The most recommended stand-up comedy books

Who picked these books? Meet our 12 experts.

12 authors created a book list connected to stand-up comedy, and here are their favorite stand-up comedy books.
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Book cover of What a Carve Up!

Devorah Blachor Author Of The Feminist's Guide to Raising a Little Princess: How to Raise a Girl Who's Authentic, Joyful, and Fearless--Even If She Refuses to Wear Anything but a Pink Tutu

From my list on satire that makes you laugh and cry.

Who am I?

I’m a writer, journalist, satirist, and novelist. I’ve written humor and satire for McSweeney’s, The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts, The Belladonna, and other publications, often about subjects that make me angry, sad, or both. Sometimes I write as a way to process, to vent, and to make fun of myself. I wrote a humor piece called "Turn Your Princess Toddler Into a Feminist in 8 Easy Steps." The New York Times published it, and it went viral. There was so much interest in the piece it prompted me to start researching the topic of princess obsessed girls. That research became my nonfiction book – The Feminist’s Guide to Raising a Little Princess

Devorah's book list on satire that makes you laugh and cry

Devorah Blachor Why did Devorah love this book?

This is a masterclass in satirical writing but also just in novel writing. Coe manages to combine a gripping narrative and murder mystery with a scathing indictment of Great Britain in the 80s, when venal wealth was king and the country lost its soul. This was one of those books where I felt like I learned so much, about British culture, politics, corruption, and a 1961 comedy horror movie that shares its name with the book title, but I didn’t notice it because I was having such a good time. There are so many layers to the plot – and inventive dimensions to the way the story is told - and it’s one of my favorite books of all time.  

By Jonathan Coe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What a Carve Up! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Big, hilarious, intricate, furious, moving' - Guardian Telling the stories of the wealthy Winshaw family, WHAT A CARVE UP! is a riveting social satire on the chattering and all-powerful upper classes.

Book cover of Truly Devious

Katie Tietjen Author Of Death In The Details

From my list on mystery books starring kick-butt female sleuths.

Who am I?

I grew up on a steady diet of Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown. Then, in a plot twist that surprised exactly no one, I became an English teacher, a librarian (did you know you can recommend books for a LIVING???), and an author. I love books where the sleuth must not only solve the case at hand, but also wrestle with some sort of ongoing personal problem–bonus points if they can simultaneously pull the curtain back on societal issues and make me feel like I’m getting to experience life in a place where I don’t actually live (I’m looking at you, London and L.A.). 

Katie's book list on mystery books starring kick-butt female sleuths

Katie Tietjen Why did Katie love this book?

I can’t get enough of quirky, indefatigable teen sleuth Stevie Bell. She’s determined to solve a decades-old cold case, but must also navigate social awkwardness, anxiety, and people who literally want her dead.

I enjoyed how this book flip-flopped between the present-day narrative and the past. My friend and I got to see Maureen Johnson give a talk at a nearby bookstore, and we loved it; she’s basically a stand-up comedian. 

By Maureen Johnson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Truly Devious as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson comes the start of a new series about a sharp and funny young detective named Stevie Bell who begins school at an elite, yet peculiar, boarding school and finds herself entangled in a murder mystery; perfect for fans of 13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES.

New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson weaves a delicate tale of murder and mystery in the first book of a striking new series, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and E. Lockhart.

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists.…

Book cover of Charging Mount Stand-Up

Alex Bernstein Author Of Plrknib

From Alex's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Leader of men Armchair comedian Ideas person Not so great dresser Expert in all things meaningless

Alex's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Alex Bernstein Why did Alex love this book?

Full disclosure: I know Chip Chinery. We both grew up in Cincinnati and we both got our “start” doing stand-up comedy as teenagers at a tiny, hole-in-the-wall comedy club named d.w. eye at the onset of the burgeoning 80’s comedy club boom.

What separates Chip’s memoir from other comedy biographies is the almost obsessive level of detail he provides in recounting his experiences as a young, Candide-like stand-up comic “finding himself” on the difficult and lonely midwestern comedy circuit road. (And yes, familiar comedy faces start to pop up regularly.) While dense with detail, this endearing memoir provides a hilarious, unflinching look at the realities of pursuing stand-up comedy far from home. For any aspiring comic, it's a must-read.

