Less than a year after admitting to sexual misconduct, comedian Louis C.K. returned to stand-up during a surprise set at New York’s famed Comedy Cellar. His performance and the angry backlash that has followed begs the question: Does Louis C.K. really deserve a chance at a comeback? After all, there are plenty of funny women out there who can make audiences laugh onstage, in film, and in their writing, no rape jokes needed.
It’s no secret than men dominate the world of comedy, and have for decades. But like any other industry, the world of comedy is brimming with women whose talent matches, and often exceeds, that of the more famous men. There are comedians like Ali Wong and Hannah Gadsby whose stand-up specials are both hilarious and thought-provoking. There are actresses like Kate McKinnon and Tiffany Haddish whose films are both comical and original. And there are, of course, authors like Maeve Higgins and Samantha Irby whose books are both incredibly well crafted and laugh-out-loud funny.
If you’re in need of a smile and you’ve run out of stand-up specials on Netflix, then pick up one of these nonfiction books by funny women and be prepared to laugh until your abs hurt.
'You're On An Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir' by Parker Posey
If you have every dreamed of having a conversation with actress Parker Posey, this book is your chance. In You're On an Airplane, the Dazed and Confused star opens up about everything from childhood and her rise to stardom to her craft and creativity. Witty, whimsical, and laugh-out-loud funny, this unique celebrity memoir will leave you in stitches.
'Nothing Good Can Come from This' by Kristi Coulter
Equal parts honest, heartfelt, and hilarious, Nothing Good Can Come from This is the debut book of essays from Kristi Coulter, who took the internet by storm with her stories of her life after drinking. An incisive and often uproarious, this feminist collection somehow manages to make readers laugh at and think critically about the booze-soaked world we live in.
'Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went from Being Afraid of Everything to Being Afraid of Most Things' by Courtenay Hameister
Who says anxiety can’t be funny? In Okay Fine Whatever, Courtenay Hameister chronicles the year she spent seeking out the experiences that terrified her, including 28 first dates, fellatio class, and a session with a professional cuddler. A heartwarming and humorous exploration of complacency, fear, and anxiety, this uproarious memoir just might encourage you to try out some of the things that scare you, too.
'There Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story' by Pamela Druckerman
From the author of the runaway bestseller Bringing Up Bébé comes another frank and funny investigation of an experience many of us will come to know: becoming a 40-something. With heart and humor, Pamela Druckman explores that in-between decade, when your doctor starts restricting your physical activity, your wardrobe can't include ironic outfits anymore, and you finally realize everyone else is winging it, too.
'Can't Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist' by Meredith Goldstein
Whoever said advice columnists have all the answers has never met woman behind The Boston Globe's Love Letters column. In this charming and candid memoir about life and love, Meredith Goldstein admits that even though it may seem like she has it all figured out on paper, she too is looking for insight, support, and community, just like her readers.
'Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else' by Maeve Higgins
At the age of 31, bestselling writer Maeve Higgins left her home in Ireland for New York City in search of something more, and in hopes of finding herself. Powerful, poignant, and pee-your-pants funny, Maeve In America is a hysterical memoir about her often awkward experiences becoming the adult she always wanted to be that readers from all over the can relate to.
'Just the Funny Parts: ... and a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boys' Club' by Nell Scovell
Whether it was on The Simpsons, Late Night with David Letterman, Murphy Brown, The Muppets, or one of the other dozens of projects she has worked on, writer Nell Scovell has probably made you laugh more times than you can count. Using that same signature humor in her fun and candid memoir, she opens up about her experiences as a woman who broke into the comedy's boys' club, how she made it this far in an industry that tried to keep her out, and how she made you laugh along the way.
'Choose Your Own Disaster' by Dana Schwartz
Adulting is hard and, when recounted by writer Dana Schwartz, it’s often hilarious, too. Filled with amusing anecdotes and earnest advice, Choose Your Own Disaster is an entertaining memoir all about growing up — or trying to, at least.
'Meaty' by Samantha Irby
Recently reissued, Samantha Irby’s debut essay collection is every bit as smart and funny today as it was when it was originally published in 2013. Featuring all-too-relatable stories about brunch, social media, dating, sex, poop, and, sometimes,a combination of all of the above, Meaty will leave readers in tears — the good kind.