The most recommended books about Saturday Night Live

Who picked these books? Meet our 17 experts.

17 authors created a book list connected to Saturday Night Live, and here are their favorite Saturday Night Live books.
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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 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 The Ghost That Ate Us: The Tragic True Story of the Burger City Poltergeist

Barbara Cottrell Author Of Darkness Below

From Barbara's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Former professor Lovecraft aficionado

Barbara's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Barbara Cottrell Why did Barbara love this book?

When most people think of haunted houses, they usually picture an aging building on the edge of town. But what if the place that’s haunted is a busy fast food joint? That’s the premise of Daniel Kraus’s The Ghost That Ate Us.

The employees of Burger City near Jonny, Iowa begin to experience strange events. At first, the incidents are harmless, but they slowly become more menacing, until an event happens that makes the national news. A journalist comes in after the fact, to interview the surviving workers and try to figure out what ‘really’ happened.

The book is scattered with pictures, a la Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. The result is an intriguing blend of horror, faux true crime, and biting social commentary.

By Daniel Kraus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

You remember the brutal crime, don't you?


Maybe you read about it on Twitter. Maybe a friend sent you a news clip. Maybe you saw it on an episode of Spectral Journeys that night you were flipping through channels, unable to sleep. On June 1, 2017, six people were killed at a Burger City franchise off I-80 near Jonny, Iowa. It was the bizarre and gruesome conclusion to nine months of alleged paranormal activity at the fast-food joint-events popularly known as "the Burger City Poltergeist."


The story inspired Facebook memes, Twitter hashtags, Buzzfeed listicles, Saturday Night Live sketches, and more.…


Book cover of Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood

Stephanie Storey Author Of Raphael, Painter in Rome

From Stephanie's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Art nerd History buff Hollywooder Traveler Dreamer

Stephanie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Stephanie Storey Why did Stephanie love this book?

For over 20 years, I’ve been a TV producer in Hollywood, and I always had this suspicion that my industry was more toxic and abusive than others, but networks and studios always kept me so busy that I never had the time to think about it.

But this year, I picked up Burn it Down, and my life was forever changed. This book provides an honest and clear-eyed look at the realities of working in Hollywood—and it made me re-think my own career choices and forced me to change how I work and lead.

For anyone who works in Hollywood, it’s a must-read. For anyone outside of Hollywood, if you want to know what life is like behind the scenes, this is your way in.

By Maureen Ryan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER

In this spectacular, newsmaking expose that has the entertainment industry abuzz and on its heels, Vanity Fair's Maureen Ryan blows the lid on patterns of harassment and bias in Hollywood, the grassroots reforms under way, and the labor and activist revolutions that recent scandals have ignited.

It is never just One Bad Man.

Abuse and exploitation of workers is baked into the very foundations of the entertainment industry. To break the cycle and make change that sticks, it's important to stop looking at headline-making stories as individual events. Instead, one must…


Book cover of Wired: The Short Life & Fast Times of John Belushi

David Browne Author Of Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970

From my list on why the maligned Seventies were pretty awesome.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a senior writer at Rolling Stone, where I cover a wide range of music-related topics. But as a child of the Seventies, I was shaped by the defining and enthralling pop culture of that era, from singer-songwriters, Southern rock, and disco records to Norman Lear sitcoms. In some of my work, I’ve chronicled the highs and lows of that era, perhaps as a way to answer a question that haunted me during my youth: Why did my older sisters and their friends keep telling me that the Sixties were the most incredible decade ever and the Seventies were awful? What did I miss? And how and where did it all go wrong?

David's book list on why the maligned Seventies were pretty awesome

David Browne Why did David love this book?

Even though they weren’t musicians, the original cast members of Saturday Night Live were among the biggest rock stars of the Seventies. Their journey from underground comics and performers to crossover superstardom, via TV, albums, and movies, is the story of the rise of the counterculture in the Seventies. And, sadly, Belushi’s flameout was the dark side of that tale.

I read this book not long after I had graduated from NYU with a degree in journalism, and Woodward’s peerless reporting—including a chilling, nearly hour-by-hour chronicle of Belushi’s last few weeks before his death in 1982—made me realize the power of narrative, research, and detail. If I were stymied while writing a story of my own in the early days of my career, I’d grab my increasingly beaten-up Wired paperback and be inspired anew. 

By Bob Woodward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This reissue of Bob Woodword’s classic book about John Belushi—one of the most interesting performers and personalities in show business history—“is told with the same narrative style that Woodward employed so effectively in All the President’s Men and The Final Days” (Chicago Tribune).