By Chip Chinery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Charging Mount Stand-Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Book cover of Breathe Like a Bear

Mary Angus Author Of Max's Fuzzy Feelers

From my list on illustrations for your highly sensitive little one.

Who am I?

I am an illustrator who has been captivated by the whimsy of children’s books since I was a child myself. The wonder and enchantment with the world of narrative illustrative has never worn off and I still love getting lost in a beautiful picture book. I hope my illustrations are able to inspire others the way they have inspired me. 

Mary's book list on illustrations for your highly sensitive little one

Mary Angus Why did Mary love this book?

Breathe Like a Bear is part of a series of seven books called Mindfulness Moments for Kids. I absolutely love this book as a way to immediately have real and effective tools to calm your toddler. The exercises in this book are simple, quick, and effective. Breathe Like a Bear is also illustrated so beautifully with vibrant colors to really keep young kids really engaged in the process. If you are looking to go further than identifying feelings and want to move into practices and tools to help regulate your child’s emotions, this is an excellent option. 

By Kira Willey, Anni Betts (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Breathe Like a Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Breathe Like a Bear is a beautifully illustrated collection of movements and breathing exercises designed to teach kids techniques for managing their bodies, breath, and emotions. Best of all, they can be performed anywhere: in the backseat of a car, at home, or even at a child's deskat school. Based on Kira Willey's Parents'Choice GOLD Award-winning CD, Mindful Moments for Kids, this is the first book of its kind and is the perfect tool to help children and parents develop a fun and consistent mindfulness practice.

Book cover of Dave Allen

Stevie Turner Author Of Waiting in the Wings

From my list on memoirs and biographies for the mature reader.

Who am I?

I have always had an interest in reading factual information about other people’s lives. I am a realist, and prefer reading non-fiction that is true. I am especially interested in reading inspirational stories from people that have overcome adversity, illness, or discrimination.

Stevie's book list on memoirs and biographies for the mature reader

Stevie Turner Why did Stevie love this book?

I was drawn to this book because I had always loved Dave Allen's humour.  

Through Ms. Soutar's book I learned of his early life in Ireland and how his attendance at strict Catholic schools run by nuns helped to shape his later stand-up comedy routines. Not everybody enjoys Dave's kind of irreverent humour, but for me he was a comedy legend.

By Carolyn Soutar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The image of Dave Allen is seared into our minds. He sits on a tall chair with a glass of J&B, smoking his Gauloises, a fingertip missing as he tells the most hilarious, rambling stories. But what of the man behind the image? Carolyn Soutar's biography is the most revealing account of the famously private comedian, whose career began in the sixties but who remained influential to a whole new generation of comics in the 21st century. Having worked with him as his stage manager, Soutar was able to see how he behaved both on and off screen. She discusses…

Book cover of Dad Is Fat

Craig Melvin Author Of Pops: Learning to Be a Son and a Father

From my list on for families dealing with addiction.

Who am I?

My name is Craig Melvin and I’m an anchor on NBC’s Today show. I’m also a father to my two young kids, Delano and Sybil. Being a dad is so important to me because when you’re a parent, you’re charged with shaping and molding a solid human being whose empathetic, compassionate, and responsible. I don’t take the responsibility lightly. Of the many jobs I have, it’s the most important.  

Craig's book list on for families dealing with addiction

Craig Melvin Why did Craig love this book?

Jim Gaffigan is one of the funniest comedians out there, and he’s always one of our favorite in-studio guests. This book uses Gaffigan’s classic sense of humor to describe what it is like to be a dad to his five children. Beyond being extremely funny and a solid memoir, it reveals the underbelly of fatherhood, as only Jim Gaffigan can.

By Jim Gaffigan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Jim Gaffigan never imagined he would have his own kids.

Though he grew up in a large Irish-Catholic family, Jim was satisfied with the nomadic, nocturnal life of a standup comedian, and was content to be "that weird uncle who lives in an apartment by himself in New York that everyone in the family speculates about." But all that changed when he married and found out his wife, Jeannie "is someone who gets pregnant looking at babies."

Five kids later, the comedian whose riffs on everything from Hot Pockets to Jesus have scored millions of hits on YouTube, started to…

Book cover of Romantic Comedy

Beth Morrey Author Of Clover Hendry's Day Off

From my list on books set in the world of television.

