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Memoirs to Make You Laugh

  • Memoirs to Make You Laugh

Staying home and keeping our distance during this health crisis has many of us down.  Who couldn’t use a good laugh these days? Check out one of these comedic memoirs to give you a full belly laugh! This list was created by Deb, one of our Circulation Assistants.  Contact her if you know of a title that you think should be added.

For a printout of this list, click here: Memoirs to Make You Laugh

Yes Please

Amy Poehler

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central's Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy's one-liners? If your answer to these questions is "Yes Please!" then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like "Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend," "Plain Girl Versus the Demon" and "The Robots Will Kill Us All" Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.

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Love, Lucy

Lucille Ball

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The one and only autobiography by the iconic Lucille Ball, hailed by TV Guide as the “#1 Greatest TV Star of All Time.” Love, Lucy is the valentine Lucille Ball left for her fans—a warm, wise, and witty memoir written by Lucy herself. The legendary star of the classic sitcom I Love Lucy was at the pinnacle of her success when she sat down to record the story of her life. No comedienne had made America laugh so hard, no television actress had made the leap from radio and B movies to become one of the world's best-loved performers. This is her story—in her own words. The story of the ingenue from Jamestown, New York, determined to go to Broadway, destined to make a big splash, bound to marry her Valentino, Desi Arnaz. In her own inimitable style, she tells of their life together—both storybook and turbulent; intimate memories of their children and friends; wonderful backstage anecdotes; the empire they founded; the dissolution of their marriage. And, with a heartfelt happy ending, her enduring marriage to Gary Morton. Here is the lost manuscript that her fans and loved ones will treasure. Here is the laughter. Here is the life. Here’s Lucy... “The comic actress in her own words...intensley moving.”—San Francisco Chronicle “Filled with light and laughter.”—New York Times Book Review

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Hyperbole and a Half

Allie Brosh

FROM THE PUBLISHER: Every time Allie Brosh posts something new on her hugely popular blog Hyperbole and a Half the internet rejoices. Touching, absurd, and darkly comic, Allie Brosh’s highly anticipated book Hyperbole and a Half showcases her unique voice, leaping wit, and her ability to capture complex emotions with deceptively simple illustrations. This full-color, beautifully illustrated edition features more than fifty percent new content, with ten never-before-seen essays and one wholly revised and expanded piece as well as classics from the website like, “The God of Cake,” “Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving,” and her astonishing, “Adventures in Depression,” and “Depression Part Two,” which have been hailed as some of the most insightful meditations on the disease ever written. Brosh’s debut marks the launch of a major new American humorist who will surely make even the biggest scrooge or snob laugh. We dare you not to. FROM THE AUTHOR: This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative—like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it—but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book: Pictures Words Stories about things that happened to me Stories about things that happened to other people because of me Eight billion dollars* Stories about dogs The secret to eternal happiness* *These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

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Last Words

George Carlin, Tony Hendra

An autobiography that the late comedian nearly completed before he died chronicles his storied career, during which he pushed the boundaries of comedy and language and influenced several generations of performers. By the author of When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? 500,000 first printing.

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It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me

Rodney Dangerfield

An American comic icon tells the story of his second–act rise from obscurity to multimedia stardom. "When I was a kid," writes Rodney Dangerfield, "I worked tough places in show business––places like Fonzo's Knuckle Room. Or Aldo's, formerly Vito's, formerly Nunzio's. That was a tough joint. I looked at the menu. They had broken leg of lamb." For once, one of America's most beloved comic icons isn't kidding. Dangerfield has seen every aspect of the entertainment industry: the rough–and–tumble nightclubs, the backstage gag–writing sessions, the drugs, the hookers, the lousy day jobs – and the red–carpet star treatment. As he traces his route from a poor childhood on Long Island to his enshrinement as a comedy legend, he takes readers on a roller–coaster ride through a life that has been alternately touching, sordid, funny, raunchy, and uplifting – equal parts "Little Orphan Annie" and "Caligula." And unlike most celebrity autobiographers, he seems to have no qualms about delivering the unfiltered whole story, warts and all. Dangerfield's personal story is also a rollicking show business tale, full of marquee name–droppings (Adam Sandler, Sam Kinison, Jim Carrey, Johnny Carson, Jerry Seinfeld) and good stories about same. Defying the old saws about the fleeting nature of fame and the dearth of second acts in American life, Dangerfield transformed himself from a debt–ridden aluminium–siding salesman named Jack Roy to a multimedia superstar – and stayed an icon for decades. His catchphrase – "I get no respect" – has entered the lexicon, and he remains a visible cultural presence and perennial talk–show guest. Dangerfield's hilarious and inspiring musings should thrill comedy fans and pop–culture watchers, and his second–act comeback will strike a chord with readers of all stripes. Maybe he'll even get some respect.

