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Funniest Books You Have Read


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Aug 2, 2006, 2:33pm Top

Personal favorites, guilty pleasures, obvious classics. What are the books that make you laugh that most?

Aug 2, 2006, 3:55pm Top

Without a doubt, my favorite is Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. The essay entitled Jesus Shaves is SO funny. I copied it and sent it to everyone I know.
A recent find was Alice, I Think by Susan Juby. I was in the eye doctor's waiting room, doubled over laughing. It's a YA book but soooo funny!
Florence King wrote some hilarious memoir-type stuff.

Aug 3, 2006, 11:20pm Top

Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series. I'm in love with Zaphod.

Aug 4, 2006, 12:47am Top

Ooh - no! Not Zaphod! - Ford Prefect! (Though I sympathize deeply with poor Arthur's search for a decent cup of REAL tea!)

Actually, I admit it, I'm NOT in love with Ford Prefect. But don't tell him, will you?

Aug 4, 2006, 5:52am Top


Aug 4, 2006, 5:56am Top


Aug 4, 2006, 1:13pm Top

Now THERE's a hoopy frood who really knows where his towel's at. :)

8engelcox First Message
Aug 4, 2006, 2:25pm Top

The one author and book series that I feel duty bound to evangelize is Joe Keenan, who wrote a couple of books about the Broadway musical scene called Putting on the Ritz and Blue Heaven, then quit writing novels for a while to concentrate on being the executive story editor for Frazier. Now that the show is no longer being made, he's back with a new book, My Lucky Star. The only caveat I make about these books are that some of the characters are gay, so if you're extremely homophobic, you might want to give them a miss.

Aug 5, 2006, 3:01am Top

While I did enjoy the Douglas Adams "trilogy", Christopher Moore always makes me laugh. Lamb is brilliant!!!

Aug 5, 2006, 12:45pm Top

T.R. Pearson is perhaps the "funniest" author I have ever read, however, the funniest literary scene I have ever come across is the Nativity scene in the book titled "A Prayer For Owen Meany" by John Irving

Another author who comes to mind is Richard Russo. The man has a great sense of humor :>)

Aug 5, 2006, 5:22pm Top

I am very fond of T.R. Pearson though my favorites Cry Me a River and Blue Ridge are not necessaily his funniest.

Aug 9, 2006, 1:55pm Top

The 5-minute Iliad and other instant classics by Greg Nagan is the funniest (so far). I laughed out loud through the whole thing. And the same can be said for Anguished English by Richard Lederer.

Aug 9, 2006, 2:23pm Top

In addition to the Hitchhiker's books I laughed like crazy reading The Water Method Man and the Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend.

Aug 11, 2006, 2:43am Top

Don Quixote is without a doubt the funniest book I've ever read, but I would never have picked up on half of the funny bits if I hadn't had the guidance of a very excellent Spanish lit professor along the way. I also laughed quite a lot while reading Me Talk Pretty One Day, The Princess Bride, and Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book.

15atamata First Message
Aug 11, 2006, 5:14am Top

Woody Allen's The Complete Prose, genius and totally surreal! I can't read it on public transport without making a fool of myself from laughing out loud at most of it.

16kageeh First Message
Edited: Dec 15, 2006, 5:04pm Top

Joe Queenan's Red Lobster, White Trash & the Blue Lagoon; Joe Queenan's America (1999) is one of the funniest books I have ever read and easily his best. His chapter on VC Andrews' Flowers in the Attic (which I guiltily read and loved) made me laugh so hard, I couldn't breathe trying to read it to a friend. And wait until you read what he thinks of the Broadway musical "Cats". Read it -- you will lose all control.

Aug 11, 2006, 1:18pm Top

Joe Queenan also wrote If You're Talking To Me, Your Career Must Be In Trouble which I remember thinking I was going to like from the title alone. :D

18bookmarks First Message
Aug 11, 2006, 11:51pm Top

Wodehouse is the master. My favorites of his are the Bertie and Jeeves books. The great thing about Wodhouse is that you have several books to choose from if you like his writing.

19redbike First Message
Aug 12, 2006, 12:23am Top

the funniest book I have ever read is without a doubt a confederacy of dunces. My roommates seconds this.

Aug 19, 2006, 5:55pm Top

I like Christopher Moore's books especially those set in Pine Cove. The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove is probably my favorite.

Terry Pratchett is good too - I like Small Gods and Interesting Times.

David Sedaris is funny too, but I prefer listening to him on audio books rather than reading him.

I like Gerald Durrell's stories about growing up and his passion for the natural world. The books start with My Family and Other Animals and follow him into old age, he grew up to be a naturalist and work with wildlife parks and zoos.

I also loved Sue Townsend and the series that starts with The Adrian Mole Diaries.

My most recent funny book is Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About by Mil Millington Just hysterical.

Aug 19, 2006, 11:29pm Top

I generally enjoy the works of Donald Westlake but I think he outdid all his other works with Dancing Aztecs.

Jasper Fforde has come close but only Westlake has brought me laughter that brought me to tears.

22chat_noir First Message
Edited: Aug 19, 2006, 11:41pm Top

I love David Sedaris's books. Naked is so funny.

Aug 20, 2006, 12:10am Top

Aug 20, 2006, 6:55pm Top

Lucky Jim has certain passages that never fail to make me laugh out loud, no matter how many times I read them; Woody Allen, definitely! Laurie Notaro is fun, Douglas Adams always a treat. The Angry Clam is an ineffable joy forever--I mean, the opening line is "So wrought with hostility, the angry clam plots the destruction of the universe." I was instantly hooked. Daniel Pinkwater, Cynthia Heimel, Max Shulman...All right, I give up. I admit it. I'm a shallow human being and basically I'll for for anything since life is all about havin' a laugh!

Aug 21, 2006, 10:03am Top

Am listening to Motherless Brooklyn as done by Frank Muller (Recorded Books) and his reading cracks me up. He "does" Lionel perfectly - the verbal ticks are a riot. Although I'm probably laughing where I shouldn't be. Can't be helped.

Aug 21, 2006, 10:25am Top

I might have to seek out The Angry Clam after reading the message from del_rex above.

My own choices are pretty predictable I think - P G Wodehouse, Jerome K Jerome, Terry Pratchett. I also once read a parody of Raymond Chandler by S J Perelman - Farewell My Lovely Appetiser - that is pretty near the funniest thing I`ve read. I also liked a humourous piece by W E B Du Bois - possibly his only humourous piece ? - entitled On Being Crazy (1922).

Keep laughing.

Aug 21, 2006, 11:25am Top

Man! Notaro, Sedaris, Wodehouse...y'all read my mind this morning.

I'm not a big Queenan person; he comes off to me as a pompous asshole. I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, who is hilarious, Pamela Ribon, who rocks my socks, and, on the nonfiction side, Molly Ivins. Jill Connor Browne's stuff is funny, too.

28bibsy32 First Message
Aug 21, 2006, 1:02pm Top

Back in the Jug Agane, and other Molesworth books by Geoffrey Willans - maybe only appeal to the English? Hilarious.

Aug 21, 2006, 1:27pm Top

Now you`ve brought back some memories ! Wasn`t there a character described as starting each day with the words "Hello clouds, hello sky." ???

Aug 22, 2006, 7:39am Top

That was ickle prety fotherington-thomas - who was like a gurl!

Aug 22, 2006, 7:41am Top

Eny fule kno that. Hem hem.

I can't wait to introduce my little boy to St Custard's. I might wait until he's got the hang of spelling things correctly, though.

Aug 22, 2006, 7:57am Top


Thanks for that, it was indeed Fotherington-Thomas.

Aug 23, 2006, 8:39pm Top

I laughed out loud at Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann Ross. A couple of very funny YA novels are The Canning Season and The Vacation both by Polly Horvath..Great for adults as well.

Aug 25, 2006, 11:42pm Top

I too have fallen under the spell of The Angry Clam. I have it on my wish list and will search it out or order it on my next bookstore outing. Thanks

Aug 27, 2006, 2:07pm Top

I laughed my butt off while reading Big Trouble and Tricky Business by Dave Barry.

Aug 28, 2006, 3:59pm Top

Just about any time Dave Barry mentions dogs, such as his large economy size dog and the small emergency back-up dog, I pretty much lose it.

37amanaceerdh First Message
Aug 30, 2006, 11:37am Top

augusten burroughs will keep you laughing!

Aug 31, 2006, 5:12pm Top

The Lover's Dictionary : How to Be Amorous in Five Languages (make sure to get the original edition. Mine is newer with some ugly illustrations, leaving out some of the phrases).

39gforce7 First Message
Edited: Sep 1, 2006, 10:13am Top

Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole series, the first one probably being the best.

Also Damien Owens, John O'Farrell & Mil Millington's books.
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

Frank Skinner's autobiography is the funniest biog I've ever read (funnily enough - excuse pun - written by a comedian).

I also found parts of Angelas Ashes by Frank McCourt hilarious, but some people completely fail to see the humour in it (?!?!)

40geekparade First Message
Sep 1, 2006, 10:06am Top

The Mammy series by Brendan O'Carroll had me shooting Diet Coke out of my nose. It is about Agnes Browne, and how she raises her 7 children as a single mother in the Dublin ghetto in the 60's.

Here are the 4 titles in chronological order:

The Young Wan
The Mammy
The Chiselers
The Granny

Funniest things I've ever read.

Sep 1, 2006, 10:15am Top

Agreed geekparade, I forgot about those!!! Deffinately highly recommended.

42junecauliay First Message
Sep 2, 2006, 6:31am Top

I recently read a book called Killing Saantinni by Angelo Kafuna and my face ached with laughter from beginning to end. A recent review said that it is going to be the cult novel of the next thirty years and I agree that it has that potential. The mad-cap antics of Skydiver (the main character) and his (clearly un-hinged) mentor Saantinni are non-stop. It's hilarious.

Sep 2, 2006, 8:43am Top

PG Wodehouse. I'm reading the Jeeves books at the moment and laughing hysterically on public transport. I just finished Carry On, Jeeves and without exception laughed hard twice on each page. I like Joe Orton, too: he's filthy and has hilarious one-liners (all those Carry On movies as a child have had a deleterious effect on my sense of humour).

