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Pick me up!
November 29, 2010 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Cheer me up, mefites! I need a good laugh.

Sadly, life has been kicking me around a bit lately. I'm working my way through it, but I need some laughter to give me strength. I've seen some similar threads around here, but I have a few specific requests for books, movies, and TV shows -

Things I love:
- Cozy mysteries - I cannot get enough of these things. Elizabeth Peters, Alexander McCall Smith, Agatha Christie, etc.
- Funny or interesting books of trivia, history or lists.
- Cute stories about animals (no dying allowed!)
- Humorous sci-fi or fantasy, like The Middleman, The Eyre Affair, or Terry Pratchett
- General comedy that is older, or of an old-fashioned sensibility. There's a gentleness to some of the older comedies of manners that I have found very comforting lately.

Things I am not looking for:
Dark comedy or satire - normally I love it, but I recently sat down to watch the Daily Show and wound up bawling over the sad state of politics in the US. Pathetic, really.

Annoying romance - I am not opposed to a romantic plot line at all, but I'm not a fan the "spunky airheads and the brooding meatheads who adore them" genre.

Stories of people who triumph over terrible adversity - I would probably just start crying again, really.

That's about it. Hit me with all your ideas, and thanks in advance!
posted by backwards compatible to Grab Bag (73 answers total) 90 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you read all the Jeeves and Wooster books? Read them again.
posted by theredpen at 5:31 PM on November 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


And I'm sorry life has been kicking you around. Good luck!
posted by theredpen at 5:31 PM on November 29, 2010


You know, a lot of the Georgette Heyer Regency romances are laugh out loud funny, and they are definitely not about spunky airheads and brooding meatheads.

And have you tried Dorothy Sayers? She's a gem. Lord Peter Wimsey would cheer up anyone.
posted by bearwife at 5:32 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


What about a quick pick-me-up while you wait for the rest of the MeFite world to jump on it? Here is my favorite 81 seconds of YouTube's practical joke selection: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2EgHDX3Qo8
posted by Ys at 5:32 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and there are some sad stories among them, but James Herriot's animal stories (start with All Creatures Great and Small and go from there) are mostly upbeat and often, again, very very funny.
posted by bearwife at 5:33 PM on November 29, 2010


Hm... have you read any PG Wodehouse? He's got that Golden Age thing that I love about Agatha Christie, except he's full of flippant humour. I also like Dorothy L. Sayers for my cozy mystery fix. She's like a more literary Christie, but not in a way that makes you work to read it. (And I love Christie, so this is high praise from me.)

Good luck, and I hope you work through your funk soon!
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 5:33 PM on November 29, 2010


Or, what theredpen and bearwife said. :)
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 5:34 PM on November 29, 2010


Have you read Jonathan Ames? His books are newer but he's definitely got a fetish for the old-fashioned and they are extremely funny. I loved Wake Up, Sir! the most.
posted by something something at 5:36 PM on November 29, 2010


Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was both shockingly funny and terribly underrated.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:39 PM on November 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


- Humorous sci-fi or fantasy, like The Middleman, The Eyre Affair, or Terry Pratchett

The Spider Robinson books based around Callahan's Cross-Time Saloon, where shared pain is lessened and shared joy is increased and thus entropy is refuted.

- Cute stories about animals (no dying allowed!)

There's one of everything in James Herriot's books, so yeah sometimes the animals die. But even from those stories a warmth of spirit can be gleaned. When I want my heart full, I read something from one of the five big books. You might have better luck with no-dying stories in the Cat Stories and Dog Stories and Best Of collections.

- Funny or interesting books of trivia, history or lists.

I asked a question similar to this a few weeks ago, Show me your miscellany!
posted by carsonb at 5:40 PM on November 29, 2010


When I'm feeling depressed and want to get a nice little distraction, I tend to watch a lot of the following

Quite Interesting (or anything with Stephen Fry really, A bit of Fry and Laurie is also great)
Black Adder (although definitely avoid the series 4 finale if you're feeling delicate)
That Mitchell and Webb Look
The Red Green Show
Star Trek TNG (for the sci-fi nerd in me!)

or I read some of my favourite comfort-food novels:

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (even though it deals with catastrophe, its generally optimistic)
The Belgariad by David Eddings (really good lighthearted fantasy)


thats about all I can think of right now, but it's a start! Good luck!
posted by sarastro at 5:40 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your last criteria made me think: Have you ever read (or listened to) Wodehouse's Jeeves stories? They really are great.

