The best comedians are the ones who write their own material. However, not all great comedy can fit in a comic’s limited amount of stage time. So here are 12 essential books written by comedians, in no particular order. You’re going to want to read these.
12. America: The Book by writers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
This extremely dense tome in school textbook form, released in 2004, was a brilliant way to satirize the American educational system as much as the show itself does for the media.
11. I Drink for a Reason by David Cross
This 2009 book collected some of Cross’ writings in other media as well as a heady mix of fake memoirs and real ones, including this heartfelt examination of a devastating breakup.
10. Sleepwalk With Me & Other Painfully True Stories by Mike Birbiglia
The lovably weird Birbigs turned his somnambulism affliction and relationship problems into a passion project, including a one-man show, a memoir and a critically-acclaimed indie film.
9. Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt
If any comic needed to write a book, it’s Oswalt, a man who thrives on interesting wordplay and literary references, and his memoir is a deep-dive into his life of stifling suburbia giving way to pop culture obsessions and irrepressible creativity.
8. American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson
The self-proclaimed “late night talk show douche” may not be a late night talk show douche for much longer, but this book – a moving recollection of his devastating addiction issues, and the one time he forgot to commit suicide – proves that he’s got a lot more going for him than your average late night talk show douche.
7. The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee by Sarah Silverman
Silverman’s confession that she chronically wet her bed until her mid-teens casts a new light on her scatological obsessions, and her book recounts her struggles with that as well as the goofiness of her family.