Laugh til you cry: Great books by female comedians

Just this morning, I finished the masterful comedic gem Dear Girls by Ali Wong. It was the perfect traveling book for a recent trip: short, digestible, hilarious and raunchy bits were sandwiched between heartfelt truths and gorgeous food descriptions. In fact, I would say at least a quarter of the book is Ms. Wong taking you through her life’s journey via authentic Asian cuisine. It’s safe to say that I haven’t read anything like it and likely never will again. I laughed a lot, I cringed a lot and when I was done, I realized that my picky, white-bread American food palate is definitely lacking.

Some of my favorite biographies are those by female comedians. These women, who make us laugh, do the same in their books, and the way they write makes you feel like you are intimate friends. They also make you feel like they get you. Women, contrary to the famous Vanity Fair article by Christopher Hutchins entitled “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” are actually very, very funny.

So, while we are in what seems to be a never-ending winter, it’s a great time of year to read something that will put a smile on your face and shine a little brightness on your day. Make sure to check out some of these hilarious books by women, available at Anythink.

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters covers everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession, her adventurous graduate years spent in Vietnam, and how she trapped their dad. As mentioned above, this one is heartfelt, honest, raunchy and filled with delicious (and some insane) food descriptions.

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

I love Amy Poehler, mostly due to my deep obsession with Parks and Rec. This collection of stories, lists, poetry, advice, and more doesn’t just show you a little something about the women who embodied Leslie Knope; no, it also offers inspirational wisdom on how to take charge of your own destiny, motherhood, career and otherwise. It’s a cheerful feminist manifesto that speaks very heavily to a mother’s heart. It’s also extremely funny.

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

The breakout star of the movie Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish has established herself as a comedy queen on the big screen in the last few years. Her refreshing attitude about money and fashion—and by that I mean her view that if you buy a beautiful designer dress you should get to wear it as often as you please – brings this book down to earth for the rest of us. Haddish hasn’t had an easy life (she grew up in the foster care system), and her amazement at her own success and irreverent humor make her journey inspiring and hilarious.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Confession: I love Mindy Kaling. I loved her in The Office, watching her toxic relationship with Ryan play out again and again, and I loved her in The Mindy Project, a hot mess steadily rising to the top. And while she is a great actress, she is even more brilliant in her writing. This first essay collection speaks to the experiences and insecurities that are familiar to so many of us as women. Mindy’s a girl’s girl, the one you always longed to be best friends with. She is a comedian that immediately puts you at ease, and has some very powerful thoughts on brunch and tailoring. Her book is as funny as it is sweet.

Forever, Erma by Erma Bombeck (1996) 

For many of us, our comedy education all started with the same things: Sesame Street, In Living Color, SNL and whatever funny books were on our parents’ bookshelves – and I’m willing to bet that Erma Bombeck’s books were one of them. With titles like If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, Why Am I Stuck in the Pits?, Bombeck, (while being a bit outdated for today’s world) mostly muses on domestic life, paving the way at the bookstores for authors like Mindy Kaling and Ali Wong. Bombeck is whip-smart, funny and self-deprecating in the best possible way.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson 

My sister is a huge fan of Jenny Lawson, and handed me this signed book last year. Two days later, I was done, and my sides hurt from laughing. Jenny, a famous blogger best known as the Bloggess, shares her mortifying and fascinating life with her readers. Her life is…different. Hugely quirky and bursting with embarrassing stories, taxidermy animals and deep truths about living with acute anxiety, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is so refreshing and different in the realm of comedy. It’s the kind of book that you will read passages out loud to friends as you commiserate what it’s like to be weird and female in our time.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Schumer, an Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of the acclaimed film Train reck has pretty much conquered the world with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer engages us with refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of extremely personal essays. Covering everything from rejection in her teenage years, to sex, to struggling with her Dad’s MS, to climbing in Hollywood, Amy bares her raunchy soul for all of us, bringing tears of laughter in the process. Schumer is a bighearted and thoughtful storyteller, and The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo is everything a comedy book should be.