Who am I?

I worked in television as a development producer for twenty years, designing game shows, reality shows, formatted documentaries, all sorts of programming. One of the prerequisites of working in telly is to watch a lot of it, and that has always been a joy for me, as I love the medium. Even after I left the profession to become an author, I’ve retained my passion for the small screen and write a regular blog on what I’m watching. So, for me, a combination of books and television is something to be savored and celebrated. 

Beth's book list on books set in the world of television

Beth Morrey Why did Beth love this book?

There was a moment when everyone I knew seemed to be reading this book, and I just had to join the club. I’m glad I did; Sittenfeld’s portrayal of working in television comedy is so gripping and cool. In fact, I enjoyed that aspect of it so much I didn’t need the romance part!

But the relationship between Sally and Noah is so intriguing; it’s a kind of fantasy played out, and I willingly suspended disbelief as a reader that someone as famous, hot, talented, funny, and kind as Noah could exist. I want Sally’s celebrity boyfriend, AND I want her job.

By Curtis Sittenfeld,

Why should I read it?

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

Book cover of How to Find Your Way in the Dark

E.A. Neeves Author Of After You Vanished

From my list on slowburn mysteries for young adults.

Who am I?

Most people know the slowburn romance. A spark flickers at deliberate pace until finally passion ignites. But what about the slowburn mystery? As a reader and a writer, I’m drawn to mysteries that twine as a well-drawn character, usually an amateur sleuth, gets pulled into investigating some eerie event. These mysteries begin with a straightforward query, and as the sleuth digs, the mystery grows. The pace leaves room for well-developed subplots—often, in my favorites, a slowburn romance, too. I love a book where I can settle into the world while the story gathers steam. And in the end, when that slow flame finally blazes… Oh, it’s so worth the wait. 

E.A.'s book list on slowburn mysteries for young adults

E.A. Neeves Why did E.A. love this book?

Nine years is quite the slowburn. That’s how long it takes Sheldon Horowitz to achieve revenge for his father’s murder in Derek B. Miller’s dark comedy thriller How to Find Your Way in the Dark.

Of course, a lot of other things happen throughout the course of what is arguably more of a coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of World War II than “YA,” but what hooked me in this story was Sheldon’s tenacity as he grows up, doggedly determined to find out who killed his father and why. The misadventures he gets into as a result, along with his cousins and best friend, are simultaneously bumbling and thrilling.

By Derek B Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Find Your Way in the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



"[Miller’s] character portraits are indelible, often heartbreaking. At times this novel moved me to tears, the highest possible compliment.”

—New York Times Book Review

With the wit and scope of Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Derek B. Miller tackles his most ambitious epic yet. At its heart is the return of Sheldon Horowitz, the protagonist from Miller’s award-winning first novel, Norwegian by Night, who was lauded by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Richard Russo as “one of the most…

Book cover of Stand-up Paddleboarding in Great Britain: Beautiful places to paddleboard in England, Scotland & Wales

Jacqui Furneaux Author Of Hit the Road, Jac!: Seven years. Twenty Countries. No Plan

From Jacqui's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Motorcyclist Optimist Word lover Swimmer Handy

Jacqui's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Jacqui Furneaux Why did Jacqui love this book?

If I didn’t already own a paddle board, I would have to acquire one, having picked up this book. Jo has explored the rivers, lakes, lochs, canals, harbors, coasts, and beaches of England, Scotland, and Wales and discovered ideal waterways for paddleboarding.

The photographs are tempting enough, but her sheer delight at the places she describes so beautifully drove me to make a list of places to visit on my motorbike. 

By Jo Moseley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stand-up Paddleboarding in Great Britain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stand-up Paddleboarding in Great Britain is the essential companion to anyone curious about one of Britain's most exciting water sports. Providing details on how to get started in stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) in a safe and environmentally friendly manner, this guide then suggests over 30 incredible places to SUP in England, Scotland and Wales.

Enthusiastic paddleboarder Jo Moseley captures the joy of SUP by weaving together her experiences with suggestions for your own adventures. These routes will inspire you to gaze at fell tops from Derwent Water, drift along the Afon Teifi, stroll along the Isle of Mull's Calgary Bay or…