Orwell, who is often considered the twentieth century's greatest English-language writer, thought Wodehouse deserved that title. Evelyn Waugh was also a huge fan.

Here is a list of Jeeves stories in chronological order. I cannot emphasize enough, however, that this is not necessary. You really can just jump in anywhere, just fine.

Here are the 5-star book recordings on Amazon.

The funniest/most interesting books of trivia, history or lists I've read are Cecil Adams' The Straight Dope series.

Finally, this doesn't meet any of your criteria, but I just finished (via netflix) working my way through the early-90s sitcom NewsRadio. Seasons 4-5 aren't that great, but as a confirmed sitcom hater, I couldn't believe how good seasons 1-3 are. Amazing ensemble cast -- Phil Hartman, Andy Dick, Joe Rogan, Maura Tierney, Vicki Lewis, Stephen Root, Khandi Alexander, Dave Foley) coupled with *really* sharp, funny writing. I had never realized what a comic genius Phil Hartman was.

Best wishes!

- AJ
posted by Alaska Jack at 5:43 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cozy mysteries don't get much cozier than Sarah Caudwell. I highly recommend her.

Also, Danny Kaye has magic cheering-up properties, as does Louis Armstrong. Put them together and you have some major mojo. Lovely duet of loveliness here.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:45 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I could've written this, and I was crawling the interwebs with the same idea tonight. McSweeney's works for me tonight -- maybe it's not what you had in mind, but it's cheeky enough for a few good chuckles, mostly without biting satire. There's also plenty of real and fake trivia to be found in its treasure troves.

Also, When Harry Met Sally is on Netflix Watch Instantly, along with White Men Can't Jump. (Last week's remedies.)

Good luck to you, and I hope things get better. Let us know when and where you find some cheer out there!
posted by swedish_fishy at 5:45 PM on November 29, 2010


This just cracked us both up over here.

Hope things improve for you soon.
posted by jerseygirl at 5:50 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I'm sad, which is often, I turn to this advice column from 2001. I don't know why it makes me laugh so hard, but it does. Scroll down to the second letter, from someone about a guy named Jack and a stolen can of tomatoes.
posted by JanetLand at 5:53 PM on November 29, 2010 [4 favorites]


I enjoy Laura Joh Rowland's Sano Ichiro books when I'm down or want some easy reading. They are mysteries set in Edo-period Japan. The "dectective," Sano Ichiro, always gets in deep trouble but always get out again with grace and panache and with honor restored.
posted by rw at 5:54 PM on November 29, 2010


First: What did the ocean say to the shore?
Nothing, it just waved.

For Authors, I love David Sedaris and Christopher Moore. They are both wry commentaries on modern society, with lots of silliness and quirky characters.

Cute overload also makes me very happy.
posted by annsunny at 6:00 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


A man returns to his home town for Christmas after a long absence. He goes for a drive around town and sees the cafe he used to frequent, so he decides to go in for breakfast. The menu has changed slightly so he picks something he's never had before...Eggs Benedict.

When the waitress comes by, he places his order. The waitress looks slightly annoyed and says "Are you sure that's what you want?"

"Yes, why?"

The waitress humphs. "Well, it's a lot of extra work. We have to serve it on a specially-made super-shiny platter."

"Why would you have to do that?"

She smirks, "That's simple. There's no plate like chrome for the hollandaise!"
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 6:03 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


How about the old Drew Archives?
posted by Blake at 6:06 PM on November 29, 2010


Something tells me you'd enjoy Keeping Up Appearances, a British TV series from theh '90s which is a bit corny but still pretty funny if you like light humor.
posted by Ashley801 at 6:14 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry to hear it. carson b has it right on the money - Spider Robinson's Callahan's and Lady Callahan series are fun, lighthearted, and to repeat, "Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased."

Avoid the later Callahan books, though. They ended up depressing me - but that's probably more that I loved... people use that word too freely, but I loved the early Callahan books. I discovered them when I was being kicked around. In fact, Spider has written that too many people write him to ask him where Callahan's bar is, so they can go there.

