Funniest Novels of All Time

Humor isn't just what you see on YouTube or SNL. In fact, some of the funniest books stand the test of time for decades --or even centuries.
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flag this list (?)
1,122 books · 1,850 voters · list created May 23rd, 2010 by Kelly (votes) .
311 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Kelly 1219 books
139 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 2971 books
737 friends
Bettie☯ 14270 books
249 friends
Devan, Sarcasm Expert 567 books
42 friends
Morgan 36 books
0 friends
Dixie 505 books
133 friends
David 1857 books
524 friends
oliviasbooks 2720 books
160 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited May 23, 2010 11:53AM) (new)

Technically, Innocents Abroad is not really a novel. I had Twain's Letters From The Earth, Roughing It and A Pen Warmed Up In Hell on my list, then I realized this was a list for novels. :D


message 2: by Kelly (last edited Aug 09, 2012 07:35AM) (new)

Kelly It's a novel, more so than some of the others. The main narrator is extremely Twain-like, no doubt, but fictionalized. Same with the Jerome K. Jerome books -- autobiographical, but presented as fiction.

I think if you can make a case for it, no harm in it being here!

Thanks for removing the more blatantly non-fic ones, though.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I love that Three Men In A Boat is public domain and free to download or read online. I'm re-reading it now, it's been over 20 years since I last read it.


message 4: by Kelly (new)

Kelly That's how I discovered it. My sister made me read the "Harris sings a comic song" section --still my favorite.


message 5: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Just added Moby Dick. The humor in it is underrated. I laughed out loud several times, starting in the beginning when Ishmael says he has to go to sea, and his only other choice is to walk around town knocking people's hat's off.


message 6: by Kylee (new)

Kylee How can moby-dick possibly be funny? I only read the first five chapters before getting so bored that I fell asleep


message 7: by Foxontherun (new)

Foxontherun Three Men in a Boat is such a funny, wonderful novel. I'm so glad its public domain now so more people are reading it!


message 8: by Louise (new)

Louise Does anyone else like the books by Robert Rankin and Tim Dorsey? Their books belong here too.


message 9: by Louise (new)

Louise Oops, I just Robert Rankin at number 101.


message 10: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Could some kind editor remove the non-fic from this list? (David Sedaris, Sh*t my Dad Says, etc.)


message 11: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I removed a bunch of nonfiction and non-novels but I'm sure there's more on there.


message 12: by Miche (new)

Miche How come Pop.1280 by Jim Thompson isn't here?


message 13: by Booklovinglady (last edited Feb 04, 2015 12:06AM) (new)

Booklovinglady I know I'm being repetitive when I mention my favourite Georgette Heyer books, but I can't help it... They are so funny... :-) Most of her books are, but the four I've voted for are my favourites.

Most erotica can make me grin, or sometimes even laugh, as I can't possibly take it seriously :-) A Dangerous Lady really is a fun read, for instance.

And I've added Tegenvoeters, een reis door Australië (In a Sunburned Country) 'cause that made me laugh too.


message 14: by Liam (new)

Liam Glad to see Cat's Cradle in top 10, I laughed at every chapter and there was a heckuva lot of them


message 16: by Gerald (new)

Gerald "The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks" by Donald Harington certainly deserves to be on this list. Bawdy, quirky, and earthy, the book may not be best for those easily offended. I found it to be hilarious.


message 17: by Debbie (new)

Debbie I haven't actually read the book, but if it is fairly true to the movie how in the world does anyone call "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" one of the top 100 FUNNIEST books? There is some humor, but it ends up mostly sad and depressing.


message 18: by Charles (new)

Charles Joyce I don't understand how Pride and Prejudice can be on this list (yes it's a great book, but funny?) and The Rosie Project is not on the list.


message 19: by Booklovinglady (last edited Aug 07, 2015 01:27PM) (new)

Booklovinglady Charles wrote: "I don't understand how Pride and Prejudice can be on this list (yes it's a great book, but funny?) ..."

Jane Austen had a (very) sharp pen and the book is exceptionally well written. It is this sharp pen of hers that makes the story in Pride and Prejudice witty, funny, or whatever you like to call it. Even though I've read the book more than once, some of Mr Bennet's remarks can still make me laugh. Or, on a completely different level, Mrs Bennet's remarks, for that matter. Or the hehaviour of Mr Collins. And so on.

