I was going to write this as a holiday gift guide, then didn’t write it in time, but I was like–hold up! People give gifts at other times during the year. So here’s a gift guide for comedians, aspiring comedians, or rabid comedy fans in your life, whether it’s their birthday, Chinese New Year, Arbor Day, or any made up holiday.
(Pssst. Hey, I ended up writing a Holiday Gift Guide for Comedy fans. Check it out when you’re done here.)
Some links below are affiliate links, FYI.
Here are some of mine and my friend’s favorite books. There are, of course, many, many other great comedy books. Mention your personal favs in the combox!
- Bossypants by Tina Fey (I recommend the audiobook. Fey reads it herself, so the delivery is impeccable. Uptight conservatives, if you don’t laugh at this book, you’ve got bigger issues in your heart than Tina Fey.)
- WE KILLED: The Rise of Women in American Comedy by Yael Kohen
- Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (She does the audiobook.)
- Comic Genius – a fabulous photo book of famous comedians by Matt Hoyle
- Days & Nights at the Second City by Bernard Sahlens, the Second City founding member
- Live from New York: an Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live
- Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
- Girl Walks Into a Bar: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a MidLife Miracle by Rachel Dratch
*Tip: know your favorite comedian’s favorite comedians helps. If you know their favorites, chances are there’s a book about or by them. Same goes for comedy albums/ specials. You can find out their favorites by checking their Internet history, asking them, or just being their friend and actually knowing things about them.
Wearables & Fun Stuff
See tip above. Favorite shows and characters are a good gift buying compass. Some popular choices below.
- Ron Swanson bust (Parks & Recreation) With only 13 episodes left in the series, you better snatch these up! (Update: Since originally publishing, the bust is generally not available, except probably 3rd party sellers on eBay/Amazon. See what Ron Swanson Swag is available at the NBC store here.
- Roll Call t-shirt (Key & Peele)
- Stefon collectible doll (SNL/Seth Meyers)
- What the What magnet (30Rock) (Updated: no longer available, but go here to get your 30 Rock gift fix)
- Publizity T-shirt (Kroll Show)
- Falling Burgers t-shirt (Bob’s Burgers)
- Portlandia hoodie (Portlandia)
- Comedy Bang Bang! raglan t-shirt (Comedy Bang Bang!/Ear Wolf)
- Louie Skyline Mug (Louie)
Doing It, Comedy Style
Tools for the trade.
- Gift certificate to a class at one of these well known comedy schools. (Recommended by–of course–my instructors.) Note that if you’re not in one of these cities, your city might have other opportunities (Monkey Business Institute in Madison, for example) or these schools might have online options for writing classes.
- Nice notebook for writing down sketch ideas, jokes, or something funny you heard on the train – Writer’s favorites includes Moleskine, Leuchtturm, & Rhodia
- Kleen Kanteen – Second City classmate Elise says, “It keeps my coffee hot and has kept my ice water icy for 15 hours before. It’s perfect for comics since we’re always running from one show or rehearsal to the next.”
- Kleen Kanteen Cafe Top – turn your Kleen Kanteen to a travel mug (I love this top)
- Writing/ screenwriting software like Scrivener and FadeIn (H/t to Jason for the latter suggestion)
Random Fun Stuff
For kicks and giggles.
- Honest acronyms file folders
- Emergency clown nose
- Don’t stain my table, douchebag coasters
- Apocalypse snow globe
- The bear coat from Workaholics
- Crap box
- Miniature briefcase business card holder (I have one, & I love it)
- I Will Never Take This Camping Nalgene bottle
Never Fail Gift Cards
When in doubt, gift cards never fail.