It's been a really long time since I've last been, but have you checked out Metachat? When I was there regularly, it almost felt kinda like a "real-life" Callahan's Bar, and at least a couple of years ago, people always recommended Metachat whenever someone posted an askme asking for emotional aid.
posted by porpoise at 6:25 PM on November 29, 2010


I never fail to be tickled by this "horse joke."
posted by Short Attention Sp at 6:28 PM on November 29, 2010


My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell (and a pile of other books by the same). Durrell was a professional animal collector, and these would be his stories of collecting animals as a young boy while his family went about it's business of being eccentric around him.

Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart (plus the sequels, 8 Skilled Gentlemen and Story of the Stone). As a diehard fan of Terry Pratchet, I guarantee you will find these delicious. They're fantasy romps set in ancient China. Think eastern fairy tales set off with a Pratchet-esque sense of humor.
posted by Ys at 6:30 PM on November 29, 2010


Billy Wilder flicks are tough to beat for this sort of thing: Some Like it Hot and The Apartment. For that matter, the AFI's top 100 comedy films is worth a look for others that might cheer you up.
posted by wheat at 6:33 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


This never fails to make me laugh.
http://www.amalah.com/photos/the_company_cookbook/index.html<a
posted by Linnee at 6:33 PM on November 29, 2010


I was just thinking about how I needed to check out whether there were any John Dunning Cliff Janeway (links to the most recent in the series) mysteries I hadn't read yet. Sadly, now that I check, I've read all of them - but if you haven't, I highly recommend them. A former cop turned antiquarian book dealer and "bibliophile detective," its hard to get cozier than that.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 6:35 PM on November 29, 2010


I giggle just thinking about Baby Monkey Riding Backwards on a Pig. I'm giggling right now, actually.
posted by scratch at 6:50 PM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Mapp and Lucia books are a series of satirical novels about a couple of upper-middle class British snobs living a small town during the 1920s and 1930s. The books are hilarious and I recommend reading the entire series.

There were also a couple of TV miniseries made from some of the books. You can get them on video, probably at Netflix.

For quick fix, there's this.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:52 PM on November 29, 2010


You might like James Thurber. Unfortunately there don't seem to be any really good references online, but your public library is bound to have one or two of his books. Definitely old-fashioned humor, but hasn't lost its gleam yet.
posted by scratch at 6:58 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you all so much! I'm laughing already. I'm going to check out all of these.
posted by backwards compatible at 7:06 PM on November 29, 2010


In the cozy-gentle-comedy-of-manners vein, you might check out Angela Thirkell. (Set aside any Anglophobia and PC-ness, though.) Lots of novels mostly set, interestingly enough, in "Barsetshire" - Anthony Trollope's invented county - only in the 1920s-50s, rather than in the late 1800s. I read Thirkell before discovering Trollope, kind of a bass-ackwards way of doing things, but Trollope's novels too are engaging and genial, though maybe too much in the saga-vein for what you want right now. Thirkell is lighter.

And nthing Wodehouse. OMG what a funny man. Most of the Wodehouse recording available on audible.com are fantastic. I'm partial to the Psmith books rather than Jeeves and Wooster, myself but everything the man wrote leaves me happier for having read or heard it.
posted by philokalia at 7:08 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Arrested Development... Possibly the greatest 3 seasons of television ever created. Ridiculously smart & goofy humor. So much better than Seinfeld.
posted by muirne81 at 7:12 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nthing Sarah Caudwell (emphatically!) and James Herriott. The BBC has a wonderful television series adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small, too.
posted by Spinneret at 7:17 PM on November 29, 2010


read the Thorne Smith "Topper" series. Very amusing. Also try his "Nighlife of the Gods." Quietly funny and thoughtful Great banter in the books.
posted by swmobill at 7:24 PM on November 29, 2010


Linnee, your link was broken. here is the correct one, I hope.
posted by annsunny at 7:46 PM on November 29, 2010


Pallas Athena, that Danny Kaye - Louis Armstrong video was wonderful! Thank you for sharing it. In the same vein, Danny Kaye's movie "The Court Jester" is funny and clever.
posted by booksherpa at 8:06 PM on November 29, 2010


I loved the audio version of Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods".

I've read "Sh*t My Dad Says" a number of times, when I need something that is just purely funny without any tedious or dark parts.

This is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:09 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spencer Quinn! Cozy mysteries narrated by Chet, a PI's loyal canine assistant.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:11 PM on November 29, 2010


My favorite 'anti-depressant' author is Lillian Beckwith, for her series of gently comic memoirs of life on a small Scottish island in the 1950s.

