Comedy Memoirs for the Boomer Generation

Still Foolin EmOctober seems like the perfect time of year for dark, mysterious and brooding books. But I am still holding on to September! Something light might just be the ticket before the dark fall reads.

New release Still Foolin’ 'em by Billy Crystal has cracked into the top of the New York Times best seller list. After recently turning 65, Crystal tries to relate to the other millions of baby boomers who are also at or near this milestone often by portraying physical ailments through the lens of appealing humor. He also explores his long career starting off with stand up in New York to some beloved movies and stints on Saturday Night Live and hosting the Oscars. Crystal isn’t afraid to tackle serious issues, but also presents us with a belly laugh at a life well lived. There are numerous holds on the Crystal book, so while you are waiting for this book to come in you might want to try these other humorous memoirs.

Like Crystal, Nora Ephron offers a laugh-out-loud look at growing older. In I Feel Bad About My Neck, Ephron shares 15 short essays on aging and health while also admitting to rigorous beauty maintenance. Ephron, a comedy writer known for her rom-com movies also addresses serious issues like empty nests and the more mundane like her love for her apartment. No matter the topic, Ephron’s essays are at times witty, sentimental and hopeful.

Steve Martin is known for both his sharp intellect but also his willingness to push the boundaries of comedy with a unique style of humor. He isn’t reflecting on his age in the same way as Ephron or Crystal, but does offer a look back on an extraordinary life in comedy. In Born Standing Up Martin tells the story of being the biggest stand up star of the late 70s and why he suddenly quit to turn his attention to movies and tv. Martin is able to give readers an insider’s view into the isolating world of stand up and the discipline necessary to become a success.  His writing is humorous (of course), but also warm, insightful and candid.

Proving you are never too old to try something new, Bob Newhart wrote his first book at the age of 77. In I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This, Newhart does more of what he does best – telling stories. He looks back on his career of comedy albums and tv, but also finds humor in the everyday topics of drinking, gold and family holidays. Newhart doesn’t explore his psyche or unveil secrets, but is certainly still able to keep the reader laughing with his revelations of the absurd offered up with his trademark deadpan delivery.

Baby Boomer readers who are not necessarily interested in the Hollywood life can also laugh and reminisce with Bill Bryson in his memoir of growing up in the 1950s Iowa. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid waxes humorous on the so-called simpler times. But Bryson also tackles issues like racism, the Cold War, and the overwhelming consumerism of the post-war age.  While not the professional comic like Martin or Crystal, Bryson is a very funny and vivid storyteller.