Andy Borowitz

Classics of American comedy, selected by the satirist and editor of The 50 Funniest American Writers.



New Yorker contributor, political satirist, bestselling author, standup comedian, creator of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Andy Borowitz's career is as accomplished as it is varied. The humorist turns the spotlight on his uproarious predecessors in The 50 Funniest American Writers, which celebrates creative minds from Mark Twain to Nora Ephron. When we asked him to pick three favorites, Borowitz responded with a side-splitting trio and included the caveat, "All three books are by authors featured among The 50 Funniest."


Books by Andy Borowitz



The Magic Christian

By Terry Southern


"Largely forgotten now, Terry Southern was so famous in the 1960's that the Beatles included him on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, alongside Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. It's easy to understand why when you read this book, one of the funniest American novels ever written. The Magic Christian is the story of Guy Grand, a billionaire whose mission in life is to prove that people will do anything for money. Each chapter describes an elaborate prank that Guy pulls to demonstrate his point, always with calamitous results. Is that a one-joke idea? Totally. But in the hands of a genius like Terry Southern, the joke only gets funnier each time you hear it."




By Sinclair Lewis


"Sinclair Lewis was the first American writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. But don't hold that against him: he was actually a very funny guy, when he wanted to be. Babbitt is a satire of American commercial culture and middle-class conformity that features one of the great comic creations in American literature, the realtor George F. Babbitt. Babbitt's attempts to rebel against the strictures of his conventional life are in equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking. Years later, Richard Yates probably had Babbitt on his mind when he was writing Revolutionary Road, but he took out all the funny parts."



True Grit

By Charles Portis


"When the Coen Brothers' adaptation of True Grit came out last year, there was a lot of debate about which version was better, theirs or the original John Wayne one. One thing is inarguable though: no movie can capture the hilarious and completely original voice of the book's narrator, Mattie Ross. You'll have to read Charles Portis' novel for that, and you'll be richly rewarded. It's an American classic that deserves to be considered in the same league as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

April 17: "In less than three years, both GM and Chrysler would be bankrupt, and a resurgent Ford would wow Wall Street..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.