I really like Paul Feig (director of Bridesmaids and many Arrested Development episodes). I know that whenever he writes or directs or produces something, it's going to line up with my own comedic sensibilities. I've found that this is also true about the company he keeps. A small community of like-minded writers and creators emerged (Greg Daniels, Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller, David Gordon Green, Seth Rogen, Mitch Hurwitz, Jason Segel, Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg), and so now I know that, if any of those guys does something, I'll probably like it. I can rely on the Apatow Company to consistently churn out stuff that usually matches the kind of stuff I like.
Uh ... mostly.
There is nothing like that for comedic novels. As hard as I've looked, I haven't found anything close to what I would consider to be a "production studio" for books that all fall under the same general category of comedic taste. There's no "Apatow Company" for books, or a series of novels that have "Produced by Edgar Wright [or] Paul Feig" stamped on the cover. Why is there an Oprah Book Club and not a collection of novels that Bill Murray likes? I can and do follow individual authors and keep a lookout for what they're doing, but I'm faster at reading books than these authors are at writing them (but, like, barely), so there's usually a lot of waiting around on my end. I can read a new Christopher Moore novel and then wait a year or two until he writes another one, or I can just wander around the bookstore hoping I randomly stumble upon a new hilarious author the way I randomly stumbled upon Moore several years ago.
I Googled "Funny Books," and this was the top result:
"Those blonde jokes are clean AND short, you say? Sign me up!"
Most "Hilarious Novel" lists you'll find online stick almost exclusively to books published in the early 1900s (at the absolute latest), like they get extra credit for citing obscure older books that are usually less "hilarious" and more "surprisingly not dated" (I don't care how many New Yorker "Funniest Novels of All Time" lists it appears in, Tristram Shandy is not a fucking funny book).
So what, then? What's a guy supposed to do when he runs out of Douglas Adams novels? I want a book as funny as Arrested Development, a book that I have to put down because I'm laughing too hard, with quotes that I want to share with my friends (I'm not very cool and have few long-term friends). Hilarious books should not be this hard to find.
In an effort to fix this problem and provide a home for hilarious novels, I'm going to leave a list of my favorites here, with the hopes that you all do the same in the comments.
Lamb -- Christopher Moore (I've certainly mentioned it enough already)
Lucky Jim -- Kingsley Amis
Catch-22 -- Joseph Heller
John Dies at the End -- David Wong
A Confederacy of Dunces -- John Kennedy Toole
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul -- Douglas Adams
Most of Kurt Vonnegut's stuff
High Fidelity -- Nick Hornby
Any book featuring Philip Marlowe -- Raymond Chandler
That's all I can think of right now. What about you guys?
Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's Senior Writer (ladies), and would love to write funny books for the people (the people).
For more from Dan, check out My Brief Time as a Crewmember Aboard the USS Enterprise and Storyboards from Michael Bay's The Great Gatsby.