With all the craziness going on in the world today, we need laughter more than any other time in our lives. If Patch Adams taught us anything, it was that laughter is the best medicine. Below is a list of my favorite books, TV episodes, and movies that will hopefully guarantee you a smile.
Chuck Klosterman - Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs
Chuck Klosterman delivers in a sarcastic view of pop culture society, poking fun at things like The Sims games, music, and more. This not only gets you to laugh, but it gets you to think about things on a level you never thought of before. His other books like Killing Yourself to Live also follow along these same lines.
William Shakespeare - Twelfth Night
If you don't mind reading Shakespeare, this comedy will knock you off your chair laughing. It contains cross dressing, love triangles, pranks, and a world where everything is upside down. If you are put off by the language, there is a No Fear Shakespeare version available online where you can look at the modern text alongside the original. The movie She's the Man is based off of it and is funny in its own right.
Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
You wouldn't think that this 19th century Victorian novel would have much humor to it, but it does, especially between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and on Elizabeth Bennet's sarcastic view of society. If you don't mind dry wit and humor, this story is for you.
J.D. Salinger - Catcher in the Rye
Seeing Holden Caulfield grow up throughout this story is pretty hysterical as he does things like hire a prostitute just to talk to her, get drunk, and stumble around the streets of New York City.
Shel Silverstein - Where the Sidewalk Ends
You most likely read this as a kid or read this to your kid. The poems in there like "Peanut Butter Sandwich" or "Boa Constrictor" give you a little chuckle and will bring you back to the innocence of childhood.
TV Shows - Favorite Episodes
It was difficult picking out my all-time favorite episode from each of these classic TV comedies. Even though these episodes are subjective, they are sure to make you laugh.
The Simpsons - "Homer's Enemy" - Season 8, Episode 23
When Mr. Burns hires a hardworking employee, he becomes extremely annoyed with the lazy, incompetent Homer. This only bothers Homer, so he tries to befriend Frank Grimes 'Grimey' more. Seeing the difference in their work ethic and personalities makes for non-stop laughs during this classic Simpsons episode. All of The Simpsons episodes can be found on Disney Plus.
Seinfeld - "The Gum" - Season 7, Episode 10
There are so many great Seinfeld episodes, but this is the one that stood out most to me. When Kramer takes Lloyd Braun under his wing, he tries to convince him and the gang that he's not crazy. George gets entangled in this more than he would like, as former neighbor Deena believes George to have mental issues. Meanwhile, after a series of unfortunate events, everyone believes Elaine is going out of her way to flirt with Braun. All of the plot lines intersect in a hilarious episode that ranks as one of the best. You can watch Seinfeld on Hulu and Netflix.
The Office - "Stress Relief" - Season 5, Episodes 14 and 15
In my opinion, there is no better intro to the show than the fire drill at the beginning of episode 14. "Today, smoking is going to save lives," Dwight says as he purposely starts a fire in the office to teach them a lesson. The drill goes up in flames as the employees show everything of what not to do during a drill. Famous Office lines such as "Oh my God! It's happening!" and "You will not die! Stanley! Stanley! Barack is president!" make for non-stop laughs. The episode continues with knee-slapping laughter as Michael thinks that an appropriate punishment for Dwight's lesson is to strip him of his title as safety advisor. The office staff continues to show their incompetence in all things safety-related as they cannot perform CPR on a Manikin, but do show off their karaoke skills to the song "Stayin' Alive." This episode will for sure put you in a good mood. You can watch The Office on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Parks and Recreation - “Leslie and Ron” - Season 7, Episode 4
When you have such well-written comedies like this, it becomes so hard to choose a favorite episode. But there was just something about locking Ron and Leslie in a room together to settle their differences that tickled my funny bone a bit more than the rest of the show. Seeing Leslie sing a butchered version of "We Didn't Start the Fire" while Ron twisted his face in disgust made for pure hilarity. Watch Parks and Rec on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.
How I Met Your Mother - "The Playbook" - Season 5, Episode 8
In this episode that features classic Barney, we see all the tricks that Barney uses to get women to get over Robin. Yet, the catch is that in the end, he takes a page from the playbook to win over Robin. It is equally comedic and heartfelt. It shows Neil Patrick Harris' talent as a gay actor to pull off his raving thirst for women as Barney. He also make us smile at the same time. Watch this show on Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Movies - Favorite Scenes
Dumb and Dumber - "The 'Tic Tac Sir?' Scene"
There are so many funny parts in this movie, but one that stands out to me the most is when Harry and Lloyd get pulled over by the motorcycle cop and he discovers what he believes are open bottles of booze in their van. When the cop goes to take a sip of a bottle, the boys urge him not to, knowing that Lloyd used the bottles to pee in. "You'd keep your mouth shut if you knew what was good for ya," said the cop. When he starts to lean over and retch, Harry goes, "Tic Tac sir?" So funny.
Caddyshack - "The Dinner Party Scene"
Whenever Rodney Dangerfield is in a scene, it is ten times funnier, but when he appears at the country club's dinner party zinging lines like "Now I know why tigers eat their young" and "Somebody step on a duck?" it makes for gut-wrenching laughs that never stop coming. It was said that he improvised a lot of his lines, so hats off, Mr. Dangerfield, hats off.
The Blues Brothers - The Fancy Restaurant Scene
When Jake and Elwood go to recruit Mr. Fabulous from his fancy French restaurant, they act as uncivilized as can be. They feed each other shrimp, chew loudly with their mouths open, and Jake even asks a nearby customer to sell them their children. It makes for a great contrast in high society to the low-life Blues Brothers, and it's great comedy.
Mrs. Doubtfire - Birthday Dinner Scene
Oh, we miss you Robin Williams! If you are in need of a laugh, watch this movie. Perhaps the funniest and (the saddest) part though comes in the end when Robin Williams is changing between Mrs. Doubtfire and Daniel. Whenever a worrisome situation arises, such as when he sits down with his employer wearing lipstick, he responds smoothly, "It must have rubbed off." It goes to show how light, smart, and drop-down funny Williams was and how much we miss him.
This is Spinal Tap - These Go To 11
This is one of those cult classic flicks that if you like music or not, it will be sure to offer you some laughs. It shows the rise and fall of a fictional classic rock band and offers a good amount of humor along with it. This particular scene involves an interview with Rob Reiner where he is talking to them about their amplifiers. When Rob Reiner (Marty DiBergi) asks, "Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?" Nigel Tufnel responds, "These go to eleven." It makes for good ol' dry humor that follows the interviews and band throughout. The Simpsons parody them in episode "The Otto Show," a good spoof that mocks the movie.