Masters of the stage, on-point comic timing, and insuperable confidence—these are the blinding lights. What isn’t immediately obvious to the casual comedy fan is that the best, funniest material is a product of sharp writing. Keen observations, unique perspectives, the power of articulation. It’s why you also enjoy their tweets and long Facebook rants. So can you imagine a whole book deep diving into your favourite comedian’s brain?
Here are seven 2019 titles written by comics around the world that you should consider putting in your shopping cart this Christmas.
1. Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary (Mar 2019)
The 20-something standup comedian Michael McCreary has a book before he has a Wikipedia page. Known for dispelling the notions around autism through his material, McCreary released his debut novel early this year. Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder himself at age 5, people often tell him that he doesn’t look autistic… thus the title. McCreary used writing as a coping mechanism through high school, and this book is a compilation of those stories of struggle and victories.
2. Life Will Be the Death of Me: . . . and You Too! by Chelsea Handler (Apr 2019)
She’s got a late-night talk show Chelsea Lately, a documentary series called Chelsea Does, and a subsequent Netflix talk show named Chelsea, Chelsea Handler is a hard name to miss. And we thank all that’s sacred for it. 2019 saw the release of her sixth book, Life Will Be The Death of Me…and You Too! An honest and insightful memoir, this is Handler’s journey from bursting her own bubble of privilege to becoming self-sufficient.
3. Riding The Elephant: A Memoir of Altercation, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations by Craig Ferguson (May 2019)
Actor, comedian, television host and, above all, master of wit—that’s Craig Ferguson. Ferguson has had a dramatic life replete with crazy stories, and unexpected outcomes. In his seventh book, Riding The Elephant: A Memoir of Altercation, Humiliations, Hallucinations, and Observations, Ferguson offers an honest and candid account of his life. Through his stories, you’ll meet a witty but honest and mature man embracing life for what it is.
4. Perfect Sound Whatever by James Acaster (Aug 2019)
A cult English comedian (the Indian comedy community especially loves his work), James Acaster is also a former drummer, a frequent talk show panelist, and writer. Perfect Sound Whatever is his third book. A memoir of Acaster’s struggles with doubts around his comedy career pitted against his love for music, his safe space. Generously peppered with anecdotes and stories from the streets of New York City and Los Angeles.
5. Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets and Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong (Oct 2019)
American actress and standup comedian Ali Wong is known for her strong writing. Her Netflix specials Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife catapulted her to international fame, helped along further by her lead role in 2019 movie Always Be My Maybe, which she’s also co-written. Her book Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets and Advice for Living Your Best Life is a compilation of letters to her daughters, packed with truth bombs and lessons from her experience as both a working mum and a working woman in a male-dominated profession.
6. Naked, by Papa CJ (Dec 2019)
Our very own Papa CJ has toured his show Naked across the world, racking up heaps of appreciation besides the frequent flyer miles. But an hour on stage wasn’t enough, he had to also turn it into a book. An autobiographical account of the 42-year-old’s life so far, Naked promises hilarious anecdotes from the streets of Calcutta to the University of Oxford, with stories that he hopes will also inspire you. (Actual nudes not included, get serious.)
7. The Serious Goose by Jimmy Kimmel (Dec 2019)
In 2018, Time named Jimmy Kimmel one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People”. And this year, Kimmel decided to start with influencing the youngest of us. Of course comedians would make for GREAT authors of children’s books. The late-night show host, actor and comedian took his first book to bookshelves around the world (and on the internet) weeks ago. The Serious Goose has been written, illustrated and lettered by Kimmel himself, and throws open a challenge to its young readers to make this serious goose loosen up a little, pushing to find its silly in the serious.
Bonus: All proceeds from this book will go towards Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) in addition to children’s hospitals around the US.