100 books like Saturday Night

By Doug Hill, Jeff Weingrad,

Here are 100 books that Saturday Night fans have personally recommended if you like Saturday Night. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

Sowmya Krishnamurthy Author Of Fashion Killa: How Hip-Hop Revolutionized High Fashion

From my list on learning about hip-hop.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved hip-hop since, as Biggie Smalls would say, “the public school era.” For over 10 years, I’ve been a journalist and on-air host covering all facets of hip-hop from breaking emerging acts to interviewing superstars. Fashion Killa: How Hip-Hop Revolutionized High Fashion is my first book and the culmination of my expertise in fashion and pop culture. These books served as the bedrock for me—as inspiration, research, and motivation—and one day, I hope that my book will do the same for the next writer.

Sowmya's book list on learning about hip-hop

Sowmya Krishnamurthy Why did Sowmya love this book?

If you need an introduction to hip-hop, this book is it.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop chronicles the birthplace of hip-hop—from Kool Herc’s famous party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue on August 11, 1973—and follows the dynamic history and commercial evolution of the culture that would one day dominate the world. This book was a great starting point in my own research process for my book.

By Jeff Chang,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Can't Stop Won't Stop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A history of hip-hop cites its origins in the post-civil rights Bronx and Jamaica, drawing on interviews with performers, activists, gang members, DJs, and others to document how the movement has influenced politics and culture.


Book cover of Mike Nichols: A Life

Annie Korzen Author Of The Book of Annie: Humor, Heart, and Chutzpah from an Accidental Influencer

From my list on laughter and tears.

Why am I passionate about this?

These books are all by or about comic geniuses. I have always expressed myself through humor. I never felt I was pretty, so making people laugh was another way of seducing people. I started out by doing improvisational theater on the streets of New York, went on to have a recurring role on Seinfeld, and performed my solo shows on three continents. One of my greatest thrills has been to share the stage with other storytellers while touring with The Moth. When I used my storytelling skills on TikTok, I was amazed at the response. Eleven million Likes is a lot of love. I hope I deserve it.

Annie's book list on laughter and tears

Annie Korzen Why did Annie love this book?

I love showbiz biographies full of the inside dope on glamorous, brilliant people, because I’ve always wanted to be one of those glamorous, brilliant people. 

Mike Nichols knew everyone important in the arts, ate at the most fabulous restaurants, traveled to the most luxurious locations, and owned several grand homes. And I am pleased to report that he was frequently anxious and depressed. 

I find it very reassuring to learn that someone who has everything I’ve ever dreamed of is no happier than I am. I know that sounds a little mean, but I never claimed to be perfect.

By Mark Harris,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Mike Nichols as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A National Book Critics Circle finalist • One of People's top 10 books of 2021 •An instant New York Times bestseller • Named a best book of the year by NPR and Time

A magnificent biography of one of the most protean creative forces in American entertainment history, a life of dazzling highs and vertiginous plunges—some of the worst largely unknown until now—by the acclaimed author of Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back

Mike Nichols burst onto the scene as a wunderkind: while still in his twenties, he was half of a hit improv duo with Elaine May…


Book cover of The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway

Marcus Gorman Author Of Triceratops

From my list on pop culture primers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Pop culture is my life, and I like my characters to be well-versed in it. There's no reason to pretend otherwise, as what we consume informs who we are as people. Plus, there’s something beautiful in something everybody collectively knows. I’ve worked hard to make pop culture not just an interest but a career path. I currently program films for the Seattle International Film Festival, work as a playwright and performer, cover film, theatre, and burlesque for The Ticket at the Seattle Times, am a frequent guest on podcasts such as Film at Fifty, and assist at various arts organizations all over the greater Seattle area.

Marcus' book list on pop culture primers

Marcus Gorman Why did Marcus love this book?

Writer William Goldman, most popular for penning The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and All the President’s Men, embeds himself in the Broadway world, seeing every show in the 1967-1968 season; to quote the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast, this book is the autopsy. It’s an enormously accessible book about American theatre, with a murderers’ row of interview subjects at Goldman’s disposal and the author’s ability to translate gossip into hard journalistic data. Even the more economics-based chapters, such as a fascinating one on how most plays live or die on presales to well-connected women’s social groups (a.k.a. “Theatre-Party Ladies”), are as breezy as Goldman’s Oscar-winning screenplays. (Content Warning: The book contains some unfortunate and dated language.)

By William Goldman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Season as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Playwright/novelist/screenwriter Goldman analyzes Broadway from the perspective of the audiences, playwrights, critics, producers and actors. “Very nearly perfect... It is a loose-limbed, gossipy, insider, savvy, nuts-and-bolts report on the annual search for the winning numbers that is now big-time American commercial theatre.” –Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times


Book cover of Sitcom: A History in 24 Episodes from I Love Lucy to Community

Marcus Gorman Author Of Triceratops

From my list on pop culture primers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Pop culture is my life, and I like my characters to be well-versed in it. There's no reason to pretend otherwise, as what we consume informs who we are as people. Plus, there’s something beautiful in something everybody collectively knows. I’ve worked hard to make pop culture not just an interest but a career path. I currently program films for the Seattle International Film Festival, work as a playwright and performer, cover film, theatre, and burlesque for The Ticket at the Seattle Times, am a frequent guest on podcasts such as Film at Fifty, and assist at various arts organizations all over the greater Seattle area.

