Best Current Comic/Satire Writers?
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All of my favorite comic writers seem to be in the grave or on their way. Give me some fresh names to start reading.
For a sharp eye on the Washington scene, in fiction, I read Christopher Buckley. My favorites are Little Green Men, Thank you for smoking, and No way to treat a First Lady. His ideas are non-pareil, even if some of the executions peter out a bit. I also like Ranting Again by Dennis Miller and his other Rant material, mostly in audiobook form. Yeah, okay, I don't always agree with him, in fact I rarely agree with him, but that's just his opinion, he might be wrong.
MrKris is quite right. The Simpsons' writers are doing by far the best political and social satire of any widely seen or read material currently.
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Which genre? In SF/Fantasy humour there's Tom Holt, Robert Rankin, Jasper Fforde, Terry Pratchett ...
"In SF/Fantasy humour there's Tom Holt, Robert Rankin, Jasper Fforde, Terry Pratchett ..."
Not to mention Simon Haynes. If you don't mind that goofy Australian spelling ;-)
And that JC Hines character, as long as you don't mind goblins ;-)
If you haven't read them, Dave Barry's fictional novels were both really good (Big Trouble, Tricky Business) and I would suggest them if you haven't read them. There's also a sharp contrast between the books because Dave Barry slowly learns the tricks to "plot" as he goes. Also, if you haven't seen it, there is a big screen version of Big Trouble with Tim Allen and others that manages to get some of the book's humor in. The reason most people have never heard of the film is that it contained Dave Barry's usual amount of airport jokes that were unfortunately too close for comfort for the release date (it was near 9/11/01). Still a good movie to watch if you can find it.
Also, if you haven't picked up a copy already, you probably need John Hodgman's The Areas of My Expertise. The book is full of great dry humor and it goes really well with the Audiobook, which you can get for a limited time for free from iTunes (http://www.librarything.com/blog/2006/12/areas-of-my-expertisefree.php). If you need the reminder, John Hodgman is an NPR contributor who has spent some time at the Daily Show desk and is most well known for the corny Mac and PC ads for Apple in which he is the PC.
I will second that. I'm listening to John Hodgman's The Areas of My Expertise audiobook now and it is absolutely hysterical. Dave Barry Slept Here was a great fabricated history of the United States, but Hodgman has managed to fabricate close to everything in his "almanac". His dead-pan delivery makes your mind want to believe it, but the stuff is patently absurd. Hilarious.
Hodgman plays the "PC" in those "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" ads, in case anyone is looking for a reference point.
Speaking of Pollack... Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans is a solid collection that I just finished. It covers a bunch of the humor writing done in the pages of McSweeney's. Pollack has a solid entry in there, as does John Hodgman and a bunch of people none of us have heard of but should have. Very funny.
Christopher Moore, especially Practical Demonkeeping.
Also,Richard Lederer's books on misuse of the language are hilarious.
Has anyone tried Max Brooks' books yet? I've been told to read them, but haven't picked them up yet. I'm very definitely a fan of his father's work in films and if he has even half the sense of humor...
Some good suggestions here, but I'm surprised no one's mentioned David Sedaris yet. All of his stuff is great - the audio versions are possibly better than the print versions. (I think this is true of some of Bryson's books too.)
Oh, and some of Al Franken's books are great. Why Not Me? in particular is hilarious.
Carl Hiaasen; Donald E. Westlake; Christopher Buckley; Richard Russo
For a good sampling (which may help you find several authors of interest), you might try the series (formerly?) published out of the Thurber House. It is (was?) published on a biennial basis, and includes:
Mirth of a Nation, More Mirth of a Nation, and May Contain Nuts. I picked up the McSweeney's collection mentioned above because I thought it might be similar to these.
Shalom Auslander is a backsliding orthodox jew who wrote a very, very funny collection called Beware of God (full disclosure: I wrote a review for it here on LT). Very funny, but not for the pious.
Neal Pollack and John Hodgman are both very funny. George Saunders is my hero.
Among the poets, Billy Collins is funny, sometime startlingly so.
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