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Humor: Comedians

Updated: February 18, 2023

A selection of books by and about well-known stand-up comedians--some are political/social satirists and others are humorists.

Book cover for Braindroppings
Carlin, George.
Call Number: 817 C282-1
A collection of some of George Carlin's best work from the previous three decades. Carlin was a master of observational humor, and while some of his material was scatological or drug-related, Carlin was not interested in mere titillation, but used ribald humor to expose the defects of American society and exulted in the whimsical nature of the English language.

Book cover for How to talk dirty and influence people : an autobiography
How to talk dirty and influence people : an autobiography
Bruce, Lenny.
Call Number: 812.092 B887 1992
Originally published in Playboy magazine over a two-year period, Bruce's autobiography, while perhaps not strictly factual, is a sharp, entertaining and still-fresh take on a world that has not changed much in 50 years. Lenny peppers us with "bits" from his life: his days in the navy, how he met his wife Honey, his years of performing in strip joints before hitting the big time, swiftly followed by an endless series of run-ins with the cops for "indecency" and drugs. The drugs did him in, but at his best Bruce was brilliant, one of the first comedian/commentators to gleefully defuse the ugly intensity of taboos.

Book cover for In fifty years we'll all be chicks : -- and other complaints from an angry middle-aged White guy
In fifty years we'll all be chicks : -- and other complaints from an angry middle-aged White guy
Carolla, Adam.
Call Number: 817 C292
Politically correct--no! Funny, crude, rude, vulgar, sexist, and anything else that will have you fired for repeating quotes at work--yes! Adam Carolla, best known for Loveline, The Man Show, and ranting, gives his no-holds-barred opinion on everything that is wrong with society. Nothing is spared from being torn apart in his laugh-out-loud commentary on religion, politics, and the fate of the dying species--The American Male.

Book cover for New rules : polite musings from a timid observer
New rules : polite musings from a timid observer
Maher, Bill.
Call Number: 817 M214-2

Political satirist Bill Maher compiles some of his previous material plus some new material.

Book cover for Nothing's sacred
Nothing's sacred
Black, Lewis, 1948-
Call Number: 817 B627
Lewis Black is a political and social satirist who takes no prisoners. Nothing and no one is too sacred to be exempt from his sharp, cutting views of our world as he sees it. In this memoir he is quite fair, aiming his acerbic insights and humor at some of his own foibles and still getting big laughs along the way

Book cover for Pimps, hos, playa hatas, and all the rest of my Hollywood friends : my life
Pimps, hos, playa hatas, and all the rest of my Hollywood friends : my life
Leguizamo, John.
Call Number: 812 L521L-1
Did you hear the one about Leo? Arnold said what? Say again- -Kurt and Patrick fought whom? John Leguizamo lights everyone up in his hilarious book about his life and times as an actor. He gives wonderful details about his humble beginnings, his rise to stardom, and most recently being the highest paid Latino actor in Hollywood. Along the way he describes encounters with some of Hollywood's most talented and not so talented superstars.

Book cover for Pryor convictions, and other life sentences
Pryor convictions, and other life sentences
Pryor, Richard.
Call Number: 812.092 P973
Although it is more poignant than funny-ha ha, this autobiography by comedian Pryor is well worth a read. In his own unmistakable voice, we hear the story of his childhood in Peoria (where he was raised in a brothel run by his grandmother), his early days as a stand-up comedian and his freefall into fame, drugs and a series of disastrous relationships. Although he passed away in 2005, it seems that Pryor came out of it all a wiser, kinder man who never lost his edge.

Book cover for Zombie spaceship wasteland : a book
Zombie spaceship wasteland : a book
Oswalt, Patton, 1969-
Call Number: 812.092 O86
Patton Oswalt is known for his brainy, geeky, eviscerating stand-up, but this collection of essays shows a sweeter, more personal side, too. Or at least it does when Oswalt isn't taking the wind out of self-important Hollywood types, the trendiness of vampires, and wine snobbery, or unveiling the fall line of the Chamomile Kitten Greeting Card company. The book's title comes from Oswalt's idea that people are drawn to one of these three storylines when they're young, and that the storyline tends to stick throughout the course of one's life: zombies simplify things, spaceships leave them behind, and wastelands, well, lay waste to things. In case you were wondering, Oswalt says he is a wasteland.