Black Laughs Matter: 10 Funny Books by Black Authors

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All over the world, more and more people are putting the spotlight on talented black men and women in all kinds of industries. Well, it’s time someone focused on black authors that have written hilarious books.

From side-splitting memoirs to laugh-out-loud fiction, these authors know exactly how to tickle your funny bone while delivering some pretty powerful messages. It’s like finding that perfect slice of cake that’s both delicious and somewhat nutritious (because, let’s be honest, laughter is a form of self-care, right?).

So, buckle up and get ready to add some joy to your reading list.

Erasure

Imagine being an author in a pickle; your books aren’t selling, your family’s more complicated than a soap opera, and your agent thinks you’re not “black enough.” Welcome to the world of Thelonius ‘Monk’ Ellison in “Erasure.” He’s about to take you on a wild ride that questions identity, authenticity, and the publishing industry’s pigeonholing. And in a twist that’s almost as unexpected as finding a quiet toddler, “Erasure” was brought to life on the big screen as “American Fiction” in 2023, starring Jeffrey Wright. Who said literature can’t be fun and meta?

The Last Black Unicorn

Tiffany Haddish’s life story reads like a script from a Hollywood movie—only funnier and, surprisingly, true. “The Last Black Unicorn” is a collection of essays that take you on a rollercoaster ride through Haddish’s life, from her challenging childhood in South Central Los Angeles to her meteoric rise in comedy and film. Her tales are a potent cocktail of humor and heart, proving that laughter truly is the best medicine, especially when life throws you curveballs.

The Sellout

Only Paul Beatty could make a scene with a man smoking weed at the Supreme Court the kickoff for a novel. “The Sellout” is a razor-sharp satire that doesn’t just cross boundaries—it leaps over them in a single bound. Following the life of Bonbon, a man on a quest to reintroduce segregation in his local high school, this book will have you laughing at the absurdities of societal norms and questioning just how far we’ve come. It’s like getting a history lesson from your funniest friend—who happens to be high.

I Am the New Black

Tracy Morgan has lived multiple lifetimes in one, and “I Am the New Black” is his way of sharing the ride. From his beginnings as a “ghetto wiseass” to reaching the peaks of comedy stardom, Morgan leaves no stone unturned and no funny bone untickled. His story is a reminder that behind every joke, there’s a truth, and sometimes, that truth is even funnier than fiction.

I Can't Date Jesus

Michael Arceneaux’s “I Can’t Date Jesus” is more than just a memoir; it’s a heartfelt, belly-laugh-inducing journey through life’s ups and downs. From tackling his identity as a gay man in a devoutly Catholic home to putting his faith in Beyoncé (because, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?), Arceneaux’s book is a beacon for anyone trying to find their place in the world. And really, it’s about finding the humor in the search for oneself.

Black Buck

Welcome to the world of Darren, a.k.a. Buck, whose life gets turned upside down when he swaps his Starbucks apron for a suit in the cutthroat startup scene. “Black Buck” is a satirical look at corporate America, where you’re left wondering whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity of office culture. It’s like looking into a mirror and realizing you’ve become the “Let’s circle back” person. Time to reassess life choices, maybe?

Born a Crime

Before Trevor Noah was making us laugh on “The Daily Show,” he was living a story so incredible it had to be shared. “Born a Crime” offers a hilarious yet profound look at Noah’s upbringing in South Africa, during and after apartheid. It’s a testament to how humor can find its way into even the most challenging circumstances, teaching us a thing or two about resilience, identity, and, of course, laughing in the face of absurdity.

Please Don't Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes

Phoebe Robinson is back at it again, turning her keen eye and sharp wit on the world around us. “Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes” is an invitation to rethink modern dilemmas, from the politics of pajamas to the choice to live child-free. It’s like having a chat with your funniest friend who just gets it—and isn’t afraid to say what we’re all thinking.

My Sister, the Serial Killer

Got annoying sibling habits? Try having a sister who’s a serial killer. “My Sister, the Serial Killer” is a darkly comedic tale of family bonds, murder, and the lengths we go to protect our loved ones. It’s a page-turner that makes you wonder if you’d help your sibling hide a body. Or, you know, several.

You Can't Touch My Hair

Phoebe Robinson tackles the everyday absurdities of being a Black woman in America with humor and grace in “You Can’t Touch My Hair.” From cultural stereotypes to the uninvited hands in her hair, Robinson navigates the complexities of identity with a laugh and a side-eye, proving that sometimes, the best response to ignorance is a good old-fashioned joke. And yes, for the record, you really can’t touch her hair.

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