The best funny books: our edit of side-splitting laugh-out-loud reads

When times are tough, or merely okay, or even just a little dull . . . there's no tonic quite like a few hours on the sofa with a comic read. This is our pick of the best funny books to bring a smile to your day.

Whether your taste in funny reads runs to slapstick, satire or the sardonic, we've got something to make you laugh. From the cunning adventures of a French gentleman thief to the honest confessions of lonely forty-something, and from celebrity domestic disasters to fictional family dramas, these reads will take you into other worlds and offer humorous escapes from the humdrum.

A Funny Life

by Michael McIntyre

Book cover for A Funny Life

Comic Michael McIntyre specialises in pin-sharp observational routines that have made him the world's bestselling funny man. But when he turns his gaze to himself and his own family, things get even funnier. This bracingly honest memoir covers the highs, lows and pratfalls of a career in comedy, as Michael climbs the greasy pole of success and desperately attempts to stay up there.

Theroux the Keyhole

by Louis Theroux

Book cover for Theroux the Keyhole

In Theroux the Keyhole Louis takes us into his own home, where Covid kept him from his journalistic penchant of chasing the weird and wonderful world. Instead Louis is struggling to keep up with Joe Wicks, and with his video-game obsessed kids. Meanwhile he muses on podcasting, far-right radicalisation and the power of the pandemic to make us face up to the most important things in life.

Bridget Jones's Diary

by Helen Fielding

Book cover for Bridget Jones's Diary

If ever a mood-lifter was needed, it’s now. Accompany Bridget Jones as she pours her thoughts and feelings about dating, friendship, work and family into her much-loved diary – and chortle throughout. Whether it’s Bridget crashing home after one too many glasses of Chardonnay at her favourite haunt Cafe Rouge, or attempting to keep things cool with the enigmatic Daniel Cleaver by leaving a would-be seductive message on his answering machine which she then frantically attempts to delete, this uplifting book is guaranteed to leave readers in stitches.

The Other Black Girl

by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Book cover for The Other Black Girl

Editorial assistant Nella is the only Black person at Wagner Books, so she's delighted when Hazel joins the team and she has someone to compare micro-aggressions with. There the twists and turns begin, as Nella's star fades, and Hazel becomes office favourite. And then notes start to appear on Nella's desk reading: 'leave Wagner now'. 

This sharply readable satire, driven by the author's own experience in the publishing industry and reminiscent of Raven Leilani's prize-winning Luster, also acts as a call for genuine and meaningful diversity.

Confessions of a Forty-Something F##k Up

by Alexandra Potter

Book cover for Confessions of a Forty-Something F##k Up

Life hasn't quite worked out for Nell. While all her friends seem to be living the Insta-perfect dream, Nell is feeling distinctly washed-up and lonesome. But then she starts a clandestine podcast and forges an unusual friendship with eighty-something widow Cricket, and things don't seem quite so bad. Laughs, a few tears, and a reminder that we are all in it together.

The Talk of Pram Town

by Joanna Nadin

Book cover for The Talk of Pram Town

This book from Joanna Nadin about mothers, daughters and second chances is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. It’s 1981, and eleven-year-old Sadie adores her mother Connie, who dreams of making it big as a singer. It’s always been the two of them, until the unthinkable happens . . . 

Jean hasn’t seen her good-for-nothing daughter Connie since she ran away from home as a pregnant seventeen-year-old. Then she gets a call asking her to come and collect the granddaughter she’s never met . . . 

The Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Thief

by Maurice Leblanc

Book cover for The Adventures of Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Thief

Many of us fell head over heels for the gentleman thief at the heart of Netflix series Lupin. And this was the inspiration: a French Robin Hood who outwits the police and gives to those who need help. First published in 1907, these dazzling stories feature impossible escapes, daring heists and bewildering disguises. And Lupin even has an encounter with English counterpart Sherlock Holmes along the way . . .

The Queen of Bloody Everything

by Joanna Nadin

Book cover for The Queen of Bloody Everything

In her first adult novel, Joanna Nadin brings us a a heartfelt story about mothers, daughters and how we can make many choices in life but can't choose where we come from. 

As Edie Jones lies in a bed on the fourteenth floor of a Cambridge hospital, her adult daughter Dido tells their story, starting with the day that changed everything. That was the day Dido – aged exactly six years and twenty-seven days old – met the Trevalyan family next door, and fell in love.

Because the Trevelyans were exactly the kind of family Dido dreamed of. Normal.

Discover more funny books to make you laugh out loud in this episode of Book Break.