View Full Version : Books that you think might cause you to die laughing

Lord Jubjub
2010-Oct-24, 02:03 AM
My first offering is a story that I read as a Reader's Digest Condensed Book. I read it a dozen times as a youth and was on the floor laughing several times even if it was the third or fourth time through.

Don Quixote U.S.A. A story of a clueless Peace Corps volunteer who winds up as president of a banana republic.

As a quick edit, let me also include the adventures of Jame Retief by Laumer. Especially the books written in the '60s and '70s.

mike alexander
2010-Oct-24, 04:47 AM
Not a contiguous novel, but Jean Shepherd's collections (especially In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories) have laid me out. Such memorable lines as:

"But southern Michigan was a long way from northern Indiana and the Olds was our only hope."

"He returned smelling of whisky and carrying a can full of gas so cheap you could hear it knocking in the container."

The man was a genius.

2010-Oct-24, 05:33 AM
The fantasy novels of Thorne Smith. To quote a review on his website "Mention the name Thorne Smith in social circles and you’re likely to get blank looks. Unless your audience is over the age of 50, most will assume you’re speaking of a television actress, semi-popular in the 1990’s. Yet the contribution of American Humorist Thorne Smith to popular culture over the last 75 years has had such an immense impact, it’s a shame very few recall his name."
I checked Amazon, found some were in print, and downloaded The Night Life of the Gods, in which a man learns how to turn living things to stone, and vice versa. Hilarity ensues.

Paul Beardsley
2010-Oct-24, 09:56 AM
Most of Douglas Adams' books (Hitch Hiker's Guide, Dirk Gently, The Meaning of Liff) have made me laugh out loud at various times, sometimes quite loudly and sometimes for a long time. The one occasion when I laughed so hard and for so long that it stopped being pleasant was about halfway through the last Hitch Hiker book, Mostly Harmless, back in 1992. It was the miserable section about the planet of the boghogs.

2010-Oct-24, 10:08 AM
The John Mortimer Rumpole books...

Frazer's Flashman books...

Booth Tarkingston's Penrod...

P.J. Wodehouse's Jeeves

2010-Oct-24, 11:06 AM
Bored of the Rings, by Harvard Lampoon, is the funniest thing I've ever read. It requires familiarity with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings to appreciate the humor.

Nowhere Man
2010-Oct-24, 12:47 PM
Aye, Bored of the Rings. And Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.


grant hutchison
2010-Oct-24, 12:56 PM
David Nobbs's The Death of Reginald Perrin is the only book that has ever made me laugh so much I got cramp in my abdominal muscles and face.

Grant Hutchison

mike alexander
2010-Oct-24, 02:48 PM
Aye, Bored of the Rings. And Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.


Oh, yes, BotR. "They followed the rising gorge that led to the next chapter." Also the Ballhog and the Thesaurus.

And the Doctor in Bat Country.

Excellent choices.

2010-Oct-24, 05:38 PM
Negligible Tales by Ambrose Bierce

2010-Oct-24, 07:46 PM
There are bits of Dresden and bits of Pratchett both. Mary Roach often makes me laugh out loud. Sarah Vowell.

2010-Oct-24, 08:58 PM
Dishwasher by Pete Jordan, it can be found in the travel section in most book stores. This book made me laugh out loud quite a few times.

2010-Oct-24, 09:01 PM
Oh, yes--that brings up Bill Bryson.

2010-Oct-24, 10:43 PM
At the risk of seeming obsessed (see my sig), Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes compilations.

2010-Oct-24, 11:00 PM
At the risk of seeming obsessed (see my sig), Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes compilations.

Absolutely! I'm a big Calvin and Hobbes fan too.

And if no one minds me mentioning some children's books, Don't Care High or The D-Minus Poems of Jeremy Bloom by Gordon Korman. :)

mike alexander
2010-Oct-24, 11:18 PM
Dave Barry has made me laugh out loud more times than I can remember.

2010-Oct-24, 11:40 PM
Pratchett and Adams, both already mentioned. Some religious texts too.

2010-Oct-25, 01:19 AM
I second Calvin and Hobbes and Dave Barry.

2010-Oct-25, 07:01 AM
I would have said Calvin and Hobbes too, but didn't mention comics...

How about Thurber (Walter Mitty, etc...)....

Ivan Viehoff
2010-Oct-25, 10:28 AM
Several books by Tom Sharpe had me behaving inappropriately (by British standards) on the train. Although Porterhouse Blue and Wilt are perhaps the best known, I think it was the earlier South African ones like Indecent Exposure and Riotous Assembly that personally I found more amusing.