So Pride and Prejudice not funny? Sorry, but I have to disagree, because to me it definitely is...


message 20: by Jennie Elford (new)

Jennie Elford Seeing "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" on here made me laugh out loud just remembering what fun it was! Is it possible to vote twice... three times... ten times... for the same book?


message 21: by Greg (new)

Greg Booklovinglady wrote: "Charles wrote: "I don't understand how Pride and Prejudice can be on this list (yes it's a great book, but funny?) ..."

Jane Austen had a (very) sharp pen and the book is exceptionally well writte..."

Booklovinglady, I didn't get how funny "Pride and Prejudice" really is on the first read, but that was in high school, time was limited. I'm now semi-retired, and actually took the time to read it. The comedy is very subtle and easy to miss. Austen takes time, but it's worth every minute.


message 22: by Donna (last edited Sep 20, 2015 06:12PM) (new)

Donna Davis 1 duplicate found and removed. Also, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight fell off the second page (#176) for not being a novel. It's a great children's picture book though. Also, removed from #144 for being a play, not a novel: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... Lysistrata. Likewise, Much Ado About Nothing is a play, and it is poetry, but what it is not is a novel, and so it is gone from #68. And from #367 I removed Confessions of a Prairie bitch, which while savagely funny is a memoir or an autobiography, but not a novel. Also, from #240, Groucho Marx's autobiography https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... has been removed for not being a novel.

Also, I'd like to advocate for Garrison Keillor and Donald Westlake. The latter was buried in the back, for the most part, and so I voted for him, and the former I had to add except for one buried title. In addition, I can't figure out why nobody else put Sue Grafton's X on this list. If you'd like to vote for any of these, they are way at the back of the list, along with one of of Alexander Graham McCall's Botswana series.


message 23: by Mary (new)

Mary all stephanie plum books are good cant wait for the next one the numbers or inbetween the numbers by janet evanovich


message 24: by Joan (new)

Joan Walker I just finished Dirty Secrets of the World's Worst Employee by Jenn Sadai and it was so much funnier than I thought it would be. It made me laugh out loud and gave me a sneak peek at what the working world holds in store.


message 25: by Meels (new)

Meels When has anything by Steinbeck been funny?


message 26: by Donna (last edited Oct 20, 2015 04:36PM) (new)

Donna Davis What is a novel? Well, it's not a play. It's also not a children's picture book. Winnie the Pooh skirts the ragged edge, but I will leave it for Goodreads employees to consider. What I do know is that memoirs, which are also not novels, such as Tina Fey's (very funny) Bossypants https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9... and Amy Poehler's Yes Please https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2..., are leaving. Also, the late, great Erma Bombeck's https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...
is very funny, but it is either a memoir or a collection of her columns; neither constitutes a novel. Gone.
Napalm and Silly Putty, by George Carlin, is a series of essays, and considered hilarious by many, but it is not a novel:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5...
Gone. And The Importance of Being Earnest is a play, a play, a play, not a novel:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9...

The Monster at the End of this Book, a Little Golden Book, is not a novel, and is gone from page 3:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...

What is it that permits people to find free time to vote on a listopia, and the attention span to read entire books, yet permits them to skim a very, very brief subtext stating its rules, and instead home in on just one descriptor: "Funniest..."

The system found and deleted 1 duplicate, also.

#221, The Egg and I https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... nonfiction, memoir, gone.

And Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent, nonfiction/memoir https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2..., is gone from page 4.

Page 5, Shut Up and Eat Your Snowshoes, memoir, gone.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...


message 27: by Donna (last edited Oct 20, 2015 04:56PM) (new)

Donna Davis Perhaps you did not know there would be a test. Relax, I am sure you'll do fine. There's just one question.

1. Is a memoir, autobiography, or biography a novel?
a) no
b) no
c) no
d) no

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... deleted.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...
gone from back page.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6... gone


message 28: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis So now that I've knocked lucky 13 books from the list, I have a real question: is there a listopia for hilarious memoirs, autobiographies, and/or biographies? I was actually kind of sad to take some of these off the list, and would like to be able to vote for them in their proper venue. I don't mind starting a listopia (again, and again, and again), but I also know Goodreads staff has its hands full with lists that ought to be merged somehow.

