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.
[Updated December 2019, including links to product pages.]
Here are some of mine and my friends’ favorite books. There are, of course, many, many other great comedy books. What are your favorite comedy books/memoirs? (Updated books list!)
- Bossypants by Tina Fey (I recommend the audiobook. Fey reads it herself, so the delivery is impeccable.)
- You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessie Klein – Super, duper funny memoir by comedy writer Jessie Klein.
- Born Standing Up by Steve Martin – less funny haha, but a wonderfully written memoir.
- Comic Genius – a fabulous photo book of famous comedians by Matt Hoyle
- Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (She does the audiobook.)
- Live from New York: an Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live
- I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron – a brillian and funny book of essays by the late Nora Ehpron.
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
- Days & Nights at the Second City by Bernard Sahlens, the Second City founding member
*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, characters, and podcasts are a good gift buying compass. Some popular choices below.
- Fleabag poster of Phoebe Waller-Bridge Check out all the unofficial but fun Fleabag stuff on Etsy (think “I look like a pencil” stuff and pencils with Fleabag quotes.)
- Atlanta T-shirt – for Donald Glover/Atlanta show fans
- Barry Mug – for fans of the HBO show or Bill Hader fans
- WTF Podcast ladies muscle tee (lots of other options, too)
- Womp It Up podcast mug – fun mug for a fun improv podcast
- Bob’s Burgers logo tee (lots of other options at Fox)
- Rose Apothacary tote bag (Schitt’s Creek)
- Gina Knows Best Sweatshirt (Brooklyn 99)
- Comedy Bang Bang enamel pin – for fans of the comedy podcast/TV show
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). You might also check out online comedy writing class options like Second City or Gotham Writers have.
- Sticker Mule gift card for letting comedians and improv folks promote themselves!
- 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
- Desktop wacky wavy mini tube guy
- The Onion Mug: “I often make light of my chemical dependence on coffee.”
- New Yorker Cartoon Page-a-Day Calendar
- The bear coat from Workaholics
- Emergency clown nose
- Post apocalyptic snow globe
- Mini briefcase business card/gift card holder
Never-Fail Gift Cards
When in doubt, gift cards never fail.