Best Selling Books in Humor - Comedy

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release date: Nov 15, 2016
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Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Michiko Kakutani, New York TimesNewsdayEsquire • NPR • Booklist

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

Praise for Born a Crime

 “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“[An] unforgettable memoir.”Parade

 “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today

“[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People

“[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”Booklist (starred review)

“A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”Kirkus Reviews
release date: May 30, 2017
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Al Franken, Giant of the Senate
#1 New York Times Bestseller

"Flips the classic born-in-a-shack rise to political office tale on its head. I skipped meals to read this book - also unusual - because every page was funny. It made me deliriously happy." - Louise Erdrich, The New York Times

From Senator Al Franken - #1 bestselling author and beloved SNL alum - comes the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that.


This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect.

It's a book about what happens when the nation's foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.

It's a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast.

In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.

Has Al Franken become a true Giant of the Senate? Franken asks readers to decide for themselves.



release date: Nov 07, 2017
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Girl Logic: The Genius and the Absurdity
From breakout stand-up comedian Iliza Shlesinger comes a subversively funny collection of essays and observations on a confident woman's approach to friendship, singlehood, and relationships.

"Girl Logic" is Iliza's term for the way women obsess over details and situations that men don't necessarily even notice. She describes is as a characteristically female way of thinking that appears to be contradictory and circuitous but is actually a complicated and highly evolved way of looking at the world. When confronted with critical decisions about dating, sex, work, even getting dressed in the morning, Iliza argues that women will by nature consider every repercussion of every option before making a move toward what they really want. And that kind of holistic thinking can actually give women an advantage in what is still a male world.

In Iliza's own words: "Understanding Girl Logic is a way of embracing both our aspirations and our contradictions. GL is the desire to be strong and vulnerable. It's wanting to be curvy, but rail thin at the same time. It's striving to kick ass in a man's world while still being loved by the women around you.

"This book is also for me, because apparently expounding on a stage for two hours a night wasn't enough. (Trust me, if I could start a cult I would, but I hate the idea of deliberately dying in a group.)"
release date: Oct 10, 2017
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Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live by from the WTF Podcast

"I’m British, so I’m medically dead inside, but even I can’t help but open up whenever I talk to Marc. He uses his honesty like a scalpel, cutting himself open in front of anyone he’s talking to, and in doing so, invites you to do the same. "
―John Oliver

Each week over a million and a half listeners tune into WTF with Marc Maron to hear Marc and a guest do something remarkable: talk.

Waiting for the Punch is not simply a collection of these interviews, but instead something more wondrous: a running narrative of the world’s most recognizable names working through the problems, doubts, joys, triumphs and failures we all experience. With each chapter covering a different topic: parenting, childhood, relationships, sexuality, success, failures and others, Punch becomes a sort of everyman’s guide to life. Barack Obama candidly discusses the challenges of the presidency, and the bittersweet moments of seeing your children grow up and away from you. Bruce Springsteen speaks on the dual nature of desperation to both motivate and devastate. Amy Schumer recounts the pain of a parents’ divorce.

At once laugh-out-loud funny, heartbreakingly honest, joyous, tragic and powerful, Waiting for the Punch is a book to be read from cover to cover, but it is also one to return to again and again.

release date: Oct 08, 2013
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The Wes Anderson Collection
This New York Times bestselling overview of Wes Anderson's filmography features previously unpublished behind-the-scenes photos, artwork, and ephemera, with an introduction by Michael Chabon.

Writer/director Wes Anderson guides movie/television critic Matt Zoller Seitz through Anderson's life and career in a hardcover book-length conversation, woven together with original illustrations and production images from Bottle RocketRushmoreThe Royal TenenbaumsThe Life Aquatic with Steve ZissouThe Darjeeling LimitedFantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom.

The result is a meticulously designed book that captures and reflects the spirit of Wes Anderson's movies: melancholy, playful, wise, and wonderfully unique.

Also available from Matt Zoller Seitz: The Oliver Stone Experience, The Wes Anderson Collection: Bad Dads, The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Mad Men Carousel.
release date: Oct 31, 2017
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Jewish Comedy: A Serious History

A rich account of Jewish humor: its nature, its development, and its vital role throughout Jewish history.

In a major work of scholarship both erudite and very funny, Columbia professor Jeremy Dauber traces the origins of Jewish comedy and its development from biblical times to the age of Twitter. Organizing the product of Jews’ comic imagination over continents and centuries into what he calls the seven strands of Jewish comedy―including the satirical, the witty, and the vulgar―he traces the ways Jewish comedy has mirrored, and sometimes even shaped, the course of Jewish history. Persecution, cultural assimilation, religious revival, diaspora, Zionism―all of these, and more, were grist for the Jewish comic mill; and Dauber’s book takes readers on the tour of the funny side of some very serious business. (And vice versa.)