I'm going to leave my question to simmer here for a few days, and come the weekend, if I haven't heard of such a listopia or found one myself, I will invent one.


message 29: by Booklovinglady (last edited Oct 21, 2015 04:21AM) (new)

Booklovinglady @Donna
I've deleted my vote for Pippi Longstocking #20, as you're right, it's a children's book. The book is still on the list though.

Something else which caught my attention is The Wind in the Willows #107. I haven't read it myself, but isn't that one a children's book too?

And finally, In a Sunburned Country #190. I've read the book and it is not a novel (so I've deleted my vote). It's more of a, very humourous, travel journal, or memoir if you like. It's still on the list though.


message 30: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Booklovinglady wrote: "@Donna
I've deleted my vote for Pippi Longstocking #20, as you're right, it's a children's book. The book is still on the list though.

Something else which caught my attention is [boo..."

The Wind in the Willows qualifies as a novel, imho. It is an illustrated novel, and its audience is most likely intended to be children, but whenever something skirts the edge, I leave it be. And yes, I gazed at Pippi several times, but it's a "chapter book"--meaning it isn't going to be one or two sentences per page with a picture, it's paragraphs--and I think that maybe (?) makes this a novel intended for children. I chose not to vote for it (though it is one of the funniest things I ever read as a kid) but also did not delete, because the subtext does not specify that children's novels are not allowed.

Now maybe I should google the word "novel" and see whether it is specifically an adult term.

Long story short, if there is any possible valid defense of a book's presence in the list, I just won't touch it. But I will go grab that travel book you mentioned, and thanks for the heads-up!


message 31: by Donna (last edited Oct 21, 2015 01:17PM) (new)

Donna Davis Deleted as nonfiction: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
and
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...
and yet another memoir, which I am sure is very funny, but is still nonfiction:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...

I've lost track of how many memoirs by Bill Bryson I have deleted from this list. I should read something he's written; I could use a good laugh. But it does not belong in a list of novels:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9...
And James Herriot. Some of the titles I am deleting are so beloved, so iconic, that I half-way expect a hand to pop out of my computer and smack me when I delete them. But once again, NOT a novel. And now I am more convinced than ever that we need a listopia for "Funniest Memoirs, Biographies, and Autobiographies of All Time".
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...
A collection of short stories and essays does not a novel make:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...
A graphic novel that is funny can be on this list, but a book of (savagely funny) cartoons, alas, cannot:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...
Straight up military history? Really?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5...
And, um...a book of children's poetry. Right.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...
Having lost my equanimity, I depart for now...for anyone else interested in cleaning this list, I quit on page 7. If you are not a librarian and see something that is definitely miscategorized, leave a message here along with (seriously) the # or even just the page# where it is found, and I will get back to it later. For now, my sense of humor is shot to hell, and surely that was never the purpose of this list, so I need a break. Ta.


message 32: by Donna (last edited Oct 23, 2015 01:06PM) (new)

Donna Davis Each of us needs something to look forward to. I promised myself that as soon as I give this list a good scrubbing, I will seek out, or start, a funny memoirs listopia. That said, I'm commencing on page 8, where I left off. The Odd Couple is a very funny play, not a novel, and it has to go: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...
At some point, I believe every single one of James Herriot's memoirs has been added. Here goes the last--at least I think so.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...
and a memoir by Dave Barry:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8...


message 33: by Donna (last edited Oct 23, 2015 01:23PM) (new)

Donna Davis If you are interested in voting for (and adding) funny memoirs, autobiographies, biographies, you can do that here:https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/9...


message 34: by Donna (last edited Jan 12, 2016 09:47PM) (new)

Donna Davis The system found and deleted one duplicate.
Removed for being nonfiction/memoir:
David Sedaris Me Talk Pretty One Day
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...
Bitter is the New Black
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, by Hunter S Thompson
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Back like a bad penny; I deleted James Herriot's memoirs last October, and now I am doing it again. A memoir is not a novel, not a novel, not a novel.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...
And again, a child's picture book is not a novel:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

I have gone over the first 6 pages and pulled out things that were obviously wrong. If the list is edited by someone else soon, you can probably start from page 7 with reasonable safety.


message 35: by Donna (last edited Jun 06, 2016 09:44PM) (new)

Donna Davis The Ransom of Red Chief is indeed very funny, but 32 pp do not a novel make. Gone from #125. Also, the system found and deleted one duplicate.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9...

