong, and Kevin Hart share vividly told anecdotes and sharp musings. Their voices ring through the pages, offering meaningful reflections along with plenty of upbeat jokes.
Whether you are looking to learn more about your favorite comedian, or enjoy some banter, the books below are well worth a read.
Is This Anything?
A master at stand-up comedy, Jerry Seinfeld carefully saved every last idea that struck him as funny. Piecing together many decades-worth of material that never made it into his shows, Seinfeld crafts an entertaining journey through the years. Traveling from one decade to the next, readers can see how his comedy has changed, and in many ways stayed the same.
A Very Punchable Face
In his New York Times bestselling A Very Punchable Face, Colin Jost recounts some of the more memorable moments of his life. He shares stories that range from having Jimmy Buffet save his life, to facing off with 24 other men at WrestleMania.
The collection of self-deprecating essays offer an array of unexpected and often bizarre stories that go far beyond Jost’s experiences as the head writer of Saturday Night Live. By balancing ridiculous anecdotes with moments of sincerity, Jost creates a book that is both hilarious and all too human.
Born A Crime
The host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, provides a moving and sharply funny account of his experiences growing up in the final days of apartheid South Africa. Born when the union between his white Swiss father and black Xhosa mother was a punishable crime, Noah spent his early years hidden away from the authorities. As apartheid fell and white rule weakened, Noah and his mother lived life to the fullest, through its high as well as its many lows.
Sharing his story, his mother’s role in his life, and a glimpse into South Africa at a turning point, Noah’s Born a Crime was named one of the best books of the year by NPR, Esquire, and USA Today, among others.
Related: How To Sir, With Love Author E.R. Braithwaite Triumphed Over the Racist Apartheid Government
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Though she is widely known for her work on The Office and her shows The Mindy Project and Never Have I Ever, Mindy Kaling is also an accomplished author. Before writing a collection of stories titled Nothing Like I Imagined and the book Why Not Me?, Kaling released Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?.
The endearing account offers her thoughts on all sorts of pressing questions, from what is the ideal amount of fame, to what qualities make someone a true friend. Simply put, Kaling’s reflections are “very funny” (Boston Globe).
Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy
Pulling together his most interesting conversations with comedians, Judd Apatow’s Sick in the Head collects a range of candid stories spanning more than thirty years. From the idols he interviewed on his high school radio show, to contemporaries he worked alongside, Apatow includes discussion with some of comedy’s biggest names.
Featuring the likes of Garry Shandling, Mel Brooks, Spike Jonze, Sarah Silverman, and Seth Rogen– just to name a few– Sick in the Head shares the joy and magic of comedy from the perspective of those who know it best.
Tina Fey's #1 National Bestselling Bossypants is full of vivid stories and uproarious commentary. Her autobiographical essays tell all about her childhood growing up a nerd, her work in comedy, and her journey through marriage and motherhood.
With wit and humor, Bossypants reminds audiences again of Fey's unique talent, which launched her to success on Saturday Night Live and kept audiences laughing through her many shows and films that followed.
Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life
In a collection of letters to her daughters, comedian Ali Wong shares her keen observations and unique perspective on life. From her wild antics while growing up in San Francisco, to her advice as a mother working in a male-dominated industry, Wong’s stories are filled with hilarious detail and honest insight. With its upbeat tone, Dear Girls is an inspiring book that The New York Times calls “knife sharp” and “a genuine pleasure.”
Related: 10 Empowering Books with a Strong Female Protagonist
I Can't Make This Up
In a book that conveys his larger than life personality as clearly as any stand up special, Kevin Hart’s I Can’t Make This Up tells of the many challenges he has overcome.
Hart describes his childhood growing up in North Philadelphia, with a father who was in and out of jail, a mother who beat him, and a brother who was a petty thief and crack dealer. Paving his own way, Hart began an enormously successful career in comedy. Offering readers his experiences and life lessons, Hart’s #1 New York Times bestselling memoir is “hilarious but also heartfelt.” (Elle)
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
First creating the web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl then creating HBO’s Insecure, comedian Issa Rae has long poked fun at what it’s like to live as an awkward Black introvert in a world that worships those who are self-confident and cool.
In her New York Times best selling book, Rae shares hilarious commentary on everything from eating out alone, to public displays of affection. In a style described as “delightfully deadpan” (Essence), Rae reveals the everyday humors of life, and ultimately accepting oneself.
Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Steve Martin’s memoir offers a whole new perspective on stand up comedy. Diving behind the scenes, Martin reveals the ambition, creativity, and total dedication that went into his stand up career in the 1960s and 70s.
Walking away from the demands of performing in the 1980s, Martin shares how he rebuilt his relationships with his family after his long absence in pursuit of his work. With authenticity and humor, Born Standing Up is a personal look into one of the most acclaimed comedians of the 20th century.
Still Foolin' 'Em
Sharing his musings on aging as well as a vibrant account of his life, Billy Crystal’s Still Foolin’ ‘Em is packed with wisdom, light, and laughter. His spirited commentary on aging includes topics like memory loss and grand-parenting, while his reflections on the past address everything from his recurring role hosting the Oscars, to his friendship with greats like Muhammad Ali and Mickey Mantel.