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Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse

Phyllis Diller

You think I’m overdressed? This is my slip! No, I’m going to tell you the truth about what I’m wearing. I used to work as a lampshade in a whorehouse. I couldn’t get one of the good jobs. From housewife to humorist, Phyllis Diller made millions laugh for over five decades with her groundbreaking comedy. Boasting unique material, a raucous laugh, wild hair, the trademark cigarette holder, and garish clothes, this pioneer blazed a trail for comediennes during the fifties and sixties, leading them out of small dives into the kinds of top venues that had previously played host only to their male counterparts. While her routine broke new ground and opened doors to subsequent generations of female standups, it also served as a form of self-therapy amid a life steeped in tragedy and turmoil. Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse is Phyllis Diller’s own story about the struggle and the pain behind the comedy and the success: her Depression-era adolescence; her marriage to the chronically unemployed husband who inspired her most famous comic character, Fang; her desperate attempts to stave off poverty as a professional comic while raising five children; the disastrous club engagements that coincided with homelessness and separation from her young family; and the problems that clouded her stage and screen success when a second marriage unraveled because of her new spouse’s alcoholism and inner demons. Over fifty years after Diller’s professional debut as a standup comic, Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse describes her separate careers as an artist and as a piano soloist with symphony orchestras; her failed attempts to become a Playboy centerfold; and her outspoken attitude toward her extensive plastic surgery that earned her a special award from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. It’s quite a story.

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Girl Walks into a Bar . . .

Rachel Dratch

In this side-splitting memoir, the former Saturday Night Live star recounts the hilarious adventures and unexpected joy of dating and becoming a mother when she least expected it-at the age of forty-four. Anyone who saw an episode of Saturday Night Live between 1999 and 2006 knows Rachel Dratch. She was hilarious! So what happened to her? After a misbegotten part as Jenna on the pilot of 30 Rock, Dratch was only getting offered roles as "Lesbians. Secretaries. Sometimes secretaries who are lesbians." Her career at a low point, Dratch suddenly had time for yoga, dog- sitting, learning Spanish-and dating. After all, what did a forty- something single woman living in New York have to lose? Resigned to childlessness but still hoping for romance, Dratch was out for drinks with a friend when she met John. Handsome and funny, after only six months of dating long-distance, he became the inadvertent father of her wholly unplanned, undreamed-of child, and moved to New York to be a dad. With riotous humor, Dratch recounts breaking the news to her bewildered parents, the awe of her single friends, and the awkwardness of a baby-care class where the instructor kept tossing out the f-word. Filled with great behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Dratch's time on SNL, Girl Walks into a Bar... is a refreshing version of the "happily ever after" story that proves female comics-like bestsellers Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler-are truly having their moment.

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American on Purpose

Craig Ferguson

In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark—as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer. To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: in 1993, the washed-up Ferguson washed up in the United States. Finally sober, Ferguson landed a breakthrough part on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, a success that eventually led to his role as the host of CBS's The Late Late Show. By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008, just before his command performance for the president at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.

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Bossypants (Enhanced Edition)

Tina Fey

This enhanced edition features excerpts from the audio edition of Bossypants, recently named Audio Book of the Year! Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy. (Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake! This Enhanced eBook experience also includes special audio clips from Tina Fey, speculation on what an eBook really is, a bonus section of new-to-you photos, interpretive drawings, and a chapter read by the author!)

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Dad Is Fat

Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan never imagined he would have his own kids. Though he grew up in a large Irish-Catholic family, Jim was satisfied with the nomadic, nocturnal life of a standup comedian, and was content to be "that weird uncle who lives in an apartment by himself in New York that everyone in the family speculates about." But all that changed when he married and found out his wife, Jeannie "is someone who gets pregnant looking at babies." Five kids later, the comedian whose riffs on everything from Hot Pockets to Jesus have scored millions of hits on YouTube, started to tweet about the mistakes and victories of his life as a dad. Those tweets struck such a chord that he soon passed the million followers mark. But it turns out 140 characters are not enough to express all the joys and horrors of life with five kids, so hes' now sharing it all in Dad Is Fat. From new parents to empty nesters to Jim's twenty-something fans, everyone will recognize their own families in these hilarious takes on everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to growing up in a big family ("I always assumed my father had six children so he could have a sufficient lawn crew") to changing diapers in the middle of the night ("like The Hurt Locker but much more dangerous") to bedtime (aka "Negotiating with Terrorists"). Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.

