The “See! Women ARE funny!” approach to applauding the women who make us laugh is so over. Instead, I present to you this by-no-means-exhaustive list of books by those same ladies (and in one case, a book about them) that’s too full to fit a teacup yorkie in it, let alone a man.
It’s a good problem to have. The success in recent years of books by Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton (the ones who also answer to “Tina Fey” and “Amy Poehler”) urged us to wonder what equally uproarious memoirs and essay collections by women in media the myriad fans of Bossypants and Yes Please might have missed, or want to revisit. The writing women gathered here have day jobs in comedy, TV, film, internet stardom, design, and, more likely, endless combinations thereof. (Now that Kristen Wiig has escaped prison after accidentally killing her husband, we hope she’ll throw us a memoir from her Jar-Gloved hand, too.)
What other books, existing in reality or only in your dreams, would you like to see on this list (provided we can find some space on the internet)?
The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee, by Sarah Silverman
Who knew comedian Silverman was a bedwetter of epic proportions? Actually, you have no excuse for not knowing that—you just read that in the title of her delightful, honest, and often disgusting memoir.
Bossypants, by Tina Fey
One could argue that Fey’s hilarious and wildly popular 2011 essay collection was a call to action and mic drop in one, reaching an expansive readership and spurring the success of many read-alikes in the five years since. (Read the audio review here.)
Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster, by Kristen Johnston
Famous for her role as a super-tall alien babe on Third Rock from the Sun, Johnson wrote a memoir that’s funny and, as you might guess a book about a stomach exploded from drug use would be, gross.
Happy Accidents, by Jane Lynch
Funny lady Lynch, of the deadpan-hilarious, head-turning roles in Best in Show, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and of course, Glee, reflects humorously on a lifelong struggle to fit in, her sexuality, a past drinking problem, and much more. (Read the audio review here.)
Actor Douglas is equal parts fangirl and femme fatale, and her sublime essays offer a funny, candid, juicy, and gossipy look at the film industry.
I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star, by Judy Greer
Her title says it all; Greer, of the memorable face if not household name, has a sense of humor about being often approached by fans who can’t place which of her many roles they remember.
Sedaris talks hosting and crafting in her signature, singular, over-the-top ridiculous way, with photographs to match.
I’m the One That I Want, by Margaret Cho
Cho’s hilarious coming-of-age memoir is based on her early-2000s comedy show of the same name.
If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother, by Julia Sweeney
Former SNL star Sweeney’s essays about becoming a late-in-life single mom to an adopted daughter showcase her trademark sense of humor.
Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Kaling, a writer, producer, show-runner, and lead actress in her own sitcom, also found the time to write these two terrific essay collections. (Read the audio review of Why Not Me? here.)
Lizz Free or Die, by Lizz Winstead
Stand-up comedian and former Daily Show writer Winstead is also a funny personal essayist. Here she examines both her personal comedic evolution and broader topics, like the uphill battle women comics face.
The Longest Date: Life as a Wife, by Cindy Chupack
Television producer and writer Chupack (Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond) tackles the many facets of couplehood in an engaging memoir that is alternately laugh-out-funny and surprisingly poignant.
Meaty, by Samantha Irby
This debut book of essays from the author of the uproarious blog Bitches Gotta Eat includes wickedly funny pieces alongside poignant palate cleansers.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, by Issa Rae
Rae, creator of the YouTube series Awkward Black Girl and a strong voice for diversity in media, here hilariously expands on her favorite theme: awkwardness. (We loved her book trailer, too!)
My Boyfriend Wrote a Book about Me, by Hilary Winston
Winston, a TV-writing Angeleno, details a whole slew of dating disasters following the discovery that her ex had written a thinly disguised novel about their relationship.
My Mother Was Nuts, by Penny Marshall
Presented without further comment: the book trailer.
Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham
In her essay collection, Dunham circles that head-shaking, guffaw-inducing intersection of hilarity and honesty and is just as hilarious as the HBO show she writes, produces, and stars in. (Read the audio review here.)
Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm, by Roseanne Barr
She needs no last name, nor does Roseanne need any further evidence that you, by reading her book, want to go on the raucous rollercoaster ride that is her life in the spotlight.
Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, by Ophira Eisenberg
In her wise and witty memoir, Canadian comedian Eisenberg recounts a bounty of beddings and how she busted her butt to break into the stand-up scene.
Uganda Be Kidding Me, by Chelsea Handler
It would be unjust to paraphrase Booklist’s all-time, number-one Chelsea Handler fan, former editor Annie Kelley—so I’ll quote her instead: “If you’re one of the millions who enjoy Handler’s sarcastic, self-deprecating humor (and her tendency to be pantless), then you may just pee yourself laughing as she humiliates herself from Montenegro to Telluride.” This annotation constitutes fair warning. Read the audio review here.
We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy, by Yael Kohen
This title isn’t memoir, but history, or better yet history-in-the-making, and could very well catch a similar audience to the rest of this list. From Phyllis Diller to Kristen Wiig, Kohen traces 60 years of American women in comedy.
Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
Poehler’s literally—and occasionally figuratively—heavy book is a sweet, funny memoir and a thoughtful look at many aspects of what it means to be a woman in comedy. (Read the audio review here.)
You’re Better Than Me, by Bonnie McFarlane
Canadian import McFarlane’s voice is frank, naughty, and very funny in this coming-of-age memoir about finding her calling in comedy.