Are you ready for a literary experience that will have you laughing, gasping, and questioning your own morality? Look no further than our list of the best dark comedy books. This genre is not for the faint of heart, but for those who are brave enough to embrace it, the rewards are plenty. These books offer a unique blend of humor and darkness that will leave you thinking long after you’ve finished reading.
From satirical takes on society to twisted perspectives on human nature, these books challenge readers to confront uncomfortable truths and push boundaries. They are the perfect mix of light and dark, making them a literary treat that is hard to put down. With our list of must-read dark comedy books, you’ll be able to find the perfect balance of laughter and introspection. So, whether you’re in the mood for a quick chuckle or a deeper dive into the darker side of comedy, be sure to check out our list.
Here are the best dark comedy books…
“My Sister, The Serial Killer” by Oyinkan Braithwaite is a darkly comedic thrill ride that will have you laughing and gasping in equal measure. This book is the winner of the LA Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller and has been praised by Marie Claire as “the wittiest and most fun murder party you’ve ever been invited to.”
The story follows Korede, a practical and hardworking nurse, and her sister Ayoola, who is beautiful, charming, and possibly sociopathic. Ayoola has a penchant for killing her boyfriends and Korede, in her love for her sister, helps her cover up her crimes. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace, knowing the best solutions for cleaning blood and the best way to move a body and keeping Ayoola from posting pictures to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriends.
As Korede’s love for a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works deepens, she must come to terms with the truth of her sister’s actions and how far she’s willing to go to protect her. “My Sister, The Serial Killer” is a smart, darkly funny, and thought-provoking novel that will keep you guessing until the very end. It’s inclusion in the list of the best dark comedy books is well deserved, and it’s a must-read for fans of the genre.
“Catch-22” by Joseph Heller is a satirical masterpiece that has stood the test of time as one of the funniest and most celebrated books of all time. This fiftieth-anniversary edition commemorates this literary gem, with a new introduction by Christopher Buckley, and a wealth of critical essays and reviews by literary giants like Norman Mailer, Alfred Kazin, Anthony Burgess and others, as well as rare papers and photos from Joseph Heller’s personal archive.
Set in Italy during World War II, “Catch-22” follows the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yossarian’s attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, leads him to come in contact with the Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read and now a Hulu limited series starring Christopher Abbott, George Clooney, Kyle Chandler, and Hugh Laurie, “Catch-22” is a must-read for fans of dark comedy and satire. The book’s inclusion in the list of the best dark comedy books is well deserved, and it’s a timeless classic that will leave you laughing, gasping and questioning the absurdity of war and bureaucracy.
“Choke” by Chuck Palahniuk is a darkly comedic novel that explores the complexities of love and strife between mothers and sons, the addictive power of sex, the terrors of aging, and the ugly truth about historical theme parks. This book is written by the author of the international sensation “Fight Club,” and it is a powerful and hilarious novel that is sure to leave readers thinking long after they’ve finished reading.
The book follows the story of Victor Mancini, a dropout from medical school who has devised a complicated scam to pay for his mother’s elder care. He pretends to be choking on a piece of food in a restaurant and the person who “saves him” will feel responsible for the rest of his life. Between fake choking gigs, Victor works at Colonial Dunsboro with a motley group of losers and stoners trapped in 1734, cruises sex addiction groups for action and visits his mother, whose anarchic streak made his childhood a mad whirl and whose Alzheimer’s disease now hides what may be the startling truth about his (possibly divine?) parentage.
An antihero for our deranging times, Victor’s whole existence is a struggle to wrest an identity from overwhelming forces. Chuck Palahniuk’s ability to blend dark humor and thought-provoking themes makes this book a must-read for fans of dark comedy. The book’s inclusion in the list of the best dark comedy books is well-deserved, and it’s a visionary and satirical novel that is sure to leave you laughing, gasping and questioning the absurdity of life and love.
“My Best Friend’s Exorcism” by Grady Hendrix is a darkly comedic novel that is soon to be a major motion picture. This book is a perfect blend of teen angst and unspeakable horrors that will keep you on the edge of your seat. From the New York Times best-selling author of “The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires,” this unholy hybrid of “Beaches” and “The Exorcist” is a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller that is not to be missed.
The book is set in the year 1988, and follows the story of high school sophomores Abby and Gretchen who have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act different. She’s moody, irritable, and bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
“My Best Friend’s Exorcism” is a must-read for fans of dark comedy. The book’s inclusion in the list of the best dark comedy books is well-deserved, and it’s a novel that will have you laughing, gasping, and questioning the power of friendship and the existence of the devil. This book is a perfect blend of humor and horror that will leave you wanting more.
“The Loved One” by Evelyn Waugh is a darkly comedic novel that is a cutting satire of 1940s California and the Anglo-American cultural divide. This book is a work of art as rich and subtle and unnerving as anything its author has ever done, according to the New Yorker. It’s a must-read for fans of dark comedy who are looking for a novel that is both witty and thought-provoking.