Other authors who help me exercise my smiley muscles:

Calvin Trillin
Sarah Vowell
Donald Westlake's Dortmunder series
posted by Corvid at 8:21 PM on November 29, 2010


Nthing Wodehouse, and I would add Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) (by Jerome K. Jerome) and Cordelia Underwood and Moosepath League sequels by Van Reid (Moosepath League motto: "Tolerance – Compassion – Curiosity – Humor")...funny and comforting and my go-to books for re-reading often.
posted by Emera Gratia at 8:23 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it time to acquaint yourself with (or revisit) the Thin Man movies? They're ostensibly mysteries, though that often seems to be just enough of a device to let William Powell and Myrna Loy do their thing. Their thing is usually a mannered comedy, with a good deal of wit. And Asta, their terrier, does adorable things.
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:27 PM on November 29, 2010


Marx Brothers movies. Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books and stories. Robert Lynn Aspirin's MythAdventure series. I don't know why, but this joke makes me laugh everytime I read it/hear it (make sure that you read it aloud and use the parrot voice during the appropriate lines. It kills).
posted by KingEdRa at 8:43 PM on November 29, 2010


Aww, I hope some of this will cheer you up! There's nothing like a good laugh. I usually turn to old movies to pick me up. I recommend The Thin Man. There's mystery, humor, and the incredible screen chemistry of William Powell and Myrna Loy. TCM's airing Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator in roughly 10 minutes.. nthing Some Like It Hot.. The Odd Couple.. Bringing Up Baby and Arsenic and Old Lace. So many great old movies that it's actually depressing to see what passes for 'humor' these days. Most everything that is produced for movies and television seems to be for people who have no brains and no sense of humor. If you like musicals, there are many clever ones that might perk you right up.. I like the Astaire and Rogers for melancholy nights and Singin' In The Rain. The familiar standards are the ones that help when times are tough.

Comedy: for older stuff, Bob Newhart. He's a National Treasure. The Bob Newhart Show is wonderful. His comedy albums are fantastic.

Television: Arrested Development, The Golden Girls.. I prefer old shows (with the exception of Arrested Development).. I've been watching The Wonder Years and Laverne & Shirley and that's certainly been a help for bad days. Then there's British humor, but I'd be here all night and I kind of have to get off-line right now..

Listen to Tom Lehrer! Watch or listen to Cole Porter penned-musicals.

Everyone has listed PG Wodehouse for a reason! I'm partial to the Mr. Mulliner stories, actually (namely 'The Truth About George,' 'The Smile That Wins,' 'Strychnine In The Soup', plus you might also like David Sedaris (and his wacky sister Amy who has a new craft book out) and Jean Shepherd. Also Kingsley Amis (Lucky Jim)

Another favorite pick-me-up is the James Lileks' The Institute of Official Cheer.

Uhmm.. The Muppets?! Good luck!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:56 PM on November 29, 2010


I'm so agreeing with A Walk in the Woods, David Sedaris, Arrested Development. I find that the TV show Psych, also on Netflix streaming, cheers me. And for sweet funny humor, the novella, The Pleasure of My Company, by Steve Martin.
posted by Ellemeno at 9:20 PM on November 29, 2010


Marx Brothers movies are a great bet. They always crack me up, especially Animal Crackers and Night at the Opera. Also, Cary Grant comedies ALWAYS perk me up, with my favorites being The Awful Truth and Monkey Business.

Oh, and The Dick Van Dyke show. Pretty much anything that involves Carl Reiner makes me happy. :-)
posted by I_love_the_rain at 9:35 PM on November 29, 2010


My favorite book for a laugh is "A Civil Campaign" by Lois McMaster Bujold. It's a romance/comedy of manners hidden in the middle of a sf series (it's a long series, but all the books stand alone pretty well). It is laugh-out-loud strange-looks-on-the-subway funny, with characters you can really care about. Memail me if you want a free, legal copy.

As a side note, Bujold lists both Heyer and Sayers in the dedication to this book, and I second their recommendation unthread.
posted by Metasyntactic at 10:35 PM on November 29, 2010


I've recently been pretty much where you are and the only thiings I could read were P G Wodehouse and To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (which I was introduced to here). Oddly the lattter hasn't been mentioned yet. Also nthing Dorothy Sayers. Thanks for the question--some suggestions here I can use.
posted by Logophiliac at 11:49 PM on November 29, 2010


I have no book suggestions off the top of my head. But Tubedubber always cracks me up. I just try "Let's Get It On" with different videos. My favorite by far is this. I laugh until I cry.
posted by montaigneisright at 12:57 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Have you ever seen Arsenic and Old Lace? It's just...really really damn funny. I guess it probably would've been considered dark back in 1944, but now it's just plain farce and very funny. Guaranteed to lift you out of a black mood.

