2023 Funny Short Stories and Essays
Take a load off with this book list filled with knee-slapping, hilariously funny short stories from your favorite authors, actresses, comedians, and celebrities. From Gilmore Girl’s fast-talking Lauren Graham to Sex and the City PR guru, Samantha Irby, you will be LOLing at each turn of the page!
13 New Funny Short Stories and Essays That You Will Make You Laugh Out Loud:
by Aisha Harris
BEST READS OF 2023: New York Times Book Review – USA Today – The Skimm – Bookpage – St Louis Post-Dispatch / BEST HOLIDAY GIFTS 2023: Publishers Weekly / MOST ANTICIPATED READS OF 2023: ELLE
Aisha Harris has made a name for herself as someone you can turn to for a razor-sharp take on whatever show or movie everyone is talking about. Now, she turns her talents inward, mining the benchmarks of her nineties childhood and beyond to analyze the tropes that are shaping all of us, and our ability to shape them right back.
In the opening essay, an interaction with Chance the Rapper prompts an investigation into the origin myth of her name. Elsewhere, Aisha traces the evolution of the “Black Friend” trope from its Twainian origins through to the heyday of the Spice Girls, teen comedies like Clueless, and sitcoms of the New Girl variety. And she examines the overlap of taste and identity in this era, rejecting the patriarchal ethos that you are what you like. Whatever the subject, sitting down with her book feels like hanging out with your smart, hilarious, pop culture-obsessed friend–and it’s a delight.\
by Lauren Graham
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – From the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and the New York Times bestselling author of Talking as Fast as I Can comes an “insightful, honest, funny, and moving collection of captivating stories” (BuzzFeed).
In her latest book, Have I Told You This Already?, Graham combines her signature sense of humor with down-to-earth storytelling. Graham shares personal stories about her life and career–from her early days spent pounding the pavement while waitressing in New York City, to living on her aunt’s couch during her first Los Angeles pilot season, to thoughts on aging gracefully in Hollywood.
Filled with surprising anecdotes, sage advice, and laugh-out-loud observations, these all-new, original essays showcase the winning charm and wry humor that have delighted Graham’s millions of fans.
by R Eric Thomas
In this collection of insightful and hilarious essays, Thomas moves back to his perpetually misunderstood hometown of Baltimore (a place he never wanted to return, even to be buried) and behaving completely out of character. They say you can’t go home again, but what if you and home have changed beyond recognition? From attending his twenty-year high school reunion and discovering another person’s face on his name badge, to splattering an urgent care room with blood à la The Shining, to being terrorized by a plague of gay frogs who’ve overtaken his backyard, Thomas provides the nitty, and sometimes the gritty, details of wrestling with the life he thought he’d left behind while trying to establish a new one.
With wit, heart, and hope for the future, Congratulations, The Best Is Over! is the not-so-gentle reminder we all need that even when life doesn’t go according to plan, we can still find our way back home.
by Lillian Stone
From one of the Internet’s favorite self-deprecating commentators comes Everybody’s Favorite, a laugh-out-loud essay collection that tackles the relentless pursuit of perfection while navigating growing up in the early 2000s.
Lillian Stone–childhood evangelical, AOL girlfriend, and professional nail biter is always living on the edge of anxiety. From the pitfalls of a girl plagued by religious trauma, the incomprehensible yet unforgiving need for perfection, and a poorly-behaved twenty-pound beagle, Everybody’s Favorite is a refreshing story of what it means to pick yourself when the world is telling you otherwise. Still navigating the ins and outs of adulthood, accompanied by an obsessive-compulsive disorder that’s become an exercise in self-acceptance and thus compassion, Lillian has become an expert in fighting the urge to be someone else’s idea of perfect. In this laugh-out-loud essay collection, replete with cringe-inducing touchstones of an early-aughts girlhood, Lillian Stone recounts her quest to be everybody’s favorite.
by London Hughes
From stand-up comedian, actress, and host of The Netflix Afterparty, London Hughes, comes an uplifting and raucously funny memoir to show you how to ditch the self-loathing, start the self-loving, and engage with your inner winner.
