The last ten years have seen a surge of funny lady memoirs. When you want the literary equivalent of drinking wine with an old friend—the one who’s always finding herself in awkward situations and turning them into hilarious anecdotes—Tina and Amy (and Amy) are there for you. Inspired by those queens of comedy, we’ve compiled a list of other snort-inducing books guaranteed to keep you cringing, laughing, nodding your head in recognition, and reaching for another glass.
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, by Issa Rae
After producing an award-winning web series, but prior to launching her successful HBO show Insecure (now in its second season), Rae published a collection of clever and entertaining essays about her inability to act, feel, or be cool. This inability bothered her, because society told her coolness is supposedly intrinsic to black people. As a guide for fellow Awks, she covers race and relationships, her introverted style, her parents’ divorce, and how to deflect unsolicited questions and opinions.
You’ll Grow Out of It, by Jessi Klein
As a tomboy who, despite the title, has never actually “grown out of it,” Klein’s highly relatable memoir analyzes the modern trappings of femininity, from the cult of bathing to the difficulty in finding women-friendly porn to the pressure placed on pregnant women to endure “natural births.” Her discovery of standup comedy as a refuge, passion, and calling takes her far in life. From SNL to Inside Amy Schumer (for which she won an Emmy as Head Writer), Klein never loses sight of what it means to be a woman today, whether you’re a poodle or a wolf.
Shockaholic, by Carrie Fisher
Prior to her death last December, the iconic actress authored four novels, three memoirs, and a one-woman stage show, all at least partially drawn from events in her (relentlessly surreal) existence in a galaxy close to home. (“I wish I could—and armed with that explanation, somehow excuse—the seemingly unending, ongoing…pathetic fixation I have with my feelings.”) You might think the topics of drug use and mental illness would feel heavy to read about, but Fisher never once lost her sense of humor about what life threw at her. Shockaholic is in some ways a love letter to her notoriously unreliable father, Eddie; a detailed family history (splayed out in the tabloids when Fisher was a child); and a depiction of the memory-erasing side effects of electroshock therapy.
The Broke Diaries, by Angela Nissel
As a broke student in the late ’90s at the University of Pennsylvania, Nissel and her friends used their creativity and smarts to find ways around their financial troubles, such as posing as teaching assistants on the phone and ordering free copies of the “Educator’s Edition” of expensive textbooks. She occasionally went on dates with crazy dudes for the free food. Now a TV writer (past credits include Scrubs, upcoming ones include Tyler the Creator’s The Jellies, for Adult Swim), her story has a happy ending, but when she wrote the book, her future was up in the air. A very funny storyteller with a compelling, wry, down to earth tone, she’ll have you rooting for her every broke step of the way.
I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star, by Judy Greer
As the ultimate character actress (see: Arrested Development, Archer, etc.), Greer has an extensive list of credits. Known mainly for her comedy chops, she’s just as adept at drama (see: The Descendants). If you’ve ever wondered about the charming woman perpetually cast as “the quirky guest star,” “the awkward/sexy weirdo,” or “the lead actor’s best friend,” you’re in for a treat with this memoir. Growing up in Detroit as an only child, Greer maintains both an insider and outsider’s view of Hollywood, which she happily invites readers to share.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling
A self-deprecating writer and comedian (she refers to herself as “a vain flake” and “a timid chubster afraid of her bike” who’s perplexed by hookup culture) Kaling’s conversational tone and hilarious point of view over modern life, including life as a woman and a minority, will keep you smiling from start to finish. This memoir, and her newest one (Why Not Me?) prove beyond a doubt that anyone who has the option of hanging out with Mindy (jelly!) would never dream of leaving her behind.