The list's description does not preclude YA novels, but a child's picture book is not a novel. Picture books removed from page 1:

Winnie the Pooh
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9...

Go the Fuck to Sleep
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...
Listed as nonfiction; a short story collection; essay collection, and of course humor, but never as a novel, which it isn't, Woody Allen's Getting Even just got gone. It was on p.2
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5...


message 36: by Donna (last edited Jun 09, 2016 09:27PM) (new)

Donna Davis One more time...a memoir is not a novel. Oh, why do I bother saying it anymore? Clearly the individuals that make this error over and over are not reading the notes anyway. From #94, where it had mysteriously garnered 13 votes even though it had only 15 ratings, a memoir:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

From page 2, where 6 autobiographical essays will never be a novel:

Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...

Like a hamster on a treadmill, I once again find myself deleting a James Herriot memoir:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

Also from page 2, a series of autobiographical essays, Hyperbole and a Half
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

#274, Eat Pray Love, gone gone gone:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

#275 short stories by Jean Shepherd:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...

From page 4, more David Sedaris; more autobiographical essays:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...

I have this vision of a homeschooled kid who's been told their assignment is to think of 10 books to add to this listopia. Supervising parent or whoever opens up the list, shows them how to add books, and then walks off to play with the phone or eat some lunch. But if it was really an adult that put all those Captain Underpants books on the list, then I apologize to homeschooling families everywhere. Meanwhile, Shel Silverstein wrote children's books of poetry; how many ways is that not a novel? And it's gone from page 4 now:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...
And a book of plays is not a novel, not a novel, not a novel:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...


message 37: by Booklovinglady (last edited Jun 09, 2016 09:05PM) (new)

Booklovinglady Donna wrote: "One more time...a memoir is not a novel. Oh, why do I bother saying it anymore? ..."

:-) I have similar problems with a Dutch list. People keep voting for/adding books that aren't novels, even though the description and title of the Listopia clearly indicate they should be.


message 38: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Booklovinglady wrote: "Donna wrote: "One more time...a memoir is not a novel. Oh, why do I bother saying it anymore? ..."

:-) I have similar problems with a Dutch list. People keep voting for/adding books that aren't no..."

Right? Folks, if you're too drunk to drive, you're too drunk to listopia.


message 39: by Donna (last edited Jun 10, 2016 10:01PM) (new)

Donna Davis Back again. Perhaps this is how we know we're aging, when Friday night seems like a great time to drop into a listopia and clean up the misfiled books. Anyway, here we go, from page 3, a children's book:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...

And #513, How to Talk Minnesotan, is a humorous travel book, nonfiction, not a novel, and gone:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9...

In a moment of paranoia, I found myself wondering whether even as I deleted them, the same memoirs, picture books, short story collections, books of poetry, and plays were all being quietly added back onto the list, and so I zipped to the back page to check. I am ashamed of myself, and probably need to get out more. But I did find yet another memoir, I Don't Care About Your Band, which sounds amusing, but is still not a novel. There is a listopia for funny memoirs, however; I started it myself. If you have a hilarious memoir you're dying to vote for go here:
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/9...

Meanwhile, the link to the last-mentioned deleted title:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...

Also Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores, p.9:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

P.9, memoir: Riding in Cars with Boys
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...


message 40: by Person113 (new)

Person113 I had to add Slaughterhouse Five! That's probably the funniest book I've ever read! It's full of tragedy, but the best part about it is the comedy!


message 41: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis Person113 wrote: "I had to add Slaughterhouse Five! That's probably the funniest book I've ever read! It's full of tragedy, but the best part about it is the comedy!"

Agreed! I got onto the back pages to find it and add my vote, but I couldn't find it. If push comes to shove, I guess I could also add it, then go in and edit the list for duplicates, but if you know what page your vote landed on, that would be simpler. ...?


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