We’ve all tripped in front of a crush or spilled coffee on ourselves or overslept on that one day we needed to be early, but these foibles are nothing compared to the spectacular, hilariously rendered portraits of Aisha Tyler’s epic fails. Known to many from her podcast Girl on Guy, or from being on The Talk, or voice turns as Lana Kane in Archer and several video games, or her standup, or as the one black person on Friends that time, or perhaps the new Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Tyler’s talents and ability to laugh are boundless. More than an exercise in bar topping stories, this book is a fascinating look at her singularly determined life. Watching how a black, socially conscious, nerdy, and adventurous girl with little supervision grows up to be one of the funniest and sexiest women ever makes this book well worth the read. This is a lady for the new world: ready to make you laugh, kick your ass, triumph at trivia, save the planet, and get us all to be a little more honest about that time we peed our pants.
In his eighth collection of humorous essays, David Sedaris celebrates all that is a little “off” in life, from the come-ons and exclamations of Lonely Planet’s phrase books (“That is amazing/weird/wild!”) to the difficulties of being an American living abroad in the Bush years. My favorite observations in Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (Little, Brown, $27) involve the racial awkwardness occurring both before and after the elections of President Obama (turns out we may have a little work to do on the whole racism thing yet). Your favorite moments may be Sedaris’s uncomfortable memories of buying condoms in bulk at Costco, or when his voice morphs into that of a self-righteous suburbanite in one of the featured short stories. Whether or not you’re already familiar with Sedaris’s inimitable voice, you’ll find his take on modern life delightful.
Delivering a heady cocktail of legitimate information and sheer hilarity, Stephen Colbert’s follow up to I Am America (And So Can You) is like the lollipop given after the painful shot that is the election year. Quick, clever, and quirky, America Again (Grand Central, $28.99) doesn’t pack the same surprise as Colbert’s first book, but it offers succinct and honest reasons for why we’re just so weird as a country and why we might want to consider staying that way. Complete with ridiculous 3-D graphics and heartwarming, good old American references, Colbert’s latest offering will give you something to laugh about when you need it most.