The book follows the story of Dennis Barlow, a poet and pets’ mortician, who finds himself entering the artificial Hollywood paradise of the Whispering Glades Memorial Park. Within its golden gates, death, American-style, is wrapped up and sold like a package holiday and Dennis gets drawn into a bizarre love triangle with Aimée Thanatogenos, a naïve Californian corpse beautician, and Mr. Joyboy, a master of the embalmer’s art. Waugh’s dark and savage satire depicts a world where reputation, love, and death cost a very great deal.
“The Loved One” is an insightful and darkly comedic take on the American way of death that is both thought-provoking and witty. The book’s inclusion in the list of the best dark comedy books is well-deserved, and it’s a novel that will have you questioning the absurdity of life and death. This is a novel that is sure to leave a lasting impression on readers.
“Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut is a darkly comedic novel that is a classic of American literature and one of the world’s great antiwar books. This book is selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time and is a must-read for fans of dark comedy who are enjoy reading the classics.
The book centers on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden and is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had witnessed as an American prisoner of war. It combines historical fiction, science fiction, autobiography, and satire in an account of the life of Billy Pilgrim, a barber’s son turned draftee turned optometrist turned alien abductee. As Vonnegut had, Billy experiences the destruction of Dresden as a POW. Unlike Vonnegut, he experiences time travel, or coming “unstuck in time.”
An instant bestseller, “Slaughterhouse-Five” made Kurt Vonnegut a cult hero in American literature, a reputation that only strengthened over time, despite his being banned and censored by some libraries and schools for content and language. But it was precisely those elements of Vonnegut’s writing—the political edginess, the genre-bending inventiveness, the frank violence, the transgressive wit—that have inspired generations of readers not just to look differently at the world around them but to find the confidence to say something about it.
“John Dies at the End” by Jason Pargin is a novel that effortlessly blends horror and humor as it tells the story of two unlikely heroes on a mission to save their small town – and possibly the world – from supernatural and paranormal invasions. This updated special edition includes commentary from the characters and the author, making the reading experience even more immersive and unique.
Critics and fellow authors alike have praised the book for its ability to keep readers on the edge of their seat, with Joe Garden, Features Editor of The Onion describing it as “Engaging, comic, and terrifying.” and Don Coscarelli, the director of Phantasm I-V, Bubba Ho-tep comparing Pargin to a “mash-up of Douglas Adams and Stephen King.”
If you’re a fan of dark comedy and enjoy a good thriller, this book is a must-read. With its genre-bending storytelling and ability to keep you guessing, “John Dies at the End” will have you laughing one moment and holding your breath the next. This book is guaranteed to be a wild ride, so strap in and prepare to be thoroughly entertained.
“Geek Love” by Katherine Dunn is a twisted tale of a family whose matriarch and patriarch have bred their own exhibit of human oddities. With the help of amphetamines, arsenic, and radioisotopes, they have created a cast of characters that are both bizarre and fascinating. From Arturo the Aquaboy, to Iphy and Elly the Siamese twins, to albino hunchback Oly, this family is sure to shock and entertain.
As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the US, they encounter both adoration and abhorrence. The novel delves into the concept of the abnormal and the conventional, the beautiful and the grotesque, and the sacred and the profane. It’s a story of sibling rivalry and family dynamics that will challenge your understanding of familial bonds.
“Geek Love” is a must-read for fans of dark comedy. It’s a novel that is both thought-provoking and amusing, with a unique blend of satire and horror. The author’s ability to blend these elements together creates a one-of-a-kind reading experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression. If you’re looking for a novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then “Geek Love” is the book for you.
“How to Kill Your Family” by Bella Mackie is a twisted and compelling debut novel that takes readers on a darkly humorous journey of revenge. The story follows a cunning antihero as she sets out to take down her absentee millionaire father and his family, one by one. The first-person narrator, with her dry wit and dark humor, adds an extra layer of intrigue to the already captivating story.
The novel delves into themes of class, family, love, and murder, leaving readers questioning their own morality as they follow the protagonist’s actions. Although the protagonist’s actions may be considered heinous, her reasoning and perspective make it hard not to root for her. The book expertly blends dark humor, suspense, and social commentary to create a truly unique and thought-provoking read.
This book deserves a spot on any list of the best dark comedy books. It’s a must-read for fans of the genre, with its twisted plot, captivating narrator, and expertly woven commentary on society. Bella Mackie has crafted a novel that will leave readers laughing, questioning, and on the edge of their seats.
“My Year of Rest and Relaxation” by Ottessa Moshfegh is a darkly humorous novel that has earned its spot on the list of the best dark comedy books. The story follows a young woman’s attempts to cope with the world around her by going into hibernation with the help of a questionable psychiatrist and a cocktail of prescription drugs.