Donnie B.
2010-Oct-25, 05:59 PM
gzhcpu beat me to Thurber. I read and reread his stuff as a lad. There were some hilarious stories in My Life and Hard Times, like the time he spent a sleepless night obsessively trying to remember the name of the town of Perth Amboy, NJ; or his relative who put covers over the wall sockets to prevent the electricity from leaking out, or "the day the dam broke". His odd little cartoons are great, too, e.g. The War Between Men and Women.

2010-Oct-25, 07:54 PM
There have been several, but the one that came first to mind is The Boss Is Crazy, Too by Mell Lazarus.

Another is Up the Organization by Robert Townsend.

Feel free to Google.

2010-Oct-25, 10:30 PM
Ages in Chaos by Immanuel Velikovsky.

And I nearly did when I read it.

2010-Oct-25, 11:28 PM
[expletive] My Dad Says by Justin Halpern.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing about the book-inspired television pilot starring William Shatner that aired recently.

Lord Jubjub
2010-Oct-25, 11:53 PM
Ages in Chaos by Immanuel Velikovsky.

And I nearly did when I read it.

I really don't think he intended that effect. :whistle:

2010-Oct-26, 12:09 AM
Dave Barry has made me laugh out loud more times than I can remember.

There is a black hole in my house that sucks up spoons and Dave Barry books. I've read History of the Millenium, Dave Barry Talks Back, and just recently I'll Mature When I'm Dead. The third was, IMHO the funniest; hysterics is a more accurate description. It's juvenile but he plots out the punchlines perfectly.

2010-Oct-26, 02:58 AM
Gary Larson's Farside comics.

2010-Oct-26, 05:04 AM
Roger Ebert's I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie and Your Movie Sucks. Yes, Great Movies III is a worthy book, and I want to own it at some point. However, I'd love another anthology of his negative reviews.

2010-Oct-26, 06:31 AM
Strangely my favorite humor books are by Robert Ludlum, "The Road to Gandolfo" and "Omaha", the adventures of General Hawkins and his lawyer Sam Devereaux.

One book I would love to reread is about a guy who relocates his family to the Alaskan outback, the scene I remember best was the family had a AMC Jeep JC5 air lifted in and it got lost! Every chapter had me giggling. Anyone remember the author or the name of the book?

2010-Oct-26, 06:23 PM
I found a few Carl Hiaasen novels humourous, my favourite being "Skin Deep". I'll second "Road to Gandalfo".

2010-Oct-26, 07:20 PM
I've found myself laughing that way at some Christopher Moore.

2010-Oct-26, 09:46 PM
Clive James, "Unreliable memoirs".
His first volume of autobiography, first years to his coming to the UK.
The billy-cart race, where all the lads in the neighbourhodd link their pram-wheel and wood carts together and set off down the steepest hill around.
The story is pure Chaplin or Laurel & Hardy, but his imagary is so vivid that it's book-droppingly funny.

Read it here: http://www.cyfarthfahigh.merthyr.sch.uk/English/KS3/Year%207/The%20Turbulent%20Term%20of%20Tyke%20Tyler/Billycart%20Hil.doc
(If it asks for 'authentication', just cancel, and it'll come up)
And if you can, when you have your breath back, answer the comprehension Qs from that school exercise. No Shakespeare for the kids of Merthyr Tydfil!

2010-Oct-27, 01:31 AM
Based on the online excerpts I've seen, Garfield Minus Garfield might just cause me to die laughing should I ever find a copy.

2010-Oct-28, 04:13 AM
The first time I read Snow Crash, I can't remember how many times I cried laughing.

Any of the first four Hitchhiker's Guide novels.

Ivan Viehoff
2010-Oct-28, 09:45 AM
Clive James, "Unreliable memoirs".
I'll second that and raise you Frank O'Connor's autobiographical descriptions of his childhood, found in various stories and books, but most notably the short story "My oedipus complex".

Also Roddy Doyle's "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha", which is a novel but I take as having an autobiographical component.

But best of all Spike Milligan's autobiographical trilogy of the war years, especially the first volume "Adolf Hitler - My part in his downfall". I also remember the fourth (!) volume "Mussolini - His part in my downfall" with affection.

2010-Oct-30, 05:21 PM
My earlier post should have been Skin Tight by Hiaasen. Clearly I was thinking of a Stranglers tune with my earlier posting. ;)