44ProdigalReader First Message
Sep 6, 2006, 4:31pm Top


Christopher Moore is one of my absolute favorites. Lust Lizard is good; I also like The Stupidest Angel and Lamb.

I am also a fan of Bill Bryson.

Sep 7, 2006, 9:54pm Top

I will second Big Trouble.

Also, P.J. O'Rourke's anything- but Eat the Rich stands out.

Sep 8, 2006, 8:04pm Top

Oh how could I forget Carl Hiaasen? Stormy Weather and Tourist Season made me howl. Great writer. Love Skink - what a character. Plus, Hiaasen was a buddy of Warren Zevon's so we know he had good musical taste. Even co-wrote some songs with ol' Warren.

Edited: Sep 13, 2006, 4:07am Top

I want to go home by Gordon Korman.

Children's / YA book - I've kept it for 2 decades and lent many times to various friends as a 'happy book'. Guaranteed to make them laugh out loud at some point when reading the book.

Well written, engaging, funny! and still keeps the empathy and childs point of view.

Edited: Sep 23, 2006, 9:28pm Top

Berkeley Breathed makes me laugh like no one else can... except for maybe the great Hunter S. Thompson. Curse of Lono has to be one of the funniest books I have ever read - the problem is that when I read Gonzo, I tend to laugh a bit too maniacally.

I second/third anything by Christopher Moore and John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces

49gman4626 First Message
Sep 23, 2006, 2:52pm Top

I Third!

Sep 28, 2006, 5:50pm Top

Anything by Cathie Pelletier, but especially The Funeral Makers. She captured small town life like no one else I've read.

Oct 2, 2006, 4:19pm Top

All time favourite would be P G Wodehouse, probably Psmith in the City.

Honourable mentions would go to Terry Pratchett, though I stopped buying his new ones a few years ago as I thought the quality was slipping, Jerome K Jerome, also Malcolm Pryce, author of Aberystwyth Mon Amour and The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Aberystwyth. There`s also one I`ve not read yet, Last Tango in Aberystwyth. Unbearable Lightness... , which I`ve read recently, is third in the series and suffers from that thing authors do, of adding in a `darker tone` to show they have depth or whatever. Writers are like celebrities, I don`t believe they have any depth for the most part. Robert Rankin is OK too.

Oct 3, 2006, 5:08pm Top

P.S. Have just started The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell. Excellent so far.

Oct 4, 2006, 4:17am Top

What no ones mentioned. Puckoon or Damon Runyon?

Oct 5, 2006, 11:27pm Top

Stiff by Mary Roach-- has to be the funniest non-fiction book I've read in a long time. I mean, I liked Al Franken's book last year (The Truth? was that it), but that's so political.

Stiff enriched my life in so many ways, not the least of which was the experience of sitting in a coffeeshop and having someone tap me on the shoulder to ask what I was reading, and the priceless look of discomfort he gave me when I showed him the cover and explained cheerfully "It's a book about dead bodies!"

Oct 6, 2006, 12:38pm Top

It appears that the humour I've enjoyed is of a somewhat dark/cynical nature.

A few that had me laughing out loud, in public, usually on the treadmill:

A.M. Homes, Music for Torching
Lisa Zeidner, Layover
Amy Herrick, The Happiness Code
David Lodge, Therapy
Don DeLillo, White Noise

One I hated & thought was very unfunny, though many have dubbed it hilarious was Running with Scissor by Augusten Burroughs.

Edited: Oct 14, 2006, 2:00am Top

My votes are for The Straight and Narrow Path by Honor Tracy.Have read it many times and it still makes me laugh out loud. Also,Flann O'Brien, The Poor Mouth and The Best of Myles.

Oct 14, 2006, 4:10am Top

I must admit I like Michael Moore, even if I do realize there are a lot of Americans here, and he seems to be a somewhat controversial person, over there ;)

He is like the funny little brother of Eric Schlosser, if you ask me.

An english writer with an ear for the funny in language is (forementioned) Douglas Adams, although I like the "Dirk Gentley"-books even more than the "Hitch hiker"-trilogy

C.S. Lewis Screwtape letters is some seriously funny satire.

But the funniest book I've read this year is actually The brick testament - The ten commandments, which is an hilariously funny idea, well executed and a cool way of telling sunday school stories.

Oct 16, 2006, 4:02am Top

A really funny book I read a couple of years ago was Horseplay by Judy Reene Singer. Obviously, it's about horses, so, if you're not at least interested in horses, you probably won't enjoy it. But, it was just really funny to me. The language and the situations that the lead character uses and gets herself into are hilarious, and the supporting characters just add to the mix. A light, enjoyable read for anyone interested.

Oct 16, 2006, 7:53pm Top

The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman, The Hitchhiker's Trilogy, Post Office by Charles Bukowski, and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

Oct 17, 2006, 4:03pm Top

The anthology Fierce Pajamas from New Yorker Magazine. I also have a vintage edition of humor from Esquire magazine.

As a novel goes, Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore was great, but it's been years.

Oct 24, 2006, 10:36pm Top

Just listened to the audio of The Devil in the Junior League by Linda Francis Lee and drove around town laughing...it is much lighter stuff than what I like to read but I needed it and it is pure fun.

Oct 25, 2006, 8:55am Top

My books-on-tape selections are always lighter fare than my reading books (though sometimes I'm surprised and end up with a good, complex one). I'm going to see if they have your suggestion at my library. Thanks, bettyjo.

Oct 25, 2006, 2:45pm Top

MaryJanice Davidson's Undead books crack me up. The first is Undead and Unwed.

Edited: Nov 5, 2006, 1:46am Top

So glad to read of The Angry Clam love earlier in the thread! As much as I love that book---indeed, ANY book where a bivalve converts to Islam---I still have to say that the funniest book I have read in years is In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot by Graham Roumieu. It had me in hysterics the first time I read it and it never ceases to have me rollin' whenever I re-read it. I've made sure to give it as a gift to all my close friends.

Pretty much tied with Bigfoot though is the entire oeuvre by David Rees. Get Your War On, Get Your War On II, My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable, and My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable. Who knew clip-art could be so useful, so vulgar. . .so unstoppable as it were?

I agree with those who gave props to Berkeley Breathed too. My humor fangurl crush on all things Bloom County date back to my teen years when the strip was active. Oh Opus, Bill the Cat, Steve Dallas, et al how I miss your freaky glory.

Nov 5, 2006, 5:16am Top

"ANY book where a bivalve converts to Islam"

You mean there are others ?

Nov 5, 2006, 7:40am Top

Christopher Moore books are really funny in a sick twisted way. I also enjoy Fannie Flagg books.

Edited: Nov 5, 2006, 11:43am Top

"ANY book where a bivalve converts to Islam"

You mean there are others ?

Well technically I suppose there could be others. Heh.

In retrospect I should have typed "as I would" instead of "indeed" however if anyone in the LT sphere does know of any other books where bivalves grapple with converting to Islam, Shinto, B'Hai or ANY other faiths then I think they should share this information in this public forum post-haste!

Nov 5, 2006, 8:33pm Top

Probably, Candide: 200 years later, nothing has changed-- the book is as accurate as ever.

Edited: Nov 8, 2006, 2:30pm Top

Christopher Moore, Wodehouse, Adams yes, yes. No one has mentioned Evelyn Waugh, who has got to be one of the funniest writers in the English language, ever! The Loved One, Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies, Scoop!
Also, what kind of Americans are we, no Twain, no Vonnegut? What's wrong with you people?

Nov 8, 2006, 2:38pm Top

Never Mind the Pollacks by Neal Pollack made me laugh out loud so many times. You have to be of a certain age, and it helps if you have read Lester Bangs, but if so, it's a scream!

The Neal Pollack Anthology is funny too.

Edited: Nov 8, 2006, 5:20pm Top

Also, what kind of Americans are we, no Twain, no Vonnegut? What's wrong with you people?

Well, actually littlegeek, not all of us are Americans. I am an Aussie.
Agree with you about Waugh.

72hollybelle88 First Message
Nov 8, 2006, 5:46pm Top

I just this past week discovered Wodehouse! I am working on my third book now. I have been listening to them on BCD and the reader is great. Also, just yesterday I discovered old TV series Jeeves and Wooster on VHS in our library. Jackpot!

Edited: Nov 9, 2006, 12:08am Top

Mark Twain, of course. Among his lesser known works, The Innocents Abroad is a very funny recounting of his first trip to Europe, on the first ever American package tour.

And among Evelyn Waugh's humor classics, don't miss Black Mischief, a mordant satire of emerging Africa.

74kristena First Message
Nov 9, 2006, 12:53am Top

Confederacy of Dunces made me laugh aloud in public many times. America, The Book: Teacher's Edition. Mark Twain's anti-imperialist works. Bob Black's work. Man in the Black Coat (anthology of absurdist lit from Russia).

Nov 14, 2006, 1:50pm Top

"Well, actually littlegeek, not all of us are Americans. I am an Aussie"

Sorry, I realise and love the fact that the internet is international. I was just trying to light a fire under my compatriots.

Speaking of funny books & Aussies, I love Peter Carey.

Edited: Nov 14, 2006, 5:22pm Top

littlegeek; yeah, he is a great writer. Another hilarious Aussie book is called Honk if you are Jesus by Peter Goldsworthy. Great stuff about cloning.

Didn't mean my comment to come out so shrill. Sorry about that. I agree that Vonnegut is one of the funniest writers around, but haven't really thought about Mark Twain that way. Must read more of his stuff. I am always coming across witty sayings by him.

Nov 14, 2006, 5:44pm Top

How has Catch-22 not been mentioned?

Funniest book I've read.

Nov 14, 2006, 8:26pm Top

I forgot The Wimbledon Poisoner by Nigel Williams and Cold Comfort Farm which both made me laugh out loud recently. Waugh is, of course, funny in a twisted way - the ending of Scoop is hilarious but so cruel, though nowhere near as vicious as Decline and Fall. I thought Bliss was Peter Carey's funniest novel, with Illywhacker close behind. All of these are quite 'dark' compared to the light-hearted humour of Wodehouse, which I have been enjoying recently.

Nov 15, 2006, 5:58am Top

I have never read any of Kurt Vonnegut's books. Is there one in particular anyone would recommend?


Nov 15, 2006, 1:51pm Top

Unless you are a fundamentalist Christian and are easily offended, I recommend Letters From the Earth as a very funny Twain book. Most of his works are hilarious if you ask me.

