Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Laffin' with Madi - The Funny Books Blog Post

From Madi: Right now, everyone everywhere is facing a difficult time. Whether you are cooped up at home or still working, almost everything is unfamiliar and a bit frightening. Lately I have been getting a decent number of customers who ask for some escapism, whether that be through a fantasy series or a mystery to engross their attention, or just something funny and light. I usually spend my free time with horror or true crime, but right now even I need something uplifting. So, I decided to revisit some books that really made me laugh- not just a slight chuckle under my breath, but a hearty, out-loud laugh.

Like many, I have been binge watching (and re-watching) Bob’s Burgers. It is one of my favorite shows, and my go to for when I’m in a bad mood or feeling down. Luckily, the voice actor behind the titular lead has a hilarious book: Failure is an Option: An Attempted Memoir by Bob himself, H. Jon Benjamin. This memoir has some of the funniest anecdotes, like Benjamin accidentally letting his neighbor’s house get robbed as a kid, that stick with me to this day.

For another familiar voice, this one from the podcast Two Dope Queens, I recommend Phoebe Robinson’s You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain. This collection of essays is more insightful than just personal accounts, as many deal with topics like sexism and racism, but it still is full of humor. I started reading this book one morning and finished it later that night. It. Is. That. Good. I could not put it down. Robinson also has a second book, Everything's Trash, But It's Okay, and though I have not read it yet, the good news is if You Can’t Touch My Hair enthralls you like it did me, you have even more material from this comedic queen.

One of my favorite books to come out this year is Cameron Esposito’s Save Yourself! I have long been a fan of Esposito’s stand up; she is always honest about her experiences and has been a voice for feminists and the LGBTQ+ community. The memoir only made me love her more. Her descriptions of her awkward adolescent years and the brutal honesty of coming out as a lesbian while navigating her Catholic faith and upbringing is cemented in my brain. My love and respect for her only grew as I continued reading. It has serious parts, obviously, but this memoir is so funny I was laughing like a madman even when I was reading it on the bus. For a little more detail on this book, you can also check out my full review of it (and others) here on my staff recommendation page!

And now for something completely different. Being in the house with my husband has had me watching more Monty Python than ever in my life. He will randomly put on The Holy Grail or The Life of Brian and giggle himself silly. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them too - but my husband has been a lifelong fan. That’s why I am including Eric Idle’s book, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. Idle is my husband’s favorite Python, so while John Cleese has written enough to fill a library, it was this memoir that was his preference. From his childhood to his famous friendships to the Python’s last show, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life will give you the giggles and get the song stuck in your head. I’ve only typed it out twice, and already it’s on a loop.

Despite my spouse’s preference for old British comedy, I must include one of my favorite comic’s brand-new book that comes out June 16th. Mike Birbiglia’s The New One is the book adaption of his one man show by the same name. His comedy is less set up/joke/punchline and more in-depth story telling that winds and loops through some truly emotional stuff. This book is no different. It is his coming to terms with fatherhood when he never thought he would have a child. It details the changes to his marriage, how it affected his work life, and the mental toll it took on someone with a sleep disorder that requires he sleep cocooned, so he doesn’t hurt himself or anyone else while sleepwalking. This does not sound funny, but let me be clear: he is hilarious. The one liners littered throughout made me interrupt whatever my husband was doing on multiple occasions so I could read him the quips. It also includes poetry by Birbiglia’s wife, Jen Stein, that gives insight to her perspective on motherhood. Read this snuggled up with your dog like I did, and you too will feel warm and fuzzy.

I hope at least one of these books brings some humor in this hard time. Even if it’s just a closed mouth, through-your-nose snort, it is still something to help lift your spirits. And then, if you’re still following my lead, you can snuggle up under the covers and continue your true crime documentary marathon.

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