Marcus' book list on pop culture primers

Marcus Gorman Why did Marcus love this book?

To quote New York Times critic Sam Anderson, “the sitcom is arguably the defining commercial art form of the American 20th century,” and this book gives that hypothesis weight. Over 24 chapters (starting in 1951 with I Love Lucy, the Rosetta Stone of the genre, and ending in 2014 with Dan Harmon’s cult hit Community), Austerlitz uses the television comedy format to discuss joke structure, technological advancements in the arts, and the evolution of American social and political consciousness over the previous half-century. Sitcoms are by their nature the tension between two opposing forces, centering on characters who strive to change their lot in life only to have everything reset by episode’s end, just in time to do it all again next week. There’s something both beautiful and menacing about that.

By Saul Austerlitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sitcom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The form is so elemental, so basic, that we have difficulty imagining a time before it existed: a single set, fixed cameras, canned laughter, zany sidekicks, quirky family antics. Obsessively watched and critically ignored, sitcoms were a distraction, a gentle lullaby of a kinder, gentler America—until suddenly the artificial boundary between the world and television entertainment collapsed.

            In this book we can watch the growth of the sitcom, following the path that leads from Lucy to The Phil Silvers Show; from The Dick Van Dyke Show to The Mary Tyler Moore Show; from M*A*S*H to Taxi; from Cheers to Roseanne;…


Book cover of Romantic Comedy

Jessica Saunders Author Of Love, Me

From my list on books that feature a celebrity falling for a “normal” person.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I loved singing and acting and fantasized about what it might be like to be a famous movie star. Though the practical side of my brain led me to become a lawyer instead, my fascination with Hollywood never waned. When I set out to write my first novel, I finally had the opportunity to explore celebrity culture. But I'm just a regular person, living a very normal life. The books I’m recommending lift the curtain on fame and explore the ultimate fantasy: what if a beloved, uber-famous actor or actress actually fell in love with you? 

Jessica's book list on books that feature a celebrity falling for a “normal” person

Jessica Saunders Why did Jessica love this book?

Curtis Sittenfeld has been a go-to author for me since I read and loved her debut, Prep, in 2005.

Her latest, Romantic Comedy, centers on Sally, a comedy writer at The Night Owls (a stand-in for Saturday Night Live) who finds herself the subject of affection of a very famous singer, Noah. I am a longtime fan of SNL, and I loved the inside look at sketch development and the hierarchy and competition among the writers and actors.

I alternated between relating to Sally and wanting to throttle her for not recognizing her own worth, but in a deeply invested in the story kind of way! And if you need one more reason to give this book a try, it was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.

By Curtis Sittenfeld,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Romantic Comedy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today's Top Comedy Writers

Bob Eckstein Author Of The Elements of Stress and the Pursuit of Happy-Ish in This Current Sh*tstorm

From my list on make you laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love comedy and have made it my living my whole life as a columnist and writer for every major humor site and publication including MAD, SPY, American Bystander, Playboy, McSweeney’s, The Village Voice and worked with the funniest humorists in the world. My cartoons have appeared around the world as well as The New Yorker. I’ve appeared in over 100 TV and radio appearances speaking on the subject of humor.

Bob's book list on make you laugh

Bob Eckstein Why did Bob love this book?

Mike Sacks is an authority on comedy and scholar who created two volumes which are a Comedy Bible for any humorist, interviewing the funniest people from the last fifty years. This is a must-read for any comedy geek. The other volume is And Here’s the Kicker. But wait, that’s all, as they say. Sacks has also become the king of kitsch producing a series of books mocking pop culture (Slouchers, Passable In Pink, Randy! and Stinker Lets Loose!)

By Mike Sacks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Poking a Dead Frog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NPR

Amy Poehler, Mel Brooks, Adam McKay, George Saunders, Bill Hader, Patton Oswalt, and many more take us deep inside the mysterious world of comedy in this fascinating, laugh-out-loud-funny book. Packed with behind-the-scenes stories-from a day in the writers' room at The Onion to why a sketch does or doesn't make it onto Saturday Night Live to how the BBC nearly erased the entire first season of Monty Python's Flying Circus-Poking a Dead Frog is a must-read for comedy buffs, writers and pop culture junkies alike.