Nov 15, 2006, 1:53pm Top

Kathy, for Vonnegut I would recommend some of the earlier books like Cat's Cradle, Sirens of Titan, Slaughterhouse Five, Breakfast of Champions. The later books are more whiney and less funny, imho.

Nov 15, 2006, 3:49pm Top

littlegeek thanks!! I'll check the library for them. =)

Nov 15, 2006, 5:29pm Top

The three funniest books I've ever read:

Mating, by Norman Rush
Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis

Nov 15, 2006, 5:30pm Top

Hi littlegeek!!!!


Nov 17, 2006, 3:20pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Nov 17, 2006, 3:20pm Top

The best christmas pageant ever by Robinson had my mother laughing all evening. Odd, it made me cry. Still a great book, however you react to it.
I first came to wodehouse through Cocktail Time, which is an Uncle Fred story. Wodehouse's language is so great, and he can really build up the visual for a domino of pratfalls; witness the cold tongue collation episode in Something Fresh (also called Something New, depending on the pond effect).
I agree totally with Adams, Pratchett, and especially Sedaris. The work that made the Diet Pepsi come out my nose (much better than Diet Coke, although I prefer real Coke to real Pepsi - go figure) though, was The Frogs by Aristophanes. Yes, 2300 years later, it's still funny. Drove me to study Ancient Greek (as I've said elsewhere on LT) just to make sure it was all Aristophanes' wit.
And, what is truly amazing to me is that Patrick F. MacManus make me howl. I have absolutely no interest in fishing, hunting, or anything outdoors (if I were I'd be on FishinHuntinOutdoorsThing, wouldn't I?) yet his writing makes my husband get up from what he's doing, walk out on the porch or to the living room to see what the aitch-ee-double-hockeysticks is so funny.

87pepperman42 First Message
Nov 18, 2006, 3:14am Top

slapstick made me laugh til i cried

Nov 18, 2006, 5:49am Top

I always use the ladies room before I attempt to read James Herriot books, though I need tissues at hand also.
Never Sniff a Gift Fish, The Grasshopper Trap by Patrick McManus, several chapters remind me of my childhood on a ranch. I identify with family members coming to see if I'm O.K. while reading this.
Anything Can Happen, by George and Helen Waite Papashvily (the touchstones brought up the wrong info on this). A seriously funny account of an immigrants introduction to America. c.1940. Read this aloud to my DH and we both howled.

Nov 18, 2006, 3:12pm Top

I absolutely love all of the books by Douglas Adams. I also enjoyed Bridget Jones' Diary as well as its sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason - although nowhere near as much as Adams' books. Oh, and Garfield comics . . .

90DuckSoup First Message
Nov 18, 2006, 3:31pm Top

I am going to go with Hunter S Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Fast paced madness!

"Uncle Fred in the Springtime" by Wodehouse, is another good one;

as is, Vonnegut's "Cats Cradle."

Nov 18, 2006, 3:37pm Top

Y'all are far too high-brow for me! The funniest book I've EVER read was the hypochondriac's guide to life. And death. by Gene Weingarten, a friend, and former colleague of Dave Barry, another of my favorite writers. I had tears rolling down my face!

I also like Patrick McManus, Lewis Grizzard, James Thurber, and Mark Twain. Regarding comic strips, I'm a big fan of Pearls Before Swine.

Since The Angry Clam has been mentioned so many times, I'm hopping over to Amazon to check it out.

Nov 18, 2006, 7:04pm Top

I'm fairly new here, so apologies if I'm gate-crashing. Would agree with Lolita. Lots of people I know don't get the farcical nature of it at all. I think it's extremely witty and clever.
My favourite though, and the only book to make me laugh out loud page after page is Catch-22. You feel like yo're laughing because the only alternative is to go mad with the horror and futility of it, truly hilarious

Edited: Nov 26, 2006, 2:45am Top

I read Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson when I was living in the UK (I'm a Canadian), and certain parts of that book made me laugh until I wept. It captured certain aspects of life in England rather alarmingly well, I thought.

I also remember reading aloud selections of The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd (who sadly doesn't seem to merit his own touchstone) to coworkers in a certain biochemistry departmant, and they laughed until they wept, too. (Someone has rather unsportingly put the entire text of this book on the Web, less the illustrations, and you can read it at http://folk.uio.no/alied/TMoL.html.)

Anyway. Liff is a wonderful book in which Adams and Lloyd take dozens of funny-sounding place names - real ones, such as the eponymous "Liff" - and give each one a totally bogus, yet badly needed, definition. (And by the way, if anyone can propose one for the tiny village of Heanton Punchardon {don't sneeze, you'll miss it!}, I am taking nominations...)

P.S. Edited for bad use of square brackets!

P.P.S. Further edited to note that I just noticed something. Adams and Lloyd DID define Heanton Punchardon (n.) as "A violent argument which breaks out in the car on the way home from a party between a couple who have had to be polite to each other in company all evening."

Truly, these were masters.

94Jilly First Message
Nov 26, 2006, 2:54pm Top

I'll chime in with my praises for Christopher Moore....all his books have made me laugh out loud, especially Lamb. If you get a chance to see him at a book reading (or non-reading as he calls it) -- you simply must go! He's even funnier in person!

The funniest book I've read recently is by Jen Lancaster -- Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a condescending egomaniacal, self-centered smart-ass, or why you should never carry a Prada bag to the unemployment office.

Edited: Nov 29, 2006, 8:15am Top

Three recommendations. First, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. I've read it several times and it still makes me laugh out loud. Second, Southern Ladies and Gentlemen by Florence King. Folks, her descriptions of the archivist's encounters with members of the public are not exaggerated. Third is an essay by science fiction and fantasy writer Poul Anderson on how not to write fantasy. The title is "On Thud and Blunder". It appeared in a book called Fantasy and it's also been posted on line.

Nov 27, 2006, 10:28am Top

Bloodsucking Fiends by Moore made me laugh out loud. That, so far, is my favorite of his.

Nov 27, 2006, 11:56am Top

Oh good! I've only read Lamb by him so far and loved it so much that I decided I needed to read some more. And Bloodsucking Fiends was the one I picked up last week. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Nov 27, 2006, 10:29pm Top

Perfect timing...You Suck: A Love Story is coming out in January. It's a continuation of Bloodsucking Fiends. You'll definately enjoy it!

Nov 28, 2006, 12:11am Top

The last section of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." I laughed, I roared -- I LITERALLY rolled on the floor laughing. And it's a classic, too!

Nov 28, 2006, 3:23am Top

Just pulled my copy of Puckoon off the shelf

Nov 28, 2006, 4:06am Top

Calvin Trillin's Travels with Alice is a very funny collection of his travel essays. E.g., I had to laugh out loud at his description of "taurine piscine" in southern France: combines non-lethal bull fighting with an above-ground swimming pool.

102dawnmarie First Message
Dec 3, 2006, 10:37am Top

Without a doubt Roughing It by Mark Twain. No matter how blue I am I can always find something in there to make me laugh... usually to the point of tears.

Dec 3, 2006, 10:44am Top

My husband is reading Sirens of Titan and says I'm gonna have to read it. The only other Vonnegut I've read in recent years is Galapagos and it was grrreat.

Dec 7, 2006, 4:06am Top

Some classics. Catch 22 is my all-time favourite. I read it when things don't make sense. Cold Comfort Farm, The Diary of a Nobody, the Lucia books by E.F. Benson. Period pieces - laughing at class-consciousness.

Dec 7, 2006, 4:53pm Top

Last night I thought of a hilarious series - maybe not my favourites, but really funny. Stephen Potter's One-Upmanship, Gamesmanship and Lifemanship books. They are maybe the book equivalent of a 'mockumentary'. They are formatted and illustrated like instruction manuals or self-help books. Anybody else out there a (non-Harry) Potter fan?

Dec 7, 2006, 7:56pm Top

Off the top of my head, books that have made me laugh out loud:

Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots, and Leaves (I probably just botched the punctuation there) and Talk to the Hand;
Bill Bryson's I'm a Stranger Here Myself
and parts of Louis Cha's The Deer and the Cauldron

Dec 8, 2006, 4:54pm Top

There is a YA series (YOUNG YA) that is just drop dead funny .. it's called Soup by Robert Newton Peck. Actually it's alot like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. About a young boy who gets into all sorts of trouble. I remember reading these books to my daughters and laughing so hard I cried.

108djkmbro First Message
Dec 8, 2006, 7:16pm Top

Has anyone read the books of Donald Jack - the only title I can remember off the top of my head is That Me in the Middle.

There are 3 books about a Canadian in the First World War. The scene where he visits the house of his future wife and get trapped in a Victorian bath has had me ill with laughter more than any other passage of writing

109Marillion First Message
Dec 8, 2006, 7:19pm Top

Tom Holt and his brilliant pythonesque books: Expecting Someone Taller; Who's Afraid of Beowulf; Flying Dutch; and Odds and Gods are all very silly, memorable reads. Highly reccomended if you have a taste for irreverent British humor.

Edited: Dec 9, 2006, 12:27am Top

I have three Donald Jack books but I haven't read them yet. I'm going to bump them up my TBR pile! Thanks for the recommendation. :)

Edited: Dec 10, 2006, 12:49am Top

As a youth, neither I nor my brother could read Shovelnose and the Gator Grabbers aloud Robert Alter although we tried mightily.

Two swamp dwellers, humans, try to make a living, licit or illicit, and seem to always meet Shovelnose, who is always just trying to be a 'gator, and always just totally and utterly ruins whatever cockamamie plan Dad Peps and his dadburned fool of a son, Hughie, have cooked up. Dad Peps is somewhat like McManus' Rancid Crabtree and Canada's Red Green.

35 years later, reading to friends, I can read it better, but in a strangled voice, as holding one's breath has a limited effect on trying not to laugh.

Dec 10, 2006, 1:54am Top

Dec 11, 2006, 3:36pm Top

Songs in the Key of Z about outsider musicians. The writing is fifty times funnier than even the subjects!

114LittleRedBookKitten First Message
Dec 11, 2006, 4:43pm Top

Lighthouse by William Monahan. Obscene and offensive and laugh-out-loud funny.