Also kids movies can be great for this type of thing. Somebody mentioned Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs which I definitely agree with. It was great. Also Horton Hears A Who was awesome too, and hits your cute stories about animals and your fantasy requests.

I hope you feel better!
posted by katyggls at 1:41 AM on November 30, 2010


For gentle humour, my go to author is Jane Duncan. Her "My Friend..." series of books are filled with amusing human insight. The books about her childhood in the Highlands of Scotland (My Friend, My Father and My Friends George and Tom are especially good.) These semi-autobiographies follow her life from early childhood, through her marriage and sojourn in Jamaica with her engineer husband. I have always found these books very comforting and a great substitute for the family lore I never had in my own family.

I also nth Dorothy Sayers and Wodehouse. I'm not a romance fan but the scene in the punt at the end of Sayer's Gaudy Night is one of the subdued yet passionate bits of writing that I've ever enjoyed.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:07 AM on November 30, 2010


ZooBorns
OKGo videos
My husband's mostly silly geek rock album After School Special and his song Royal Jelly
Nthing the Jeeves & Wooster stories
Nthing Arrested Development
posted by brainwane at 3:54 AM on November 30, 2010


I have a sense that you might enjoy the Phryne Fisher books. They're not exactly funny, but I would definitely put them in the category of 'cozy mysteries'. I read them when I want a light-but-good book to zone out in. Plus, if you do enjoy them, there's a stack to work your way through.

I think you might like Cold Comfort Farm a lot. Apparently the film adaptation is quite good but I haven't seen it.

You might like Pushing Daisies - again not exactly funny - more gently cheering. I think it's considered a comedy, but there is a fair bit bit of death. I also really love Shooting Fish - it's just so exceedingly pleasant.

The Castle
is the funniest movie I know, and quite sweet in its own way. Apparently it doesn't always register well with non-Australians though. Ymmv.

I always watch the Princess Bride when I need to feel better. The book is pretty good too.
posted by Emilyisnow at 3:55 AM on November 30, 2010


Agree with Cold Comfort Farm as a movie adaptation. I never could get into the book (but I have a hard time liking fiction books generally, so don't take my word on that) but the movie is marvelous.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:09 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos and I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith will amuse you greatly.
posted by mippy at 4:53 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another sort of gentle, funny movie that I recommend for these sorts of moments is The Great Race, with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Natalie Wood.
posted by theredpen at 4:57 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Q: Where does Napoleon keep his armies?
A: In his sleevies!

I recommend the TV series Spaced with Simon Pegg.
posted by crepesofwrath at 7:51 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The 2010 bad sex awards were announced yesterday. Those always crack me up. My favorite is still the "oh Chairman Mao!" bit from the 2002 runners up.

Also, sneezing baby panda.
posted by honeydew at 8:04 AM on November 30, 2010


Elizabeth Peters also writes as Barbara Michaels -- the romantic fluff part is lame, but I always loved that she researched the heck out of her topics and I ended up learning a lot about [roses, antique lace, etc]. And she's got like 20+ books out there, so that's a lot of time ;o) If you're into ebooks, I believe there's a torrent or two out there with all her works bundled together.
posted by MeiraV at 8:34 AM on November 30, 2010


The Barchester Chronicles on DVD; just the thing.
posted by dpcoffin at 10:04 AM on November 30, 2010


Wodehouse's Mulliner stories. (All his stuff is great, and Jeeves and Wooster have been mentioned above. Mr Mulliner is an old man who haunts a pub, waiting for a chance to pounce into any conversation to tell tall tales of his eccentric relatives, so these books are series of short stories each covering one story about a relative.)

Victor Borge videos on youtube - eg Inflationary Language

Muppets
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:40 AM on November 30, 2010


Here are a couple of my favorite jokes:

The friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds.

Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought this was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not.

He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him.

So the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop.

Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that :Only Hugh can prevent florist friars.


Also:

A man is driving down the freeway with his two pet penguins when he gets pulled over by a cop for speeding. After the cop hands over the speeding ticket to the driver, he notices the 2 penguins. The cop informs the driver that he must take the penguins to the zoo. The driver agrees to do so.

