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11 Funny Memoirs That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud

By Stephanie Brown

Love to laugh? You’ve come to the right place. From uproarious and award-winning personal essay collections to sidesplitting new narratives by stand-up comedy legends, the following funny memoirs will tug on your heartstrings and tickle your funny bone.

Number One Is Walking

By Steve Martin, drawings by Harry Bliss

A must-read for comedy lovers, Number One Is Walking is the highly anticipated film career memoir by Steve Martin and marks the first time the legendary stand-up comic and actor has written about his life in the movies. The narrative is chock-full of never-before-heard anecdotes from the sets of films like The Jerk and Father of the Bride and is brought to life by artwork from New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss. Readers will find a perfect comedic pairing in Martin’s smartly humorous musings and Bliss’s wry cartoons.

In fact, this isn’t the first time Martin and Bliss have teamed up: In 2020 they released A Wealth of Pigeons, a New York Times bestselling collection of comics wherein Martin provided the ideas and captions while Bliss created the artwork. Whether you’re a fan of Martin’s pioneering stand-up from the 1970s or his recent turn as Charles-Haden Savage on Hulu’s award-winning crime dramedy Only Murders in the Building, you’re sure to love his newest book.

Me Talk Pretty One Day

By David Sedaris

David Sedaris is a beloved humor essayist, and Me Talk Pretty One Day, his second collection of essays, makes for an uproarious read. Divided into two parts, the first section of Sedaris’s memoir-in-essays chronicles the author’s childhood in North Carolina, where he grew up surrounded by his offbeat family members, including his hilarious sister Amy Sedaris. In the second section, Sedaris recounts his adult life living in Normandy with his partner, Hugh. “Go Carolina” opens the collection and relates the time Sedaris was sent to a speech therapist in elementary school for his lisp. Instead of “fixing” the way he spoke, he simply decided to stop using the letter “s,” much to the consternation of his instructor. Sedaris is known the world over for his acerbic wit and dry observations on the absurdities of everyday life. He’s also an excellent live reader and performer. If you want a taste of his comedic presence, listen to his brilliant reading of “The Santaland Diaries” on NPR, in which recounts his experience working as an elf in Macy’s.

Wow, No Thank You

By Samantha Irby

Samantha Irby’s sharp humor is known for making readers cackle with delight. Her third book of essays, following We Are Never Meeting in Real Life and Meaty, finds the 40-year-old riding a wave of literary success while still learning to be comfortable in her own skin. Like the best comedic writers, Irby finds healing through humor, whether it’s skewering the bourgeois-dream home life she shares with her wife, reliving awkward meetings with eccentric TV execs, or facing down the insecurity, guilt, and existential dread of the modern era. Irby’s comedic gifts lie not just in her ability to talk candidly about her personal experiences but also in her piercing analysis of media, social trends, and popular culture. Pick up the Lambda Literary Award–winning Wow, No Thank You ASAP to see why outlets like The New Republic are calling Irby “America’s most talented comic writer.”

Shrill

By Lindy West

After establishing herself as a writer for Seattle’s The Stranger, Lindy West catapulted to the national level with her debut book of essays that’s part memoir and part takedown of our culture’s treatment of fat women. Shrill, which was adapted as a Hulu series starring Aidy Bryant, is a laugh-out-loud-funny memoir, displaying West’s signature exuberance and over-the-top conversational style. It’s also a searing indictment of the misogyny and fat hatred that West has endured throughout her life. The essays cover everything from fat Disney characters to the death threats West received for existing as a successful fat woman on the internet. As The Guardian writes: “Shrill mixes humour with pathos so effectively that those qualities magnify each other rather than cancelling each other out.” This book will make you laugh, cry, scream, and go out and fight for a better, kinder world.