Dec 13, 2006, 1:06pm Top

Huckleberry Finn is about as funny as it gets...Wodehouse, Thurber, Benchley, Carl Hiassen....

But my NUMBER ONE funniest book of all time...the one I've bought over and over again, is Westward Ha! by SJ Perlman. I wept.

Dec 14, 2006, 3:15am Top

Completely forgot Steinbeck's Cannery Row! (Hmmm... Huck Finn .. Soup .. Cannery Row .. I think I'm seeing a pattern here ...)

Dec 14, 2006, 8:21am Top

The funniest books I've ever read were undoubtedly the two "Be afraid honey, it's...FM4" books by Christoph Grissemann and Dirk Stermann. Unfortunately, they're only published in German and as far as I know they're hilarious.

Dec 15, 2006, 10:17am Top

Sounds like Ariel needs a sammich! :)

119victoriana First Message
Dec 15, 2006, 3:02pm Top

Wilt by Tom Sharpe - Warning - don't read on the bus,train or plane!

A Year in Provence- Peter Mayle - the book is good the audio cassettes/cds are brilliant.

Dec 15, 2006, 3:24pm Top

I remember reading The ThrowBack by Tom Sharpe decades ago and laughing myself sick. I got it from my local branch library in Manhattan. Phew! I'd like to find a copy of that now.

Dec 15, 2006, 4:50pm Top

nevusmom (#91) --

I bought The hypochondriac's guide to life. And death. by Gene Weingarten when my son was in law school and convinced he was dying of the most obscure ailments. In fact, his entire childhood was one of rampant hypochondria. The book made me lose all control of bodily functions. But now my son is in medical school and he never feels sick. Go figure.

Dec 16, 2006, 6:36am Top

Re: A Year in Provence

Y'know, for some reason I have the hardest time with these types of books. They just feel so self-serving. So you got to live in France. So you wrote your stories and made some money off of them. What, after all, make your stories better than anyone else's? I think they need to be pretty incredible to be worth reading, and I don't think Peter Mayle cut the mustard in this respect.

I have the same problem with blogs ... I guess I'd rather make/live my own adventures rather than read about some other guy's.

I did read this book, and it was quaint. But it was also the tipping point for me in developing this opinion. By the time I was done, I just kind of felt like ... "Who cares?"

Dec 16, 2006, 7:10am Top

>122 ariel4thou:

I know what you mean, but -- chances are I'm never gonna make it to Provence, or Tuscany either (Under the Tuscan Sun), so the best I can do is evesdrop on other folks' experiences there. It's better than reading a dry travel book...

Re: blogs, etc., I do agree that a lot of folks online have an overdeveloped sense of their own importance -- excepting of course those of us posting to *this* site! :))

Gosh, have we gotten off-topic or what.

Dec 17, 2006, 2:35am Top

Good Omens by Gaiman & Pratchett has to be the funniest book I've ever read. I laugh out loud evry time i read it (which is many many times)
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis is also very funny.
And of course anything by Douglas Adams, Christopher Moore, Christopher Buckley, Terry Pratchett, Vonnegut, and Jasper Fford.

Some one posted awile back about Stiff ... I agree it was laugh out loud funny and it was great to see people reactions to my laughing at a book about dead bodies while eating lunch : )

Dec 17, 2006, 6:18pm Top

Ciciha: Yes, I know what you mean about learning about other cultures through the stories. I think I'd prefer to read about the people there, then, rather than about "my experiences remodeling my home in Provence."

Okay, I hear you loud and clear about keeping in subject. I will stop now :o)

Dec 26, 2006, 12:47pm Top

116 - Cannery Row has always been one of my favs. I've read and re-read it and always find it to be hysterical! I find a lot of Steinbeck's works funny.

Edited: Apr 13, 2007, 7:58pm Top

You folks who liked "Three Men in a Boat" should find Diary of a Nobody and A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush pretty amusing as well. Other thoughts ...

Twain's Innocents Abroad was great. His observations on tourism are still applicable today.
Gerald Durrell's stories of his family are quite enjoyable.
I've never read her, but my mom and cousin just about wet themselves laughing at the mention of Laurie Notaro's name.
I liked Waugh's Scoop, but Decline and Fall was too grim for me.
The Miss Julia series can be funny, but kind of hit-n-miss after the initial premise wears off.
I strongly recommend reading Keenan's first two books ahead of My Lucky Star.
Though not exactly on topic here, those who like Adrian Mole - I gave up around the Cappucino Years - should try Townsend's essays in Public confessions of a middle-aged woman aged 55 3/4.

Dec 27, 2006, 2:25am Top

Fans of "Three Men in a Boat" should also look up Jerome's sequel (Three men on the Bummel) which is on Gutenberg.

Jan 1, 2007, 5:05pm Top

116 & 126:
Though I haven't read cannery row I am really surprised that you find Steinbeck funny. I have read a couple - Of Mice and Men, East of Eden, and Grapes of Wrath, and humourous doesn't spring to mind as an adjective. I guess I need to go back and have another look. It has been years ... decades, even.

Jan 1, 2007, 7:38pm Top

akenned5 -- well, if all authors' books were all the same, who would ever bother to read more than one?

Run ... do not walk ... to read Cannery Row. It is one of my lifetime top five. And it is drop dead hilarious. Just ask "I and the guys ..."

... rofl ....

Jan 2, 2007, 12:36pm Top

I forgot about Dave Barry Slept Here. I named a fictional actress I portrayed (long story) Holly Smoot after the Smoot-Hawley Tarriff just because of that book.

132valeriech1 First Message
Edited: Mar 13, 2007, 11:43pm Top

The funniest book I've read lately is Paula Poundstone's There's Nothing In Here That I Meant To Say...absolutely laugh out loud funny on each page, or your money back.


Edited: Mar 20, 2007, 9:45am Top

Paula Poundstone, Never mind the Pollacks, Songs in the key of Z (with CDs) on my wishlist now.

Thank you :-)

And I'd like to change my 'funniest book(s)' to the Calvin and Hobbes comics.

Edited: Mar 20, 2007, 10:50am Top

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Mar 20, 2007, 11:47am Top

#134: all that was necessary was for Christianity to accept the idea that Jesus was not God

Oh, is that all? ;)

Mar 20, 2007, 1:04pm Top

Hmm... in the unintentional comedy department, I don't think it gets much better than How to Good-Bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? Or Effective Way?.

Mar 20, 2007, 1:11pm Top


That just sounds like a way to hold it all in.


Mar 20, 2007, 2:42pm Top

Well, I was just thinking about thinning down the groups I'm in, due to time constraints, and this was one of the possibilities, but after the last four posts, how can I leave. Really, truly, LOL!

Apr 11, 2007, 4:47pm Top

I'm reading Lamb by Christopher Moore, and it's hilarious. Straight Man by Richard Russo. The Dortmunder books, and Smoke by Donald E. Westlake. Carl Hiaasen. Twain and Vonnegut. Candide

Apr 13, 2007, 4:07am Top

R.I.P., Kurt Vonnegut

Apr 13, 2007, 4:28pm Top

I am amazed by the number of people who loved Vonnegut. How many other authors would cause as many posts on these boards if they passed? I guess it shows how deeply touched people were by his novels. They were humorous, tragic, ironic, satirical, and moving all at the same time.

Apr 22, 2007, 12:03pm Top

I really enjoyed Lamb by Christopher Moore. Biff won my heart with his love and friendship of Josh. As I read it, I kept seeing it as a movie, but knew it could never be a movie without tremendous controversay, boycotting, etc. It's a wonderful book that made me laugh out loud and call friends to read sections to them. I reread parts of it over and over again.

Apr 23, 2007, 9:55am Top

I agree that P.G. Wodehouse is the funniest ever. His story Uncle Fred Flits By makes me laugh until I cry every single time.

Apr 26, 2007, 1:01am Top

#136 Now that really had me laughing out loud...

Apr 28, 2007, 2:14pm Top

Last summer I introduced my young nephew to Roald Dahl. It was fun to hear him laughing out loud as he read and when he finished, (like Oliver) insisting on more.

That weekend we went to the bookstore and bought several Dahl books for him.

146RCarbajal First Message
May 4, 2007, 7:57am Top

Homeland by Sam Lypsite-- made me laugh out loud more than any other book I can remember.

May 9, 2007, 7:51am Top

The funniest book I have ever read is:
3950 1066 and All That A Memorable History of England Comprising, All the Parts You Can Remember Including One Hundred and Three Good Things, Five Bad Kings, and Two Genuine Dates, by Walter Carruthers Sellar and Robert Julian Yeatman (read 31 Oct 2004)

May 20, 2007, 12:06pm Top

Here is my list of humor writeres I don't think get mentioned nearly enough in everyday conversation:

1. S.J. Perelman. This man dances the tango with the English language.

2. Woody Allen. Before his career in film took off, he published three excellent collections of humor.

3. Stephen Leacock. There is a mountain in Canda named after him. Show some respect by reading anything by him.

And that's all I can think of off of the top of my head.

May 20, 2007, 2:44pm Top

P.J.O'Rouke, Sedaris, Michael Moore because you know they are trying to make you laugh, Carl Hiaason & early G. Keillerbecause they tell funny stories. The late Art Buchwald because he was so good at spotting the ridiculous in the world of politics. My all time favorite -- Erma Bombeck who spoke to & for all the women & mothers of my generation.

150Ohioszo First Message
May 21, 2007, 11:40am Top

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May 21, 2007, 12:02pm Top

#148: I couldn't agree more about Perelman and Allen, so I'll take your recommendation and check out Leacock. Thanks!

May 23, 2007, 7:42pm Top

I've just been reading David Sedaris's Me Talk Pretty One Day and just loved it. The description of the language classes in Paris with the sadistic teacher had me snorting coffee through my nose (always a good sign!).

#150 I could not link to Ralph McInerny, but I will look for him at Amazon.
#136 - this has changed my life!

Edited: Jul 12, 2007, 5:15am Top

Ralph McInerny has a new book out, but, about his life ... I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You ... an FYI for akenned5.

Gilbert Keith Chesteron's Mysteries of Father Brown have a lot of Catholicism in them; he was a convert to the Faith. Besides these two, the other mystery authors that I have read, seem to be dependent on what PBS had introduced me to: Agatha Christie, John Mortimer, George Simenon. All humorous mystery writers. At least in two stories that I remember, Poirot decides not to tell the authorities who committed the murder!

