Phew. That was a long election season. And whatever your feelings about the outcome, I think we can all agree that as a nation, we sure could use a laugh. I’m talking about one of those cathartic, can’t control it, stress-relieving giggling fits. So, even though the next election cycle has really been in swing for months now (will it ever end? ever?), let’s all take this week to look at our friends, our neighbors, even our opponents, and remember that for all our differences, we’re still in this same absurd and exquisite experiment together, and let’s all laugh for a bit. Not at anyone’s expense, but in honor of everyone’s humanity. Here’s a list of some of Orem Library’s favorite comedic works. Enjoy!
What’s Up Doc? Once, many years ago, I was working at a video store (for those of you born post-VCR, that’s how humans watched movies at home before Netflix, bluray, and even the DVs:-R and -D). I had heard of Love Story, so with my employee perk of free rentals, I took home this vintage classic to find out what all the hullabaloo was about. It was horrible. Ali McGraw’s wardrobe was adorable, but pretty much everything else about it was appalling in my view. When she turns all sick and doe-eyed to Ryan O’Neal and says, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” I almost barfed. Puh-lease. But, oh, what joy, what delight, what happiness filled my soul, when years later as I watched What’s Up, Doc? I was delighted when the incomparably funny Barbra Streisand turns to Ryan O’Neal’s Howard Bannister and says the same line. O’Neal’s response is worth the price of the ticket, but don’t worry, the laughs are pretty constant beginning to end. And bonus: Madeline Kahn.
It’s a Mall World After All by Janette Rallison: Charlotte is a bright teenager who fills her shifts at a mall department store with astute observations about the people around her. Things get a little crazy, though, when she observes her best friend’s boyfriend canoodling with a girl that is not her best friend. Somehow, said boyfriend turns the whole thing around on Charlotte, even recruiting his own best friend Colton to keep her so preoccupied he can carry on his duplicitous behaviors unrestrained. Charlotte is a heroine cast in the tradition of a Lucille Ball or a Carol Burnett. Smart, fun, and completely beset by hilarious, screwball capers. I laughed loudly more than once during the reading of this one.
How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely. I don’t remember much about this book because I read it a long, long time ago, but what I do remember is that I laughed so hard I think I broke my face. From the title, and from vague memory, it’s about a guy putting together best-selling formulas for what will make his novel famous and therefore make him rich and popular. I gave it to my husband last year to read purely on the memory that it was hilarious and he read it in a week and seconded the opinion, so there you go.
Winterdance by Gary Paulsen is hilarious. Last year I sent to a friend’s son to congratulate him on pulling up his grades and soon got a phone call from my friend. “I about fell off the couch, I was laughing so hard!” In addition to his writing success, Paulsen is an Iditarod racer, and this volume is an account of his training and racing dogs.
One of the first laugh out loud books I read was a romance by Georgette Heyer, Devil’s Cub. It starts out slow, but once the hero kidnaps the heroine, and subsequently realizes he’s got the wrong girl, the wit and the laughs flow.
Happy Gilmore (yes, it is me writing this, yes, Happy Gilmore, and I’ll toss in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective while I’m vulnerable). -From our favorite Media Librarian James. I love that he goes to Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey when he’s vulnerable.
While I am not a huge Mel Brooks fan, I think he hit comic gold with Young Frankenstein.
Newhart was probably my favorite tv show during my college years. Bob Newhart is incredibly funny, playing a sane man with an insane world of zany people revolving around him. Sometimes, I feel I can relate.
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, and honestly anything by him can be hilarious. The Discworld novels, of which The Wee Free Men is the first, feature Tiffany Aching, witch-in-training. Her sticky little brother has been spirited away into an alternative world by an evil queen. Tiffany must get him back armed with her wits, a frying pan, a talking toad, and the Nac Mac Feegle: a clan of heavily tattooed, 6-inch, sheep-stealing blue men who enjoy nothing more than drinking, faux-cussing and brawling. Classic quotable lines throughout.
Patrick McManus is a national treasure. In They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They?, he takes on his favorite subjects: small-town living, “enjoying” the outdoors, and the humor to found in disaster.