Born a Crime

By Trevor Noah

In the bestselling and Thurber Prize–winning Born a Crime, Daily Show host Trevor Noah reflects on his life from growing up in apartheid-era South Africa to becoming a successful stand-up comedian on the global stage. Noah’s birth in 1980s South Africa to a white Swiss father and Black Xhosa mother was considered a criminal act at the time, punishable by up to five years in prison. As a result, young Noah spent much of his childhood hidden from government officials who might take him away from his family. Like other authors on this list, Noah employs humor to chronicle and counteract life’s most harrowing blows; he also presents a moving portrait of his mother, who bravely fought to provide him with a life free of poverty and violence. Blending political and social critique with candid personal accounts, Born a Crime radiates humor and tragedy. And judging from the way Noah was raised to question authority and fight oppression, it’s no wonder he ended up becoming the incisive political comic he is today.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

By Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is an actor and writer, and the creator of The Mindy Project, Never Have I Ever, and The Sex Lives of College Girls — and if you loved any of those shows, then reading this funny memoir will feel like chatting with your best friend. Charting her path from growing up as the dutiful child of immigrant parents to her early success as a TV writer and performer on The Office, Kaling’s first book is a warmly funny reflection on fame, friends, family, dating, and celebrity culture. Critics and readers alike have championed Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? for its relatability, with Elle praising Kaling for her “neurotic charm and hilarious everywoman musings.” Come for the humor in Kaling’s bestselling memoir, stay for the behind-the-scenes look at achieving comedy success in Hollywood.

Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay

By Phoebe Robinson

You may know Phoebe Robinson from 2 Dope Queens, the comedy podcast turned HBO stand-up special she hosts with Jessica Williams. More recently, Robinson starred in a brand-new Freeform series Everything’s Trash, which is based on this 2018 memoir/cultural critique. As with all of her comedy, Robinson seamlessly blends pop culture musings and personal reflections with eye-opening explorations of racism and sexism in Everything’s Trash, but It’s Okay. You’ll find essays on everything from meeting Bono to feminism’s intersectionality problem, personal money problems, and dating horror stories. Readers of all stripes are sure to discover something to love here, while elder millennials who’ve faced cultural dumpster fire after dumpster fire will connect with the way Robinson laughs out loud to keep from crying.

Furiously Happy

By Jenny Lawson

In her #1 New York Times bestseller, Jenny Lawson writes candidly about her experiences with severe depression and anxiety. While this might not sound like ideal material for a funny memoir, Lawson shines at finding humor and catharsis in the darkest of places. Lawson’s fans agree, showing up to her standing-room-only book readings to tell the author how her books have made them feel like they can keep going. While ostensibly about the struggles of facing mental illness, Furiously Happy, which is written in a style that mimics fighting with your own brain, is really about finding and holding on to joy.

Dear Girls

By Ali Wong

In Dear Girls, acclaimed stand-up comedian Ali Wong writes bitingly funny and sweetly touching letters to the daughters with whom she was pregnant during her breakout Netflix stand-up specials. In her letters, Wong shares insights she’s learned both on- and offstage, from finding success in a male-dominated field and dating in New York to growing up in San Francisco and reconnecting with her Vietnamese heritage. Fiercely funny, Dear Girls marries unflinching gross-out humor with thoughtful reflections on feminism, motherhood, and comedy stardom. It’s perfect for comedy nerds, moms, and comedy nerd moms.

I'll Show Myself Out

By Jessi Klein

As the executive producer of Inside Amy Schumer, Jessi Klein thrived at using humor to critique the way society treats women. In the bestselling I’ll Show Myself Out, Klein applies her sharp comedic eye to encroaching middle age and the impossible expectations our culture puts on moms. Throughout this poignant and funny memoir-in-essays collection, Klein digs deep into the joy, pain, and ambivalence of having a kid at 39. And you know you’re in for a comedic treat when the chapter titles alone crack you up: “Listening to Beyoncé in the Parking Lot of Party City,” “Your Husband Will Remarry Five Minutes After You Die,” and “On the Starbucks Bathroom Floor” is just a sampling of the laughs that lie within.

Nobody Will Tell You This But Me

By Bess Kalb

We end our list with a unique and funny memoir told not from the perspective of the author but from the author’s beloved grandmother. Emmy-nominated TV writer Bess Kalb adored her one-of-a-kind grandmother Bobby Bell. In Nobody Will Tell You This But Me, Kalb channels Bobby’s voice, stories, and irrepressible spirit to reconstruct the multigenerational saga of her family, stretching all the way back to the 1880s, when Bobby’s mother escaped the pogroms in Belarus to come to the U.S. “A funny, touching, and timely reminder of the solace to be found in kindred spirits” (People), Kalb’s family memoir will delight anyone lucky enough to have an indomitable nana in their life.

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