London Hughes has come a long way from secretly writing Frasier fan fiction alone in her bedroom. Between her breakout Netflix comedy special, To Catch a D*ck, her dating podcast “London, Actually,” and her award-winning TV performances, London the South Londoner has taken the entertainment world by storm. And now, in this sassy, brash, fearless, and funny memoir, London is ready to inspire women of all ages and races with her story–because London is absolutely the best person in the whole wide world to take you on a wild journey of self-discovery. As she herself puts it: “I’ve always been funny. I’ve always been cute. I’ve always been confident. I was born to do this shit.”
by Leslie Jones
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Hey you guys, it’s Leslie. I’m excited to share my story with you.
Now, I’m gonna be honest: Some of the details might be vague because a b*tch is fifty-five and she’s smoked a ton of weed. But while bits might be a touch hazy, I can promise you the underlying truth is REAL. Whether I’m talking about my childhood growing up in the South, my early stand-up days driving from gig to gig through the darkest parts of our country and praying I wouldn’t get murdered, what Chris Rock told Lorne Michaels, that time I wanted to shoot Whoopi Goldberg on SNL, and yeah, I’ll tell you all about Ghostbusters and the nudes and Supermarket Sweep and The Daily Show . . . I’m sharing it all in these pages.
by Fern Brady
After reading about autism in her teens, Fern Brady knew instinctively that she had it–autism explained her sensory issues, her meltdowns, her inability to pick up on social cues–and she told her doctor as much. But it took until she was thirty-four for her to get diagnosed.
Strong Female Character is about the years in between, and the unique combination of sexism and ableism that so often prevents autistic women from getting diagnosed until adulthood. Coming from a working-class Scottish Catholic family, Fern wasn’t exactly poised to receive an open-minded acceptance of her neurodivergence. With the piercing clarity and wit that has put her at the top of the British comedy scene, she now reflects on the ways her undiagnosed autism influenced her youth, from the tree that functioned as her childhood best friend to the psychiatric facility where she ended up when neither her parents nor school knew what to do with her.
Strong Female Character is a story of how being female can get in the way of being autistic and how being autistic gets in the way of being the ‘right kind’ of woman.
by Laura Belgray
USA TODAY BESTSELLER
From award-winning TV writer Laura Belgray, a hilarious collection of full-body-cringe, watch-through-your-fingers life lessons her own husband calls “loser Sex and the City.”
What does it take to grow up cool and popular, master adulthood, fast track your success, and always be your best? Laura Belgray wouldn’t know.
Her wildly relatable coming-of-age stories include hate-following her 6th grade bully on social media decades later; moving home post-college to measure her self-worth in hookups with Upper West Side bartenders; dating a sociopathic man-baby; proving herself in the early ’90s at New York’s coolest magazine (as the world’s worst intern); falling for get-rich-quick schemes on the Internet; and, most of all, saying “tough titties” to the supposed-to’s in life: driving a car, being on time, handing in your paperwork, learning to roast a chicken, and having kids.
Peppered with cutting insights on our confusing, self-helpy culture that calls hair removal “self care” and tells us to give our 110% but also to give zero f*cks, Tough Titties will leave you feeling better about, well, everything. Let’s face it: we’re all tired of shame-spiraling after being told what to do when we know we’re not going to do any of it.
Tough Titties is one big permission slip to be a dork, a sometimes-unspiritual slacker, a late bloomer and, ultimately, 100% yourself. It’ll also have you snort-laughing in public and tapping whoever’s nearby to say, “Lemme read you one more part!” Which is annoying, but tough titties.
by Bretman Rock
“This book is hilarious and that bitch made me laugh out loud.”–Chelsea Handler
Hilarious and earnest, this collection of essays, and never-before-seen photos goes far beyond what we know of Bretman Rock from social media. Who is Bretman Rock Sacayanan behind the screen and how did he become the original superstar influencer and today’s beloved best friend of the internet?