Biographies, and real-life stories set in war-torn countries it seems, are of my favorites: The latest being Charles Osgood's Defending Baltimore ... where he reminisces upon his childhood.

Edited: Jul 31, 2007, 9:05am Top

Wow — I can hardly believe no-one's mentioned Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. It's not as coarse as some of his other books, and in fact has some pretty subtle humor. It's the funniest thing I've read in at least the last decade. The line that made me laugh loudest, longest, and hardest was something like, "It was suspiciously light."

Also quite good is Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. It's entirely 19th century snarkiness. For example:

Belladonna, n. In Italian, a beautiful woman; in English, a deadly poison: thus demonstrating the essential identity of the two languages. {or something like that.}

Oh, and Non Campus Mentis: World History According to College Students.

Edited to add last book.

Aug 1, 2007, 9:49am Top

I just finished Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (who know the end of the world could be so funny!

Aug 7, 2007, 11:45pm Top

I just finished Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde. Jasper Fforde is my favorite author. I am now reading Thud! by Terry Pratchett. I enjoyed Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, but Thud has been a disappointment. Can anyone recommened a funnier Terry Prachett book? Maybe I started with the wrong book.

Aug 10, 2007, 8:55pm Top

I recently read "Well Remembered Days - Eoin O'Ceallaigh's Memories of a Twentieth Century Catholic Life" by Arthur Matthews. This book is hilarious. If you have read any Frank McCourt books; then give yourself a break, and laugh your way through "Well Remembered Days".

Aug 10, 2007, 9:24pm Top

I always leave a couple of books on my shelf for light reading and laughter for stressful times.

Last weekend I read a Sophie Kinsella book called Shopaholic & Sister. It was a riot and perked me up.

I suggest that when you read her books that the voice you hear in your head has an English accent - works for me!

Aug 10, 2007, 9:53pm Top

Two very different books set me to laughing at different stages in my life.

Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, read while I was in junior high, showed me that classics could be fun.

More recently the nonfiction Gaborabilia by Anthony Turtu and Donald F. Reuter, which chronicles the antics of Zsa Zsa, Eva, and Magda Gabor, kept me happily occupied for hours. Just the quotes from Zsa Zsa would have been sufficient. For example:

"How many husbands have I had -- you mean apart from my own?"

"I wasn't born. I was ordered from room service."

The photos enliven the well chosen words in the narrative. Take time out from the heavy stuff some evening and try this one.

Aug 11, 2007, 6:46am Top

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Dec 17, 2007, 2:20am Top

I am new to this group, but I just had to chime in. i just finished Bill Bryson"s The Life and Times of the Thunderbold Kid and it's one of the funniest books I've ever read. Baby-boomers born in the late 40s or early 50s will especially enjoy it. The other book that ranks up there with "the funniest ever" is Marley and Me by John Grogan.

Dec 20, 2007, 5:31pm Top

I just finished American Shaolin by Matthew Polly, and it made me laugh out loud. This is an account of the author's experiences as a scrawny college kid who goes to Shaolin in the 1990s to learn martial arts. His experiences and insights are hilarious.

>Irobe190: I just saw the Bill Bryson book at the bookstore the other day, and now I will definitely pick it up.

Dec 20, 2007, 7:20pm Top

If we can consider plays too, then:
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard,
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, and The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh are all very funny.
Also, while it has some disturbing subject matter, I found Time's Arrow by Martin Amis quite funny; the narrator experiences another man's life backwards, but interprets it as if it were going forwards.
Also have to mention a classic comedy novel that hasn't come up yet, Henry Fielding's Tom Jones.

164lbucci3 First Message
Dec 25, 2007, 11:08pm Top

I don't know if it has been mentioned in here, but I didn't see it.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman. The authors bracketed comments just make this book hysterical for me.

Jan 23, 2008, 6:22am Top

Has anyone read My Friend GOD by Dave Berg? I think this one and Mort by T. Prachett are the funniest books I've read so far.

Jan 23, 2008, 6:30am Top

The three funniest books I can think of (all of which I couldn't read in public because of laughing till I cried):

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
The Best of Myles by Flann O'Brien
Coming from Behind by Howard Jacobson.

There's also Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse, and Peter Tinniswood's books about Carter Brandon I Didn't Know You Cared, Except You're a Bird and A Touch of Daniel

Edited: Dec 8, 2009, 11:02pm Top

I recently finished Bill Bryson's The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir, happily suffering through paroxysms of laughter as I joined him on a nostalgic journey through the '50s.

Jan 27, 2008, 2:24pm Top

Yes Man by Danny Wallace is hilarious and I love the bit where he sends his best friend a bouquet with a card reading "Fancy a pint." I'm not sure I believe all of what he did but it was funny anyway.

My family and other animals by Gerald Durrell is also very funny and my favourite part is the bit with the matchbox.

Any Just William book by Richmal Crompton has me crying with laughter.

Edited: Jan 27, 2008, 3:26pm Top

>148 coffeezombie: I'd certainly go with your three - I treasure my battered copy of Nonsense Novels. Woody Allen, I think, comes over better when he speaks - his story about the moose has me ROFLOL.

>166 joehutcheon: I'm really glad that someone came up with the Brandon family.

A name I haven't found here - rather to my surprise - is James Thurber. A bit out of fashion, I suppose, but I challenge anyone to read, say, The Night the Bed Fell without laughing.

(edited with an afterthought) - One more is The House of God by Samuel Shem. Medical doctors should love it - everybody else might get a bit nervous. ;-)

And after the many recommendations I must try Christopher Moore - never come across him!

Jan 27, 2008, 6:49pm Top

15 and 148: I agree about Woody Allen... Without Feathers, Side Effects, and Getting Even are amazing books (I have them all together on Complete Prose). I can help laughing out loud... one of the first things I do whenever I feel a bit depressed is read this book, I usually go back to "A Brief, Yet Helpful, Guide to Civil Disobedience", "The Whore of Mensa" and "My Apology". I just can't get enough of it.

Here you can find an excerpt: http://www.redpills.org/?p=256

Jan 28, 2008, 6:29pm Top

The Idiot Girl's Christmas by Lauri Notaro was hillarious. I haven't finished it yet, but Git-r-Done by Larry the Cable Guy is hillarious as well.

Feb 5, 2008, 10:47pm Top

Crazy Aunt Pearl's Drunk, Divorced and Covered with Cat Hair! (Laurie Beasley Perry is the author.) Yes, it's chick lit (which usually isn't my thing), but my girlfriend and I read parts of it to each other one night and howled!

A hilarious book with a compassionate heart.


Edited: Feb 14, 2008, 6:40pm Top

D. Adams? check, B. Bryson? check (I'm also a fan of his language work, The Mother Tongue and Made in America), Woody Allen? check, P.J. O'Rourke? check...here are a few others I found with laugh out loud moments...H.S. Tompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), anything by Molly Ivins, Fannie Flagg (esp. Standing in the Rainbow), the Growing Up Catholic series, and I haven't seen too many comic strip books mentioned, but if I want a laugh, I turn to any of the old Bloom County books and marvel how not much has changed...and how much has...and as a child I read and re-read Erma Bombeck's books over and over and over again.

Mar 9, 2008, 12:32am Top

The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan - it may have been that I was on Weight Watchers and calorie deprived at the time, but it had me giggling like an idiot. Bill Bryson is great; I'm reading I'm a Stranger Here Myself right now, but I think my favorite of his is Neither Here Nor There. I recently discovered (thanks to Nancy Pearl) Cold Comfort Farm, still very funny after so many years.

Mar 14, 2008, 3:59pm Top

Someone mentioned Lamb, it has to be not only one of the funniest books of all time, but one of the best.

Janet Evanovich is hilarious, I've enjoyed most of the books she's written.

Mar 16, 2008, 1:31pm Top

I have to agree Lamb was one of the funniest books I have ever read. Christopher Moore always makes me laugh but Lamb was his best.

Edited: Mar 17, 2008, 6:55pm Top

Hello, all...

I'm new to "library thing" and this is the first group I've joined. I hope I make a good first impression! As far as funny books go, I'm pretty new to them as well. So far, what tickles my funnybone...

Tied for first place are Terry Pratchett and Christopher Moore.
Second place would be P. G. Wodehouse.
Tied for third place are Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiassen.

I haven't noticed anybody mentioning George MacDonlad Fraser. He's famous for his Flashman series, but The Pyrates which is a stand-alone novel, is probably the first laugh-out-loud book I've ever read. It's hysterical!

Mar 21, 2008, 4:30pm Top

Okay, now don't flame me or anything, but... The books I have laughed the hardest at were:

The Jungle, because no one could possibly have THAT much bad luck. One chapter everything's going good, their getting married or getting a house, then the very next chapter (and for a few chapters after that,) they all get struck down with five fatal illness at the same time, get fired and lose the house. It's just too unrealistic not to laugh at.

Candide: Or Optimism by Voltaire for many of the same reasons. Whereas I don't believe Sinclair was aiming for a good chuckle, I think Voltaire was going for that. Candide is a satire, and one line that sticks out to me is when Candide discovers Cunegonde survived the ravaging, she tells him no one ever dies from disemboweling. And that's one thing that does make this book funny... the absolute absurdity that no matter what horror befalls our crew, no matter the physical torture, no one ever dies from any of it, and they retain their wonderful optimism, accepting everything as "The best of all possible worlds."

Tartuffe by Moliere... So utterly hilarious, I couldn't STOP laughing. Tartuffe is also a satire and a play.

Mar 21, 2008, 6:03pm Top

#120 Funny you should mention The Throwback I bought it used a couple of days ago as it had mysteriously gone missing from my Tom Sharpe collection.

It's one of the books that I go back to when I'm feeling a bit down. Opening the covers and reading about Lockhart Flawse's experiments in taxidermy and being so "neighbourly" is guaranteed to have me laughing 'til I get stomach ache.