Two months later, the same man is pulled over by the same cop for speeding. The cop notices the penguins again only now they are wearing sunglasses and eating ice cream.

The cop says, “I thought I told you to take those penguins to the zoo.”

The man responds, “I did take them to the zoo! Now I’m taking them to the beach.”

posted by bearwife at 10:56 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I often go through similar phases like you're in right now. Recently I've been enjoying Lauren Willig's romances -- wait, come back! They're funny, not annoying, and nobody is stupid in them. I usually don't read romances, either, but these are good. Start with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:07 PM on November 30, 2010


Three funny films, golden oldies. Wait, they're more than funny, they're charming, and they all feature heroes who are down on their luck.

My Man Godfrey - about a fella, hired to be a butler by a family with three goofy women. 1936 version

To Be or Not to Be - a Polish drama troupe gets involved with a plot to nab a German spy. 1942 version. "...sooo you see a mustache and you don't pull it?"

The Court Jester - "...the flagon with the dragon has the brew that is true."

and for the life-is-chaos, chaos-is-life therefore make lots of chaos school:

Duck Soup. "So go! And never darken my towels again!"
posted by storybored at 3:37 PM on November 30, 2010


Oh! Also, if you like literary type things, the Bulwer Lytton contest has lots of fodder.

I also have gotten fits of giggles from searching YouTube for "can't stop laughing". Some favorites: bride, compilation, baby.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:33 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just a caution on David Sedaris -- you're reading along and it's fine and it's fun and it's funny and then it's stab-you-in-the-heart poignant and bittersweet and acheful. Not saying I don't love his writing -- he's really good -- but rather to saying be careful, that's all.

Oh, and Bryson also wrote A Short History of Nearly Everything and it's engaging and fun and funny as Bryson always seems to be.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:39 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


How about The Emperor's New Groove? It never fails to crack me up.
posted by youngergirl44 at 5:59 PM on November 30, 2010


Flight of the Concords always crack me up. The ones that consistently make me smile:
Business Time
The Most Beautiful Girl
The Humans are Dead
posted by like_neon at 3:50 AM on December 1, 2010


Watch It's A Wonderful Life again.

This is a good time of the year to see it.
posted by rmmcclay at 4:50 AM on December 1, 2010


Miranda Hart's sitcom Miranda is IMO one of the funniest and most good-hearted things on British TV at the moment. You can find plenty of clips including full episodes on YouTube, e.g. on this channel.
posted by tomcooke at 5:56 AM on December 2, 2010


TV -- Arrested Development and How I Met Your Mother
Movies -- My Fair Lady and The Court Jester

I know you already mentioned Elizabeth Peters' books, but I'm not sure which you've read.. I just wanted to STRONGLY recommend the Amelia Peabody series. Also, even if you HAVE already read them, the audio book versions are totally worth listening to; the woman who reads them (Barbara Rosenblat) is absolutely brilliant -- the voices she does are hilarious and spot on. Bonus is that audio books leave your hands free to do something else, too.

Hope life brightens up for you in the very near future! :)
posted by Kattiara17 at 7:50 AM on December 2, 2010


And if you've only read her Amelia Peabody series, then you need to immediately get your hands on Die for Love, a murder mystery set at a romance writers convention. Wonderfully over the top. The Jacqueline Kirby mysteries aren't as well-known as the Amelia Peabodys, but they're my favorite.
posted by timepiece at 3:01 PM on December 2, 2010


Wodehouse: I own nearly everything he wrote and the Jeeves books are not my favorites, I prefer the Emsworth books. Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend is the perfect short story and the way I usually introduce new readers to Wodehouse. The next time I get sick, I plan on re-reading all the Psmith books which follow the life of R. Psmith from boarding school to adulthood. Very cozy reading which verges into YA territory.

Bryson: While Walk in the Woods has always been my favorite audiobook, recently it has been supplanted by his latest, At Home: A Short History of Private Life.

BBC Radio: I listen to a lot of radio on my MP3 player; Radio Archive is a great source. There have been a number of outstanding comedy series-- both fiction and non-fiction-- originally aired on British Radio and they really help the time pass at work. Series like: Fags, Mags, and Bags; Diary of a Time Waster, Janet and John, The Small Intricate Life of Gerald Potter, The News Quiz, and hundreds more.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:12 AM on December 4, 2010


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