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Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

Chelsea Handler

THE EAGERLY AWAITED COLLECTION OF PERSONAL ESSAYS FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF MY HORIZONTAL LIFE When Chelsea Handler needs to get a few things off her chest, she appeals to a higher power -- vodka. You would too if you found out that your boyfriend was having an affair with a Peekapoo or if you had to pretend to be honeymooning with your father in order to upgrade to first class. Welcome to Chelsea's world -- a place where absurdity reigns supreme and a quick wit is the best line of defense. In this hilarious, deliciously skewed collection, Chelsea mines her past for stories about her family, relationships, and career that are at once singular and ridiculous. Whether she's convincing her third-grade class that she has been tapped to play Goldie Hawn's daughter in the sequel to Private Benjamin, deciding to be more egalitarian by dating a redhead, or looking out for a foulmouthed, rum-swilling little person who looks just like her...only smaller, Chelsea has a knack for getting herself into the most outrageous situations. Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea showcases the candor and irresistible turns of phrase that have made her one of the freshest voices in comedy today.

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Fresh Off the Boat

Eddie Huang

A Taiwanese-American rebel restaurateur chronicles his rise to success from his difficult childhood in the American South to his decision to embrace all he had learned about food in his father's restaurants and his mother's kitchen to create his own culinary identity.

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Robin

Dave Itzkoff

From New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff, the definitive biography of Robin Williams – a compelling portrait of one of America’s most beloved and misunderstood entertainers. From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations – all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed. But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. And in Good Will Hunting he gave an intense and controlled performance that revealed the true range of his talent. Itzkoff also shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression – topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews – and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.

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

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?” Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly! In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka. From the Hardcover edition.

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Jenny Lawson

Even when I was funny, I wasn't this funny' Augusten Burroughs, author of Running With Scissors Have you ever embarrassed yourself so badly you thought you'd never get over it? Have you ever wished your family could be just like everyone else's? Have you ever been followed to school by your father's herd of turkeys, mistaken a marriage proposal for an attempted murder or got your arm stuck inside a cow? OK, maybe that's just Jenny Lawson . . . The bestselling memoir from one of America's most outlandishly hilarious writers.

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Born Standing Up

Steve Martin

Steve Martin has been an international star for over thirty years. Here, for the first time, he looks back to the beginning of his career and charmingly evokes the young man he once was. Born in Texas but raised in California, Steve was seduced early by the comedy shows that played on the radio when the family travelled back and forth to visit relatives. When Disneyland opened just a couple of miles away from home, an enchanted Steve was given his first chance to learn magic and entertain an audience. He describes how he noted the reaction to each joke in a ledger - 'big laugh' or 'quiet' - and assiduously studied the acts of colleagues, stealing jokes when needed. With superb detail, Steve recreates the world of small, dark clubs and the fear and exhilaration of standing in the spotlight. While a philosophy student at UCLA, he worked hard at local clubs honing his comedy and slowly attracting a following until he was picked up to write for TV. From here on, Steve Martin became an acclaimed comedian, packing out venues nationwide. One night, however, he noticed empty seats and realised he had 'reached the top of the rollercoaster'. BORN STANDING UP is a funny and riveting chronicle of how Steve Martin became the comedy genius we now know and is also a fascinating portrait of an era.

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Harpo Speaks!