You’re That Bitch welcomes you into Bretman Rock’s world–from how his childhood in the Philippines, his family, Filipino culture, and being a first-generation immigrant helped shape him into who he is today. Peek into how Bretman became a social media sensation at the precocious age of 14, balancing living a glamorous jet-setting lifestyle on weekends while still serving lunch at his school’s cafeteria, running as a varsity track-star, and making honor roll during the week. With his signature honesty, this is an unfiltered and unprecedented look at what it means to be one of the first digital celebrities and that bitch—from dealing with cancel culture, drama and heartbreak, to what it means to love yourself and your community.
From the funniest and undeniably cutest person on the internet, this is a book for the weirdos and for the bad bitches . . . this book is for you!
by Ziwe Ziwe
Ziwe made a name for herself by asking guests like Alyssa Milano, Fran Lebowitz, and Chet Hanks direct questions. In Black Friend, she turns her incisive perspective on both herself and the culture at large. Throughout the book, Ziwe combines pop-culture commentary and personal stories, which grapple with her own (mis)understanding of identity. From a hilarious case of mistaken identity via a jumbotron to a terrifying fight-or-flight encounter in the woods, Ziwe raises difficult questions for comedic relief.
From the New York Times bestselling author of How Do I Un-Remember This? and host of the hit podcast Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino comes a collection of tragically hilarious holiday mishaps.
For many families, the holiday season is–quite frankly–unhinged. Whether that involves inappropriately improvised monologues at the children’s Christmas pageant, gifts that land someone in the emergency room, or just sitting through the emotional rollercoaster of a Hallmark movie marathon, the holidays are a chaotic and magical time. And nobody knows this better than Danny Pellegrino.
So grab your favorite winter beverage, snuggle up by the crackling fireplace, and turn up the holiday tunes from the pop diva of your choosing. In addition to comedy, The Jolliest Bunch is a healthy dose of holiday cheer to prepare you for the unhinged season ahead and remind you of the moments that make all the chaos worth it.
by Samantha Irby
Samantha Irby’s career has taken her to new heights. She dodges calls from Hollywood and flop sweats on the red carpet at premieres (well, one premiere). But nothing is ever as it seems online, where she can crop out all the ugly parts.
Irby got a lot of weird emails about Carrie Bradshaw, and not only is there diarrhea to avoid, but now–anaphylactic shock. She is turned away from restaurants for being inappropriately dressed and looks for the best ways to cope, i.e., reveling in the offerings of QVC and adopting a deranged pandemic dog. Equally important as the plot itself, Quietly Hostile makes light as Irby takes us on another outrageously funny tour of all the gory details that make up the true portrait of a life behind the screenshotted depression memes. Relatable, poignant, and uproarious, once again, Irby is the tonic we all need to get by.
by Alexandra Petri
Finally we share our 13th book. And we may have saved the best for last. Alexandra Petri’s US History contains a lost (invented!) history of America. (A history for people disappointed that the only president whose weird sex letters we have is Warren G. Harding.) Petri’s “historical fan fiction” draws on real events and completely absurd fabrications to create a laugh-out-loud, irreverent takedown of our nation’s complicated past.
On Petri’s deranged timeline, John and Abigail Adams try sexting. The March sisters from Little Women are sixty feet tall. Next, Susan Sontag goes to summer camp. Nearly eighty short, hilarious pieces span centuries of American history and culture. Ayn Rand rewrites The Little Engine That Could. Next, Nikola Tesla’s friends stage an intervention when he falls in love with a pigeon. The characters from Sesame Street invade Normandy. And Mark Twain offers a detailed account where he becomes a zombie.
Love this New Funny Short Stories and Essays for your TBR list? Create an account on bookfinity.com and create, share, or follow other book lists like this! Want more book lists? Check out these self-published poets for personal inspiration!