Mar 27, 2008, 12:48am Top

A partial list of funny-to-the-point -of-gasping books

The Flying Inn by G. K. Chesterton
The Best of Myles by Myles na Gopaleen
A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Dave Barry
Tony Kornheiser Tony's column used to be in our daily paper. When he was dropped I wrote, begging them to get him back, but they didn't.
Erma Bombeck,

Mar 27, 2008, 11:00pm Top

As I read through these I have written down some titles that will now move to the top of my list - thanks! But for me - each summer I have to grab Gray Paulsen's Harris and Me. Perhaps it is because I spent summers on a farm but my sides literally ache when I read it and I still remember my 7 year-old-son reading passages out loud to my 70-year-old mother and me when it first came out. He is attacked by roosters when he visits the farm so he can relate but the electric fence - now that's just genius....

Edited: Apr 14, 2008, 7:54pm Top

Hidden gems: Shirley Jackson's two books about her family life, Life Among the Savages and "Raising Demons." The story of musical beds on a night when she, her husband, and her three kids were all sick is hilarious.

I see someone mentioned Catch-22, but no one mentioned Richard Hooker's M*A*S*H. I actually love one of the several sequels he wrote, M*A*S*H Goes to Maine. Those of you who are familiar with rural Maine, you know full well the comic potential here.

Edited: Apr 25, 2008, 6:27pm Top

Wow, what a lot of good tips. I will definitely look here next time I'm in need of a good read.

Any Mark Twain book will make me laugh out loud.

The funniest book I have read in the last few yeears has to be Life and Times of Tristram Shandy. Somehow, I had never read it befor in my 60+ years. Boy am I glad I finally got around to it - It is hysterical.

Apr 25, 2008, 9:43pm Top

I recently read Plum Lucky, by Janet Evanovich, and I have never laughed at any book in my life! After that, I picked up Plum Lovin' and mooched One for the Money... I hope the rest of the Stephanie Plum books are as funny as that one.

May 18, 2008, 4:30pm Top

# 179 Thanks for reminding me about The Throwback and mentioning finding a used copy. It gave me hope. I just went by Bookmooch and mooched myself one! I am sooo happy!

May 19, 2008, 10:38pm Top

Another vote for "A Confederacy of Dunces"

Edited: Jun 11, 2008, 1:46pm Top

I don't think I could pick a favorite, but my top fifteen list would definitely include Candide, A Confederacy of Dunces, Straight Man, Cold Comfort Farm and The World According to Garp and My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber, Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym, any of Wodehouse's Jeeves or Blandings Castle novels, Martha in Paris by Margery Sharp, any of Nancy Mitford's novels (Love in a Cold Climate, Don't Tell Alfred, etc.), Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham, Twain's The Diaries of Adam and Eve, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Pope's The Rape of the Lock, and The Mouse that Roared for those who remember the Cold War years.

And I just remembered a few other Satyricon by Petronius. The absolute funniest book that I've read in the past year has to be Cooking with Fernet Branca. If you're into gardening Radical Prunings by Bonnie Thomas Abbott is great fun.

Jun 12, 2008, 9:51am Top

Gotta be Portnoy's Complaint. And Catch-22 is a close second.

Jun 12, 2008, 12:20pm Top

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Jun 12, 2008, 12:30pm Top

Garrison Keillor's Wobegon Boy is hilarious.

Jun 21, 2008, 11:07pm Top

I don't see any mention of Charles Portis here...so I'll throw in a word for his The Dog of the South.

Jun 22, 2008, 1:07pm Top

Actually, I think they get better!

Edited: Jun 22, 2008, 1:24pm Top

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Jun 22, 2008, 3:58pm Top

I just came across one of my favorites, a bawdy retelling of the Arthurian tales, Rude Tales and Glorious by Nicholas Seare. It would make a great Mel Brooks movie.

Edited: Jun 23, 2008, 12:17pm Top

Any body remember the One Upmanship series? They were very funny. First in the series was called: One-Upmanship: Being Some Account of the Activities and Teachings of the Lifemanship Correspondence College of One-Upness and Games Lifemastery

Highly recommended

Jul 20, 2008, 12:45pm Top

Some of the "books that make me laugh the most" are terribly solemn and usually 'religious' and/or 'scientific.'
Charles Darwin, say, is a hoot, and as for the Book of Deuteronomy...it has me in stitches.
And do them economist fellas, and politico pundits believe a quarter of anything they tell us? Sheesh!
Maybe I'm a manic-depressive, or bi-polar, because I have to confess, these very same experts and geniuses reduce me to tears of the other sort as well. So half the time, I'm clutching my sides for dear life, and next thing you know I'm suicidal.
Dese books should carry a health warning!

On a more serious note, I've been giving some thought to "Personal favourites, guilty pleasures, obvious classics" and I'm much obliged to "coffeezombie" (as indeed the rest of ye are) for breaching the subject.

The last shall be first, here at least, and I start with a few titles that are obvious classics to me.
Don Quixote
Tristram Shandy
The Third Policeman
Virtually anything by Gogol, Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, Rabelais, Kierkegaard

"Guilty pleasures" might be The Match Trick or The Pleasure of My Company or The Goon Show Scripts
Dorothy Parker
Mikhail Zoschenko
Henri Michaux
Raymond Queneau

As for personal favourites, it's good to see that some of them have already been mentioned;
Woody Allen
Daniil Kharms
Oscar Wilde
but speaking for myself, as it were, I'd also want to put a word in for James Stephens, Alfred Jarry, Serna de la Gomez
and umpteen yiddisher humorists,(too many to list --see my reviews)

A thousand thanks to all of you for your enticing suggestions.

Jul 21, 2008, 7:59am Top

bridget jones' diary
the shopaholic series by sophie kinsella
all of the books by david sedaris and Augusten Burroughs

Jul 28, 2008, 8:04am Top

How about Ball Four?

Edited: Jul 29, 2008, 11:29am Top

Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (Just the part of the narration that's in Bartimaeus's voice)

Aug 12, 2008, 4:53pm Top

By far the funniest book I have ever read is I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson. I literally laughed so hard that I cried through several chapters.

Aug 12, 2008, 5:15pm Top

I love anything by Bill Bryson. Richard Russo's Straight Man is hysterical, especially the scene in which a harried interim chair of the college English Department grabs a bothersome goose by the neck and says in front of a local news TV camera that the goose 'will get it' if his department takes any more budget cuts. I also remember a scene in a Janet Evanovich book in which a nutty dog who eats anything, but has recently swallowed an entire bottle of milk of magnesia, is kidnapped and driven away by the bad guys, only to have the car squeal to a stop and the bad guys fall out of the car because the medicine suddenly had taken effect.

Edited: Aug 13, 2008, 6:35am Top

well im going to have to say The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy like everyone else has. also Why do Men have Nipples? and Why do men Fall Asleep after Sex?

Aug 21, 2008, 12:23am Top

> 111 raptorrunner's description struck me, and all I can say is, that is one hard-to-find book:

As a youth, neither I nor my brother could read Shovelnose and the Gator Grabbers aloud by Robert Edmond Alter although we tried mightily.

I looked on Amazon, ABE, Alibris and ebay, the library and LibraryThing. No one has a copy.


Aug 26, 2008, 11:51pm Top

Love Tom Sharpe esp Riotous asembly, Indescent exposure and the Wilt series. I recently fell in love with the very goofy (perhaps YA) and outrageous but deliciously funny Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne. I also howl w laughter over Woodehouse, Hiaasen (some books more than others), and much of Sedaris. Im looking forward to reading some of the suggestions in here too!

Aug 28, 2008, 11:04pm Top

You've got to read "McCarthy's Bar" (by Pete McCarthy). An Englishman having oddball encounters with the locals while travelling in Ireland to try to discover his roots. May result in gasping for breath and emitting "micro-wees" into your undies on public transport.
Also - I'm an humour author, so you can critique my comedy/crime novel at www.curlygibson.com

Edited: Feb 8, 2009, 5:25pm Top

Of course these have been said but Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams rock my socks off...

If you've never read any of the Letters from a Nut
books by Ted L. Nancy, you should really check them out.

Aug 31, 2008, 12:35pm Top

I honestly never tried a really good funny book. I'd love suggestions though.

I'm the kind of person that likes dry sarcastic jokes, any ideas?

Aug 31, 2008, 1:26pm Top

I don't know about jokes as such, but P J O'Rourke's tone is pretty sarcastic.

Aug 31, 2008, 4:22pm Top

For me Wodehouse is the apprentice but Bramah is the sorcerer. What he does with words has been making me gasp since I was eight, and these days I save him up specially for when I'm ill. He can, for example, take 'She was one hot chick' and turn it into:

“After secretly observing the unstudied grace of her movements, the most celebrated picture-maker of the province burned the implements of his craft, and began life anew as a trainer of performing elephants.” (from Kai Lung's Golden Hours)

Sep 2, 2008, 3:36pm Top

Chris, yeah? Thanks... I'll look it up :)

Sep 3, 2008, 4:33am Top

Evelyn Waugh is just the ticket for dry, sarcastic humor. I'd suggest starting with Black Mischief and Scoop. Then, any of other his novels that feature Basil Seal as (anti-) hero are great.

Sep 3, 2008, 8:57am Top

I think that several of Dave Berry's book and the "Straight Dope" series (trivia) by Cecil Adams are pretty funny, but I think that the funniest novel I've read is Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding. It is funny, witty, and still has boatloads of humanity.

Sep 3, 2008, 9:57am Top

Waiting for Godot was pretty funny, too.

Sep 15, 2008, 12:12pm Top

I meant some time ago to put in my two cents for David Foster Wallace's The Broom of the System on this thread. I got my reminder, I guess. It's one of the funniest books I've ever read--every time I read it my face hurts from smiling and laughing so much. I hear Infinite Jest is funny as well, but I haven't had the guts to tackle it yet.

Edited: Sep 28, 2008, 10:11pm Top

Agree that Confederacy of Dunces (especially funny) and Sue Townsend's Diaries of Adrian Mole can make you laugh.

Another book that is almost as laugh-out-loud funny as Confederacy of Dunces is Mike Nelson's Death Rat. Adding to the Brit humor list, Decline and Fall and Sue Townsend's Number 10 are also very good. I also remember Nabokov's Pnin, and Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis as being humorous. And, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.

A couple of older books that are still very funny are The Plague and I by Betty MacDonald and Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Skinner and Kimbrough.

Oct 15, 2008, 8:25pm Top

Along with anything written by Christopher Moore, I have to mention that the Pirates! series from Gideon Defoe cannot fail to deliver laughs. I think my favorite so far is The Pirates! In an Adventure with Communists.