Harpo Marx, Rowland Barber

First published in 1961, this is the autobiography of Harpo Marx, the silent comedian of The Marx Brothers fame. Writing of his life before, during, and after becoming famous by incorporating lovely and humorous stories and anecdotes, Harp Marx tells of growing up in a rough neighborhood and being poor, being bullied and dropping out of school, teaching himself to read, write, tell time, and to play the piano and harp. He speaks of his close relationships with his family members, particularly his mother and brother Leonard (Chico), who would become his partner-in-crime on screen, and the profound effect that the death of his parents Sam and Minnie had on him. Filled with insider tales of his antics on and off stage, and the hard graft he and his brothers put into reaching their level of success, the reader becomes privy to a rare glimpse into Marx’ thoughts on everything and everyone he had the privilege of working with. The book reveals the friendships he forged and the blows he was dealt in show-business, and of his marriage to his wife, actress Susan Fleming, with whom he adopted four children and built a ranch on which they lived happily ever after, along with numerous animals. A thoroughly enjoyable read. “This is a riotous story which is reasonably mad and as accurate as a Marx brother can make it. Despite only a year and a half of schooling, Harpo, or perhaps his collaborator, is the best writer of the Marx Brother. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal “A funny, affectionate and unpretentious autobiography done with a sharply professional assist from Rowland Barber.”—New York Times Book Review “This is a racy autobiography by the mute Marx Brother with the rolling eyes, oversized pants and red wig who could send a glissando reeling over his harp.[...] It is enjoyable reading and polished writing...”—Kirkus Review

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Pryor Convictions and Other Life Sentences

Richard Pryor, Todd Gold

Richard Pryor's life story is one of the most controversial and shocking of any performer in American history. Raised in the bars and whorehouses of Peoria, where he gained first-hand knowledge of racism and hypocrisy, he toiled for years as a bland Cosby clone before finding his true voice as one of America's most brilliant comedians -- and one of its most profound, and profane, social critics. At the apex of his career -- one of Hollywood's biggest stars, and one of the most influential black men in the world -- it all came tumbling down in a maelstrom of drugs, multiple marriages, heart attacks, violence, and suicide attempts, finally ending in a notorious incident where he lit himself on fire while freebasing cocaine. Pryor Convictions tells the uncensored story of the man behind the myth. Written in Pryor's own words, this human and compelling account is like the man himself: raw, funny, fearless, and completely unforgettable.

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The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl

Issa Rae

The “brilliantly wry” (Lena Dunham) and “lovably awkward” (Mindy Kaling) New York Times bestseller from the creator of HBO’s Insecure. In this universally accessible New York Times bestseller named for her wildly popular web series, Issa Rae—“a singular voice with the verve and vivacity of uncorked champagne” (Kirkus Reviews)—waxes humorously on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits and black as cool. I’m awkward—and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things anyone could be. That someone was right. Where do I start? Being an introvert (as well as “funny,” according to the Los Angeles Times) in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. But when Issa Rae, the creator of the Shorty Award-winning hit series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, is that introvert—whether she’s navigating love, the workplace, friendships, or “rapping”—it sure is entertaining. Now, in this New York Times bestselling debut collection written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself—natural hair and all. The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is a book no one—awkward or cool, black, white, or other—will want to miss.

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Diary of a Mad Diva

Joan Rivers

Following up the phenomenal success of her headline-making New York Times bestseller I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me, the unstoppable Joan Rivers is at it again. When her daughter Melissa gives her a diary for Christmas, at first Joan is horrified—who the hell does Melissa think she is? That fat pig, Bridget Jones? But as Joan, being both beautiful and introspective, begins to record her day-to-day musings, she realizes she has a lot to say. About everything. And everyone, God help them. The result? A no-holds-barred, delightfully vicious and always hilarious look at the everyday life of the ultimate diva. Follow Joan on a family vacation in Mexico and on trips between New York and Los Angeles where she mingles with the stars, never missing a beat as she delivers blistering critiques on current events, and excoriating insights about life, pop culture, and celebrities (from A to D list), all in her relentlessly funny signature style. This is the Diary of a Mad Diva. Forget about Anais Nin, Anne Frank, and that whiner Sylvia Plath. For the first time in a century, a diary by someone that’s actually worth reading.

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Me Talk Pretty One Day

David Sedaris

A new collection from David Sedaris is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris has inspired hilarious pieces, including Me Talk Pretty One Day, about his attempts to learn French. His family is another inspiration. You Cant Kill the Rooster is a portrait of his brother who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers and cashiers with 6-inch fingernails. Compared by The New Yorker to Twain and Hawthorne, Sedaris has become one of our best-loved authors. Sedaris is an amazing reader whose appearances draw hundreds, and his performancesincluding a jaw-dropping impression of Billie Holiday singing I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weinerare unforgettable. Sedariss essays on living in Paris are some of the funniest hes ever written. At last, someone even meaner than the French! The sort of blithely sophisticated, loopy humour that might have resulted if Dorothy Parker and James Thurber had had a love child. Entertainment Weekly on Barrel Fever Sidesplitting Not one of the essays in this new collection failed to crack me up; frequently I was helpless. The New York Times Book Review on Naked

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