John Belushi was found dead of a drug overdose March 5, 1982, in a seedy hotel bungalow off Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Belushi’s death was the beginning of a trail that led Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward on an investigation that examines the dark side of American show business—TV, rock and roll, and the movie industry. From…


Book cover of Live from New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests

Mark Yarm Author Of Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge

From my list on oral history about art, music, TV, and movies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am currently the features editor at Input, a website about tech and culture. Earlier in my career, I worked at the now-defunct music magazine Blender, for which I wrote an oral history of Sub Pop, the Seattle label that put out early records by the likes of Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney. That article was the basis of my book for Everybody Loves Our Town. I’m also a widely published freelancer, with pieces in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Wired, WSJ. Magazine, Rolling Stone, and many other outlets.

Mark's book list on oral history about art, music, TV, and movies

Mark Yarm Why did Mark love this book?

This is the definitive look at an American comedy institution (yes, we know it kinda sucks now) and includes input from almost all the show’s biggest names. The book features the requisite amount of sex, drugs, and rock and roll — plus fisticuffs and lots and lots of backbiting — but it also has some surprisingly tender moments, like Bill Murray’s recollection of the last time he saw his castmate, Gilda Radner, before her death.

By James Andrew Miller, Tom Shales,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Live from New York as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When first published to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, LIVE FROM NEW YORK was immediately proclaimed the best book ever produced on the landmark and legendary late-night show. In their own words, unfiltered and uncensored, a dazzling galaxy of trail-blazing talents recalled three turbulent decades of on-camera antics and off-camera escapades. Now a fourth decade has passed---and bestselling authors James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales have returned to Studio 8H. Over more than 100 pages of new material, they raucously and revealingly take the SNL story up to the present, adding a constellation of iconic new stars,…


Book cover of Dave Barry Turns 50

E.J. Lamprey Author Of The Christmas Caper

From my list on getting older with style and panache.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a columnist in a national magazine, book reviewer on a daily newspaper, journalist on a small rural paper, commercial blogger for hire, copy-editor, and critiquer, usually alongside more conventional roles in the not entirely thrilling world of corporate finance. In my fifties, I took a belated gap year courtesy of a good redundancy package and started writing full-time under a couple of different names, mainly EJ Lamprey but here as Clarissa. The gap year never really ended . . . At the heart of all my books is the exuberant celebration of finding in autumn the best season of our lives.

E.J.'s book list on getting older with style and panache

E.J. Lamprey Why did E.J. love this book?

We’ve outgrown vaulting over five-barred gates, running up mountains, drinking all night, and springing bright-eyed from our beds, and so what? For anyone in denial, or clinging stubbornly to youth, Dave is the Baby Boomer to point out the stark realities. He’s funny but he’s ruthless. Fifty’s not the new thirty. It’s fifty. The reason I recommend it is that it can be hard to let go and you’ll waste precious autumn if you don’t accept the inevitable, and move on with a spring in your step into what I have found to be the best period of all. Laughing helps. Laughing always helps.  

By Dave Barry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dave Barry Turns 50 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist comes a celebration of the aging process. Not just Dave's, but that of the whole Baby Boom Generation--those millions of us who set a standard for whining self-absorption that will never be equaled, and who gave birth to such stunning accomplishments as Saturday Night Live!, the New Age movement, and call waiting. Here Dave pinpoints the glaring signs that you've passed the half-century mark:

- You are suddenly unable to read anything written in letters smaller than Marlon Brando.
- You have accepted the fact that you can't possibly be hip. You don't even know…


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 Rememberings

Jeffrey Dunn Author Of Radio Free Olympia

From Jeffrey's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Creative writer Dream fisher History miner Divergent Dyslexic

Jeffrey's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Jeffrey Dunn Why did Jeffrey love this book?

When I listen to Sinéad O’Connor, her voice strikes a deep and unique chord, and when I read her biography Rememberings, the same.

Her book is a series of discrete scenes arranged roughly in time order. Her description of people, events, and feelings is immediate and honest. When she relates a scene with her Aunt Frances, I believe she is six. Through reading her book, I better understand that she was a simple soul with complex psychology, a paradox.

She writes that she made a contract “with the Holy Spirit before she made one with the music business.” I now better understand why she was deliberately misunderstood. Society doesn’t tolerate people like Sinéad who live up to that contract. 

By Sinead O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rememberings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the acclaimed, controversial singer-songwriter Sinéad O’Connor comes a revelatory memoir of her fraught childhood, musical triumphs, fearless activism, and of the enduring power of song.
 
Blessed with a singular voice and a fiery temperament, Sinéad O’Connor rose to massive fame in the late 1980s and 1990s with a string of gold records. By the time she was twenty, she was world famous—living a rock star life out loud. From her trademark shaved head to her 1992 appearance on Saturday Night Live when she tore up Pope John Paul II’s photograph, Sinéad has fascinated and outraged millions. 

In Rememberings, O’Connor…