Oct 16, 2008, 8:13am Top

I have to add Stiff by Mary Roach. She has a way with her humor that is not degrading for such a serious subject and she also makes serious subjects very readable. I laughed outloud a lot.

Oct 16, 2008, 12:14pm Top

Read it a very long time ago but the Snapper by Roddy Doyle made me laugh out loud. Also entirely different type of humour but Without Feathers by Woody Allen.

Feb 5, 2009, 10:30am Top

Wow, both of those guys are my favorites, but I liked Good Behavior best.

Feb 17, 2009, 4:25pm Top

I loved the book it was great!!! SO funny book!! I hope u all read it very well. i read it for a book report!!!

Feb 18, 2009, 1:32pm Top

If the Sun Doesn't Kill You, the Washing Machine Will (Paperback)
by Peter Wood (Author)

Feb 19, 2009, 11:08am Top

That so goes on my wishlist because of the name alone!

Edited: Feb 21, 2009, 1:59am Top

PG Wodehouse, who I think of as the great-great-great grandfather of the sitcom, esp. Frasier. (Who is more Woosterian: Niles or Frasier? Discuss....)

Dave Barry: psychotropic frogs and dogs with Elizabeth Dole faces!!!!

Charles Portis: Dog of the South and Norwood....Reo Symes? OMG!
I've read DOTS at least 6 times and I still laugh out loud......alone.....in the privacy of my own home......

Something really obscure: My Brother Was an Only Child by Jack Douglas, a 1950's comedy writer; it includes a letter home from a child at camp:
"I was bite be a rottlesnake" and "my coonselor is a fagg, can I be one too?"

For satirical and humorous nomenclature: you can't beatCarl Hiaasen or Charles Dickens

Twain, including "The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" Apparently, in humor writing, you can't go wrong with frogs or dogs......

David Sedaris: Entire ouvre; favorite line: "Snowball just leads elves on....

Feb 20, 2009, 5:04pm Top

I just finished Right Ho, Jeeves. Wodehouse was obiously a master.

Mark Twain could crack you up over cats too ("Tom Quartz") and birds ("What stumped the Blue Jays"), elephants, horses and even tumble-bugs. And don't forget the gratuitous violence ("A Day at Niagara", "The Story of the Good Little Boy", "The Story of the Bad Little Boy", "Journalism in Tennessee"). But the all time best is his masterpiece of relationships ("The Diary of Adam and Eve").

As for David Sedaris, I barely chuckle. He's supposed to be terrific on audio. I'll try.

Edited: Feb 20, 2009, 5:20pm Top

Any book by Robert Benchley will do me fine, but I'll point to Love Conquers All since it's on Project Gutenberg, and since this is LibraryThing, this seems like an appropriate section:


I particularly liked

"(I really don't say all those clever things to the clerk. It took me quite a while to think them up. What I really say is, timidly, "Haven't you any bookcases without glass doors?" and when they say "No," I thank them and walk into the nearest dining-room table.)"

Edited: Feb 21, 2009, 2:00am Top


May I suggest you try the first one, "Holidays on Ice" based on his real-life job as a clerk at Macy's?

Feb 21, 2009, 3:30pm Top

Thanks PRH, I'll check it out!

Feb 28, 2009, 4:13pm Top

A Christmas Story (movie) gets me every time!

Mar 9, 2009, 1:00am Top

Have you read his In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters? Pretty funny stuff; Jean Shepherd would sort of be like the love child produced from a triangle involving Mark Twain , James Thurber and Garrison Keillor. I think he's underread and underrated. Perhaps because he wasn't prolific in print......

Mar 9, 2009, 9:01am Top

Books that make/made me LOL:

Bridget Jones' Diary
Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast
I Was A Teenage Katimavictim
The "Great Brain" books -- I've been picking these up for my kids!
The Twits

Mar 9, 2009, 10:43pm Top

I would have to say The Journal of Mortifying Moments is my all-time fav. I find the self-deprecating and embarrassing personal experiences in novels to be absolutely hilarious...yet at the same time, I hope to everything that I never experience anything remotely similar.

Mar 10, 2009, 1:19pm Top

I'm a sucker for almost anything by Bryson, Sedaris and Wodehouse. I'm working my way through Disquiet Please, a compilation of humor pieces from the New Yorker. One overlooked classic is God Knows by Joseph Heller -- picture the biblical story of David retold by Mel Brooks.

Mar 11, 2009, 1:19am Top

Have to include the columnists Maureen Dowd, Molly Ivins, Calvin Trillin

Mar 11, 2009, 8:03am Top

It's a triple tie between Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and Yes Man by Danny Wallace. Though Yes Man is at the lead, purely because I've read it most recently. It's the type of laughter that makes you cringe... God, did he really do that? I'm glad he did, though, because I got a laugh out of it!

Edited: Mar 15, 2009, 6:37pm Top

Mar 12, 2009, 5:53pm Top

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Mar 13, 2009, 8:15pm Top

Class, Jilly Cooper - analysis of British class system written 25 years ago and so a bit dated but still works.

The Inimitable Jeeves - Wodehouse writes so much. They are all good but some are better than others.

Henry Root letters

Dilbert - Fab

Apr 3, 2009, 12:34am Top

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Apr 10, 2009, 12:07pm Top

Agree, P G Wodehouse - especially 'Comrade Bingo', and the one with the hot water bottle-bursting scam.

Also Kingsley Amis, 'Lucky Jim', and Tibor Fischer, 'The thought Gang'.

Apr 16, 2009, 10:09pm Top

I read Chuck Klosterman's book Sex, Drugs and Coco Puffs, and thought it was hilarious. If you like the funny and yet poignant essay writing styles of David Sedaris and Augsten Burroughs, I think you would like (and laugh) by reading this book.

Edited: Apr 17, 2009, 3:38pm Top

Portnoy's Complaint by Phillip Roth and Čudovište by Davor Slamnig, the title means literally Monster. Out of classics Adventures of Good Soldier Svejk During the Big War by Jaroslav Hasek. I do not know the exact title in English.

I can't believe what books are put under the title Funniest Books You Have Read. Am I twisted?

Apr 17, 2009, 6:27pm Top

Books that made me laugh:
-Giraffes? Giraffes! by Doris Haggis-on-Whey
-Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
-anything by David Sedaris, although Me Talk Pretty One Day and Naked are my favorites
-Apathy and Other Small Victories by Paul Neilan
-Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
-Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
-The World According to Garp by John Irving
-A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Also have to agree with those who said Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Apr 26, 2009, 6:50am Top

I don't think anybody mentioned Bridge of Birds, I found it pretty funny quite often.

Anyway, thanks to everybody, my wishlist has swollen remarkably after reading this thread.

Apr 26, 2009, 6:57am Top

Anything by PG Wodehouse has me in stitches, and though not side-splittingly fall-on-the-floor funny, the deep satire and wit in Saki's short stories never fail either.

The loudest laugh I ever gave in public (blush) was while reading The Cat Who Came In From The Cold by Deric Longden.

Apr 26, 2009, 3:02pm Top

Carter Finally Gets it by Brent Crawford had me laughing out loud. The thrill of a 14 year old's travel through puberty.

Apr 26, 2009, 10:22pm Top

David Sedaris's prose and reading makes me snort stupidly with laughter. Some of Bill Bryson's travel books have also brought me to the edge of hysteria, again particularly when he reads his work on audio. Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis made me laugh out so loud once while I was on a commuter train the people around me couldn't stop staring.

Apr 27, 2009, 5:54am Top

"Some of Bill Bryson's travel books have also brought me to the edge of hysteria"

Yes! So true..

May 6, 2009, 4:00pm Top

Yes, loving Bill Bryson too. Also, anything by Tony Hawks or Dave Gorman sets me giggling.

May 25, 2009, 8:18pm Top

Just discovered this laugh-out-loud gem: Welcome to the Company by Eileen McVety. Hilarious spoof of working in an office. Painfully familiar material!

May 26, 2009, 6:53am Top

> 250

Inspired by "The Office" you think? Or does it precede it?

Jun 29, 2009, 4:25pm Top

The funniest books I ever read were definitely:
Confederacy of Dunces and Wilt.
Totally hilarious.
Catch-22 must be mentioned as well.

Jul 15, 2009, 10:03am Top

Hmm, I'd say, The Zen of Farting, REAL Ultimate Power, I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, and Semen Natural Harvest - A Collection of Semen-Based Recipes, but definitely not in that order.

Jul 15, 2009, 3:25pm Top

Lots of good suggestions so far.

Thurber's My Life and Hard Times is a favorite. And how about Merrill Markoe's What the Dogs Have Taught Me?

Also almost split a seam over a chapter in Skipping Towards Gomorrah. (It was male-anatomy-related humor, so maybe it's more funny to a woman? Most men I've told it to, just sort of cup the area in question and look pensive.)


Jul 15, 2009, 3:47pm Top

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Jul 19, 2009, 2:11am Top

Glad to see another Jean Shepherd fan on here. He was sooooo funny and gets so few props.....

Jul 22, 2009, 7:24am Top

I hope I am not repeating myself, but the most uproarious book I ever read was:

1066 and All That A Memorable History of England Comprising, All the Parts You Can Remember Including One Hundred and Three Good Things, Five Bad Kings, and Two Genuine Dates, by Walter Carruthers Sellar and Robert Julian Yeatman (read 31 Oct 2004)

I laughed out loud at every page...

Jul 22, 2009, 8:07am Top


Yes, a very funny book. Whatever you do, don't confuse it with a post-modern skit on it called 1966 and All That - a very unfunny, draggy, fourth-form kind of book. Avoid it like the plague.

Edited: Jul 24, 2009, 3:47pm Top

In the middle of Something missing by Matthew Dicks (http://www.librarything.com/profile/MatthewDicks). Not the laugh out loud kind of funny, but very amusing (until now).

Aug 1, 2009, 11:20pm Top

I quite enjoyed:

-The Bear went over the Mountain by William Kotzwinkle
-anything by David Sedaris, although Holidays on Ice is my favorite
-A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
-A Dirty Job by Moore (I haven't read Lamb yet, but it sounds like I'd better)
-Bitter is the new black by Jen Lancaster

This is a great group, thanks for the good suggestions.