Moshfegh’s writing is both witty and thought-provoking as she delves into the mind of the protagonist and her struggles with alienation and loss. The book’s narrator is a relatable and complex character whose dark humor and sarcasm make for a compelling read. The novel is a commentary on the societal pressures and expectations placed on young women and the lengths they will go to escape them.
Critics and readers alike have praised “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” for its bold and original voice. Its inclusion on the list of the best dark comedy books is well-deserved, and it’s a must-read for fans of the genre. Moshfegh’s novel will leave you laughing, questioning, and ultimately, moved by its powerful and compassionate storytelling.
Christopher Moore’s unique blend of dark humor and witty storytelling makes for a page-turning, heartwarming, and thought-provoking read. The story of Charlie Asher, a hapless beta male who finds himself recruited as Death, is both absurd and relatable. Moore’s ability to tackle heavy themes like death and dying with a comedic lens is what makes this book a standout in the genre.
But A Dirty Job isn’t just about death, it’s also a commentary on the human condition. The characters are complex and relatable, and the story explores the relationships between family, friends, and love. The way Moore weaves together the different threads of the story is nothing short of masterful.
Overall, A Dirty Job is a book that will make you laugh, cry, and think. It’s a novel that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. If you’re a fan of dark comedy, this is a must-read. Christopher Moore has crafted a novel that is both hilarious and profound, and it’s sure to be a hit with readers who enjoy a good dose of irony and wit.
We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman is a story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, as it tells the story of two best friends, Edith and Ashley, and their journey through the last days of Edith’s life. The novel is a celebration of life, love, and friendship, and it is a perfect fit for those who enjoy books by Meg Wolitzer, Maria Semple, and Jenny Offill.
Throughout the book, the author masterfully weaves together the mundane and the momentous aspects of the friendship between Edith and Ashley, highlighting the depth and complexity of the bond they share. The reader is taken on a journey that is both emotional and comedic, as the two friends reminisce about their past and come to terms with the present.
The novel is a perfect example of why it is considered as one of the best dark comedy books. It is a story that will make you laugh through your tears as you navigate the complexities of life, love and loss. The author expertly balances the weight of the subject matter with moments of humor and levity, making it a must-read for anyone who has ever lost a friend or had one.
A Man With One of Those Faces is the first book in Caimh McDonnell’s Dublin Trilogy, a series known for its blend of action-packed plotlines and a sharp, Irish sense of humor.
In this debut novel, readers are introduced to Paul Mulchrone, a man on the run after being targeted by two separate attempts on his life. With the help of an overzealous nurse and a rogue police officer, Paul sets out to solve one of the most notorious crimes in Irish history, all while navigating the dangerous and unpredictable world of the Irish underworld.
This book is a must-read for fans of dark comedy and crime novels, with its witty writing and page-turning plot making it a standout in the genre. Critics have hailed it as “one of the funniest crime books you could read”, and it is sure to have readers laughing and guessing until the very end.
What is Dark Comedy?
Dark comedy, also known as black comedy, is a genre of comedy that incorporates elements of tragedy, morbidity, and taboo subjects into its content. It often deals with sensitive or controversial topics such as death, violence, and suffering, but presents them in a humorous or satirical manner. Dark comedy can be found in literature, film, television, and other forms of media and is known for its ability to challenge societal norms and conventions through its use of irony, sarcasm, and satire. It is intended to make the audience laugh while also making them uncomfortable or challenging their beliefs.
Is Dark Comedy a Genre?
Dark comedy is not a standalone genre, but rather a sub-genre or tone that can be applied to various types of literature, film, and other forms of media. It is characterized by its blending of humor with darker or more serious themes, such as death, violence, or societal issues. It is often used to highlight the absurdity or incongruity of these themes, and to provoke thought and reflection while also entertaining the audience. It can be found in genres such as crime, horror, and satire.
Why Dark Humor is Good
Dark humor, also known as black comedy, is a genre that combines humor with darker and often taboo subjects, such as death, violence, and suffering. It is a form of comedy that challenges societal norms and expectations, pushing boundaries and making us question what is considered acceptable to laugh at.
The use of dark humor can serve a variety of purposes. For example, it can be used to highlight the absurdity of a situation or to provide a release for pent-up emotions in difficult or traumatic situations. It can also be used as a form of social commentary, shedding light on issues and injustices that may otherwise go unnoticed or unacknowledged.
Additionally, dark humor can also serve as a coping mechanism. It allows individuals to process and make sense of difficult experiences by finding humor in them. It helps people to find the humor in the darkest of situations, allowing them to laugh at the world’s cruelty and find solace in the face of suffering. This can be a powerful tool in helping people to move forward and find hope in even the most dire of circumstances.