Before Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Black Adder, and Douglas Adams, there was Jerome K. Jerome and Three Men in a Boat. While probably the least familiar name on this list, 3MB holds up astonishingly well today. Initially, the book was intended to be a travel guide, but the humorous elements of the narrative took hold and wouldn’t let go. The story takes the simple premise of three highly civilized British friends deciding to weather all the myriad discomforts of a simple camping trip. Despite predating all the modern greats of British comedy, 3MB has a very similar tone to those more recent works and inspired many of those authors. And if you like Three Men in a Boat, you’re in luck. Jerome wrote a sequel: Three Men on the Bummel.
“I objected to the sea trip strongly. You start on Monday with the idea implanted in your bosom that you are going to enjoy yourself. You swagger about the deck as if you were Captain Cook. On Tuesday, you wish you hadn't come. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, you wish you were dead. On Sunday, you begin to walk about again, and take solid food. And on Monday morning, as you stand by the gunwale, waiting to step ashore, you begin to thoroughly like it.”