A literary agent friend of mine says that publishers dislike publishing funny novels because "humor is subjective". Certainly I have stumped bookstore clerks by asking them to recommend a funny novel. Not "Humor", which includes Garfield the Cat, Dave Barry, and Jokes for the John, but honest to God novels, with characters and plots and such. I have a little list of authors and if anyone can add to it, I will be in her or his debt.
posted by IndigoJones to Media & Arts (101 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I would include, in no particular order: Wodehouse, Waugh, George MacDonald Fraser, Donald Westlake, Nancy Mitford, E.F. Benson, Augustus Carp (faux autobiography, only thing the man ever wrote), John Mortimer, Joe Keenan (before he wrote for Frazier, he did two novels and is rumored to be working on a third), Carl Hiaasen, Saki, John Kennedy Toole, Tom Sharpe ("Wodehouse on acid"-P.J. O'Rourke), Jay Cronley, Stella Gibbons, Sara Caudwell, Mark B. Cohen, Geoffrey Willans. Also, because we must: Twain, Artemus Ward, Douglas Adams, Doug Naylor, E Somerville, Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Jerome K. Jerome, Thurber, Perelman (overripe to my mind), Richard Hooker (M.A.S.H.), Peter de Vries (said to be funny- I never thought so),
The best of these are timeless and can be re-read, but fresh provisions are always welcome. (Side note- Any comments from publishing industry insiders on my friend's comment would be welcome, as a by the way. He also says that few have any sense of humor themselves. I generally find that new books touted as being witty and humorous are generally- not.)