Black, White and Read: funny people writing funny memoirs

David Sedaris, Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling bring a personal touch to their written work.

As college students, sometimes we can get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of mundane textbooks we have to read. A light book about everyday life can be a perfect solution, and the memoirs of comedians often have just the right balance of comedy and sincerity. Here are three of my favorite funny memoirs that can be used as a pick-me-up, a distraction or anything in between.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

David Sedaris is one of my favorite comical writers. His easy, wonderful style of humor has made him well-known for both his contributions to The New Yorker and his autobiographical essay collections, like “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” This collection of stories has horrible reviews on Goodreads, with many readers calling him “bitchy” or “bitter,” but these qualities are what make his writing so good. His wry humor is dry in a completely undercutting way. This book is a collection of stories from Sedaris’ perspective about what he has gone through and weird things that have happened to him. It doesn’t exactly have an overarching message, but it shows how Sedaris can find humor in everyday situations. This is the kind of book that probably isn’t good to read in public because you’ll embarrassingly laugh out loud, like I did. Although some of his vignettes drip in sarcasm and some are a little gross, this book is a testament to humor in the simple stories of daily life.

Bossypants by Tina Fey Tina Fey is a great human being and an even better comedian. She’s funny without being gimmicky and finds her own unique way to express herself in a world of a million comedians. Besides the cover of this memoir (Tina Fey’s face on a large man’s body has always creeped me out a little), the book is an inspirational and totally fun read. Filled with great advice presented in a funny package, Fey creates a way to lead girls in a positive, self-loving direction without any patronization. One of the quotes that stuck out to me was “You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.” This book is sweet and hilarious, but also an important read for women (and everyone else, too). In particular, Fey emphasizes that women should “do your thing and don’t care if they like it,” and “If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?”

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Funny girl Mindy Kaling wrote an exceptionally great memoir on top of creating, producing and starring in her killer TV show “The Mindy Project”. “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns),” in addition to having a super long title, is a hilarious novel that applies to the nerdy, awkward sides to all of us. While some people may be more awkward than others (me, for example), Kaling’s anecdotes are universally witty and truthful. This book seriously makes me want Kaling as my best friend. Where most comedians get away with dark humor at others’ expense, Kaling’s humor is laugh-out-loud hilarious, but still kind with a lot of heart. The book is very conversational, like you’re with her chatting over a great cup of coffee. Her anecdotes, from her off-Broadway stint as Ben Affleck in “Matt & Ben” to her opinions on one-night stands, never seem to fall flat. Kaling, while speaking about her awkward experiences as a kid and an adult, makes herself completely relatable and absolutely awesome.

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