Aug 14, 2009, 10:03am Top

It's already been mentioned, but Confederacy of Dunces illicites laughter from me just thinking about it! My boyfriend just finished it the other day and he was often chuckling to himself as he read it.

Aug 14, 2009, 12:15pm Top

262>The fancy private college near me is doing a staged reading of Confederacy of Dunces this spring. I plan to go just because I can't believe they're even going to attempt it!

Aug 24, 2009, 7:52pm Top

I highly recommend Free-Range Chickens. It's hilarious!
PS I agree with neekeebee (106) those are great books, too!

Aug 27, 2009, 11:05pm Top

Has anybody mentioned The Fencepost Chronicles by W.P. Kinsella? How about Saki? FUNNY!

Aug 28, 2009, 12:57pm Top

#263 thanks for that link. Dunces is one of my all-time favorites. I'll have to consider driving up for that one.

Currently reading Handling Sin, which someone mentioned above. He does a great job of settiing up coincidences that combine to hilarious effect.

Someone mentioned Three Men in a Boat. Don't miss Connie Willis's follow-up, To Say Nothing of the Dog.

Agree on many of the others. I remember when everyone was reading Garp in 1979 or so. At one of my staff meetings, a guy slammed down his calendar and said, "Three fourths is not enough!" and almost everyone burst out laughing.

Aug 28, 2009, 1:04pm Top

#265: Oh yes, Saki! Every time I read "The Stampeding of Lady Bastable" I giggle uncontrollably.

Aug 31, 2009, 11:06am Top

I think Saki is brilliant! Exceeds Oscar Wilde for wit, in my opinion. I'd nominate a story but which one? they are all so good. Perhaps "Tobermory" ...

Nov 7, 2009, 6:04pm Top

Saki is pure comic genius.

Dec 8, 2009, 4:45pm Top

Did anyone mention Tim Cahill? His earlier books are great, especially the story about climbing the rope up El Capitan, and the one about going down in caves with snakes.

Donald Jacks' Bandy Chronocles are also very funny - very Canadian.

Also, Dave Duncan write fantasies with a lot of humour in them. My favourite is The Reaver Road.

Gerald Durrell and James Herriott are great too.

I'll add David Niven's The Moon's a Balloon and Bring on the Empty Horses autobiographies
and Ron Luciano's baseball stories.

Jul 26, 2010, 12:22pm Top

Arnie the Donut is great!

Jul 26, 2010, 12:22pm Top

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Edited: Jul 26, 2010, 11:31pm Top

I'm going to say, strangely, that the books that made me laugh were also quite disturbing in nature. During chapters of nothing but Patrick Bateman's review on music in American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, I was almost crying tears of laughter.

And in-between all the depth, pop culture references, scares, thrills and disgusting violence in C. W. Schultz's Yeval; Schultz still found a way to make me crack up. Yeval = brilliant!

Jul 29, 2010, 3:45am Top

I enjoy almost everything by Wodehouse but probably enjoy those featuring Jeeves and Bertie the best, with the Blandings crew a close second. And Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome is wonderful - and so is Three Men on the Bummel, but only in parts. The Grossmiths' Diary of a Nobody is another sidesplittingly funny book.

Of more recent vintage we have Stephen Potter with his One-Upmanship books, a must-read, but possibly my favourite is Michael Green; his Art of Coarse Acting and Art of Coarse Rugby are indescribably hilarious, and no-one can touch Tom Sharpe at his best - as evidenced in The Throwback and Blott on the Landscape.

Alan Coren is a brilliant essayist and I am always on the lookout for collections of his work - the first one I read was Golfing for Cats, British humour at its best. I think he wrote for Punch back in its heyday. The Henry Root Letters books are also very funny - a clever idea, much copied.

When it comes to plays, Aristophanes is funny, and so is so is some of Shakespeare, although neither of them touch She Stoops to conquer by Oliver Goldsmith. Of more recent vintage, Oscar Wilde - The Importance of Being Earnest - and Noel Coward - Blithe Spirit - are keepers.

I like some of James Thurber and Dave Barry but am not generally keen on American humour: I love Donald Jack - the first few bandy books are sublime - but he's a Canadian.

South Africans are making huge strides in humour, especially columnists, and writers to look out for are David Bullard, Daryl Bristow-Bovey, Barry Ronge and Ben Trovato.

Aug 15, 2010, 5:16pm Top

I'm not even halfway through Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, but I think it (and he) are going to earn a spot on this list. I liked his Absurdistan, but this is even better. Unless you're a Fox news devotee.

Edited: Aug 15, 2010, 9:59pm Top

A good humorous book is a good laugh sitting on the book shelf for me anytime I feel the need. I agree with the fans of Jeeves. I should add one to my tbr.
I am also intrigued by the recommendation for Flannery O'Connor's stories. I have them and I've never tried them. Thank you for the recommendation.
My top of the list:
American Wits: An Anthology of Light Verse Dorothy Parker et al.
1601 by Mark Twain This is a short piece and is in the better anthologies. It is about a bunch of folks visiting Queen Elizabeth and somebody cuts a wicked fart.
National Lampoon: Another Dirty Book Some may find this offensive but most of it is really funny.
Being There No Peter Sellers but it is funny.
The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight by Jimmy Breslin. They take a lion along when they go to collect protection money.
The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody The funny side of history.
Explainers: The Complete Village Voice Strips, 1956-1966 by Jules Feiffer I was about ten when I first read his stuff. He has a Woody Allen sense of humor.

Feb 17, 2011, 3:23pm Top

Aside form the ones I have seen here, which are the cream. I laughed often at The Blond Bombshell, and The Flying Dutchman by Tom Holt, and Tepper Isn't Going Out by Calvin Trillin.

Mar 24, 2011, 12:15pm Top

Anything by Christopher Moore
Anything by Joe Keenan
Anything by Tom Sharpe

Also Bill Fitzhugh, Tim Dorsey, Carl Hiaasen

Jun 7, 2011, 2:59pm Top

I think John Corey is hilarious, in the books by Nelson DeMille. Not at all PC, but very funny dialogue.

I laughed at the Spellman books by Lisa Lutz.

Bill Bryson and David Sedaris are very funny. Lucky Jim was hysterical.

Jun 7, 2011, 3:01pm Top

And, Curious Incident of the Dog int he Night by Mark Haddon. Very poignant, and funny.

Jun 7, 2011, 3:19pm Top

Recently, it would have to be the brilliant My Booky Wook by Russell Brand, and moreso, it's sequel, Booky Wook 2. Don't dismiss him because he's bawdy! He's a brilliant writer.

Aug 2, 2011, 7:40am Top

Anything by Bill Bryson, I love the true to life little touches and sardonic humour.

Edited: Aug 7, 2011, 10:30am Top

I have that same Jules Feiffer book on my shelf, wildbill!--swiped it from my dad after I first read it as a child. I also read Passionella back then, even though I didn't understand a whole lot of it.

Aug 26, 2011, 5:14am Top

My personal favourite is

Znaczy Kapitan by Karol Olgierd Borchardt

most probably being issued only in Polish though..

Aug 26, 2011, 6:27am Top

The Second Coming and Kill Your Friends, both by John Niven and Callisto by Torsten Krol. (Your sense of humour does need to be a little black though.)

May 25, 2012, 8:45am Top

The edible woman author Margaret Atwood - if you like absurd observations, that makes one giggle

Edited: May 27, 2012, 12:35pm Top

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Mine lol!! Malice in Blunderland. Reeeeeeeeevewicus: http://jonnygibbings.wordpress.com/what-they-are-saying-about-malice/

May 28, 2012, 2:18pm Top

I'd have to say, for pure laughs, Apathy and Other Small Victories by Paul Neilan is a brilliant book. It's one of those a bit flimsy but better for it. Very Funny. Agree with Booksloth Kill Your Friends is a brilliant back humour read.

May 29, 2012, 4:30am Top

#288 Thanks Jonny, I was beginning to think I was the only person who'd ever read it. Have you also tried The Second Coming by the same author? If not, I highly recommend it.

May 29, 2012, 11:27am Top

No, I have it. Though a mate is reading it at the moment. I loved Kill your friends, so dark & sharp. I can't read anything at the moment. and it's killing me, have a week off in a few days too! Meant to be better than 'Kill' You love it?

Edited: Sep 11, 2012, 1:46am Top

Sep 11, 2012, 12:43pm Top

May I nominate Fifty Shades of Grey? For purely unintentional humour, of course, unless the author is playing a subtle game that involves laughing all the way to the bank...

Sep 11, 2012, 2:43pm Top

>262 reviewsbylola:
Think of all the author's who sweat to produce a novel of worth......they toil over the words, the plot, their characters and probably sell a couple hundred books...if that.
Then along comes Fify Shades of Grey....pitiful !!!! just plain pitiful.

Aug 19, 2014, 10:54am Top

Ivy Compton-Burnett's MEN AND WIVES is wickedly funny.

Nov 10, 2014, 6:49am Top

Better Than Life - Grant Naylor. It covers the early part of the Red Dwarf TV series... hilarious.

Edited: Nov 14, 2014, 1:21pm Top

This is an old thread and a long one, so I didn't read the posts, but for what it's worth, here are some ideas off the top of my head for work that made me laugh.

For the most part I find writers lack humor. It's tough to be funny in prose. Fiction writers that have made me laugh include Walker Percy, Saul Bellow, and Fred Chappell. Also some funny things in Mark Twain.

I like the essay collections of Steve Martin, and his wonderful memoir, but not his fiction, which attempts to be profound without delivering. Joseph Epstein, my favorite essayist and man of letters, also happens to have a sense of humor. Good thing—he taught English at Northwestern. Many years ago I loved The Complete Prose of Woody Allen, like the story about the chess match by mail that goes awry. Hilarious. There are a few places in Salinger's work that made me laugh.

I remember enjoying slim volumes of Davd Letterman's Top Ten Lists and Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts. I have a few volumes of Calvin and Hobbes. I like the Car Talk column by the Magliozzi brothers (one of them recently deceased) and Dan Arielly's columns in the weekend Wall Street Journal. I'm hoping he will one day write a book. Why not? Everyone else does.

That's about it. Many books try to be funny and are not. I look at the humor lists at Amazon and am not too impressed. I turn on TV and movies. Ugh. Lots of sex jokes, not much else. I was making jokes like that when I was 13.

Group: Humor

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