Book cover of Untrue Stories of Fiction

Bob Eckstein Author Of The Elements of Stress and the Pursuit of Happy-Ish in This Current Sh*tstorm

From my list on make you laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love comedy and have made it my living my whole life as a columnist and writer for every major humor site and publication including MAD, SPY, American Bystander, Playboy, McSweeney’s, The Village Voice and worked with the funniest humorists in the world. My cartoons have appeared around the world as well as The New Yorker. I’ve appeared in over 100 TV and radio appearances speaking on the subject of humor.

Bob's book list on make you laugh

Bob Eckstein Why did Bob love this book?

This is the guy who wrote Deeper Thoughts and some of the best sketches on Saturday Night Live. He is a regular in The New Yorker and American Bystander and one of our generation’s finest humorists. This collection I feel is his best yet. I read a passage before I go to sleep to deal with this crazy world.

Book cover of Thick: And Other Essays

Tracy Dawson Author Of Let Me Be Frank: A Book about Women Who Dressed Like Men to Do Shit They Weren't Supposed to Do

From my list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, actor, and comedian. I began on the Second City mainstage in Toronto. I was a writer and an actor on the Canadian television series, Call Me Fitz and I won the Gemini Award and the Canadian Screen Award for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for my work opposite Jason Priestley on that show. Let Me Be Frank is my first book and it brings together so much of what I love to write and read: feminism, women, history, underdogs, and humor.

Tracy's book list on by funny, feminist, truth-telling women

Tracy Dawson Why did Tracy love this book?

A National Book Award finalist, Tressie McMillan Cottom’s Thick is a brilliantly written compendium of essays that should be read by everyone. This awe-inspiring collection tackles beauty standards, media, capitalism, and white supremacy all with a fierce wit and through a Black feminist lens. You will count yourself lucky to read these essays by one of the most important thinkers of our time. Cottom is wildly sharp and funny. She is an academic and profound but this book is accessible and readable. If you are like me you will want to read this twice.  

By Tressie McMillan Cottom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom - award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed - is unapologetically 'thick': deemed 'thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less,' McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work.In eight highly praised treatises on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom - award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed - is unapologetically 'thick': deemed 'thick where I should…


Book cover of Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

Joshua Womack Author Of You are not that funny: Stories from Cleveland Stand-Up

From my list on discipline, writing, and disciplined writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

The reason I’m so fascinated by stand-up and books on writing is because I have done both. For a brief time I was a comedian, and the lessons in creativity and writing I learned along the way helped me find the career of copywriting. I’m passionate about learning how great writers write, and more importantly, keep writing, even when they don’t feel like it. I like to be inspired with lessons I can bring with me to every Word doc I open up.

Joshua's book list on discipline, writing, and disciplined writing

Joshua Womack Why did Joshua love this book?

One of the best books ever about stand-up.

Steve Martin talks about perfecting his craft and really gives comedians and fans of stand-up a front row seat to what goes into being a comedian. The grind on the way up, and performing in near-empty places, will make you empathize with Martin and all the comics who started just like him.

By Steve Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Born Standing Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the mid-seventies, Steve Martin exploded on to the comedy scene. By 1978, he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. This book is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away." Emmy and Grammy Award winner, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been a writer. His memoir of his years in stand-up is candid, spectacularly amusing, and beautifully written. At age ten, Martin…


Book cover of If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won't)

Michelle Muto Author Of The Book of Lost Souls

From my list on fun reads to read in dark times.

Why am I passionate about this?

Do you trust anyone without a sense of humor? Neither do I. I’ve always had an odd sense of humor. Laughter is good for the soul. I don’t know if I’m an expert, but I’ve certainly spent decades watching and reading comedies. And while I love writing serious and dark fiction, something cute and funny now and then feels like a nice balance. My personal taste runs from slapstick to standup to snappy scenes and witty dialog. I like smart humor, and because I had the wittiest dad, I can even appreciate a well-done dad joke. 

Michelle's book list on fun reads to read in dark times

Michelle Muto Why did Michelle love this book?

I read just about anything – dark fiction, cozy mysteries, thrillers,  and even plenty of non-fiction. But, while I rarely read memoirs, I will if it’s someone I truly admire.

Enter Betty White. I’ve always been a fan of her quick, one-liner wit, and this book doesn’t disappoint. But even the non-witty parts are packed with a punch. Betty’s wisdom is heartfelt and spot-on.

By Betty White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If You Ask Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller from the beloved actress and Hollywood icon who's made us laugh on shows from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Golden Girls to Saturday Night Live!

In this candid take on everything from the unglamorous reality behind red-carpet affairs to her beauty regimen ("I have no idea what color my hair is, and I never intend to find out"), Betty White shares her observations about life, celebrity, and love (for humans and animals). Filled with photos, If You Ask Me is funny, sweet, and straight to the point-just like Betty.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Saturday Night Live, pop culture, and alchemy?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Saturday Night Live, pop culture, and alchemy.

Saturday Night Live Explore 17 books about Saturday Night Live
Pop Culture Explore 151 books about pop culture
Alchemy Explore 71 books about alchemy