In a work of dazzling scope, readers will encounter comic masterpieces here that range from Talmudic rabbi jokes to medieval skits, Yiddish satires and Borscht Belt routines to scenes from Seinfeld and Broad City, and the book of Esther to Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song.” Dauber also explores the rise and fall of popular comic archetypes such as the Jewish mother, the Jewish American Princess, and the schlemiel, the schlimazel, and the schmuck, and the classic works of such masters of Jewish comedy as Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, Philip Roth, Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, and Larry David, among many others.

Jewish comedy, as Dauber writes, is serious business. And precisely what it is, how it developed, and how its various strands weave together and in conversation with the Jewish story: that’s Jewish Comedy.

release date: Jan 29, 2013
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Bossypants
Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

(Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!)

release date: Jul 17, 2013
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Thank You for Being a Friend: A Golden Girls Trivia Book
Take four amazing and super-talented actresses, add clever and hilarious writing, loads of sex talk and a box of delicious cheese cake and what do you get? Why, The Golden Girls, of course. Test your Golden Girl's knowledge and see how big a fan you truly are! Thank You for Being a Friend: A Golden Girls Trivia Book is a loving tribute to one of the funniest and most popular sitcoms of all time and a must-have for any fan of the long-running television show!
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release date: May 31, 2016
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Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE A.V. CLUB • Includes new interviews!

From the writer and director of Knocked Up and the producer of Freaks and Geeks comes a collection of intimate, hilarious conversations with the biggest names in comedy from the past thirty years—including Mel Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Roseanne Barr, Harold Ramis, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, and Lena Dunham.

Before becoming one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, Judd Apatow was the original comedy nerd. At fifteen, he took a job washing dishes in a local comedy club—just so he could watch endless stand-up for free. At sixteen, he was hosting a show for his local high school radio station in Syosset, Long Island—a show that consisted of Q&As with his comedy heroes, from Garry Shandling to Jerry Seinfeld. They talked about their careers, the science of a good joke, and their dreams of future glory (turns out, Shandling was interested in having his own TV show one day and Steve Allen had already invented everything).

Thirty years later, Apatow is still that same comedy nerd—and he’s still interviewing funny people about why they do what they do.

Sick in the Head
gathers Apatow’s most memorable and revealing conversations into one hilarious, wide-ranging, and incredibly candid collection that spans not only his career but his entire adult life. Here are the comedy legends who inspired and shaped him, from Mel Brooks to Steve Martin. Here are the contemporaries he grew up with in Hollywood, from Spike Jonze to Sarah Silverman. And here, finally, are the brightest stars in comedy today, many of whom Apatow has been fortunate to work with, from Seth Rogen to Amy Schumer. And along the way, something kind of magical happens: What started as a lifetime’s worth of conversations about comedy becomes something else entirely. It becomes an exploration of creativity, ambition, neediness, generosity, spirituality, and the joy that comes from making people laugh.

Loaded with the kind of back-of-the-club stories that comics tell one another when no one else is watching, this fascinating, personal (and borderline-obsessive) book is Judd Apatow’s gift to comedy nerds everywhere.

Praise for Sick in the Head

“I can’t stop reading it. . . . I don’t want this book to end.”—Jimmy Fallon

“An essential for any comedy geek.”Entertainment Weekly

“Fascinating . . . a collection of interviews with many of the great figures of comedy in the latter half of the twentieth century.”—The Washington Post

“Open this book anywhere, and you’re bound to find some interesting nugget from someone who has had you in stitches many, many times.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“An amazing read, full of insights and connections both creative and interpersonal.”The New Yorker

“Fascinating and revelatory.”—Chicago Tribune

“These are wonderful, expansive interviews—at times brutal, at times breathtaking—with artists whose wit, intelligence, gaze, and insights are all sharp enough to draw blood.”—Michael Chabon

“Anyone even remotely interested in comedy or humanity should own this book. It is hilarious and informative and it contains insightful interviews with the greatest comics, comedians, and comediennes of our time. My representatives assure me I will appear in a future edition.”—Will Ferrell
release date: Apr 01, 1994
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Truth in Comedy: The Manual for Improvisation
Want to learn the improv techniques that helped Mike Myers, Chris Farley, John Belushi, and many others along the road to TV and film stardom? Then let two esteemed founders of long-form improvisational theatre, Del Close and Charna Halpern, teach you the "Harold." This groundbreaking acting exercise emphasizes pattern recognition and subversion of the audience s expectations, which are important factors for making people laugh without ever telling a joke. It involves six to seven players and many kinds of scenes: games, monologues, songs, skits and more, all of which are bound to keep both actors and audience members guessing. The Harold is non-linear entertainment that remembers everything and wastes nothing the key to successful improvising and has become a standard in comedy clubs and improv theatres around the globe.
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