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How to Become a Comedian Blog Series - Aspiring Comedian’s Checklist

In this blog, Get Your Jokaholic Fix – Addicts Guide to Joke Books, we’ll explore the benefits of collecting and reading joke books, from expanding your humor repertoire to enhancing your writing skills. These are addicting, so get up a vein to satisfy your need for funny.

In my previous articles,
Stand-Up Comedy Videos to Harden Your Funny Bone
Read Stand Up Comedy Blogs to Fuel Your Dreams
Study the Styles of Comedians to Unleash Your Inner Comedian
Watch Stand Up Shows to Ignite Your Comedy Passion

You’ve been given the opportunity check off many of the items on the How to Become a Comedian Checklist. Keep going strong.

Become a Jokaholic?

One of the best ways to become a comedian is to know what’s already out there by reading current and classic joke books. Over imbibe in the endless intoxication of the possibilities of making people laugh.

Joke books offer valuable insights into the mechanics of humor and the different techniques used to create jokes. We’ll explore why reading classic and current joke books is essential for anyone who wants to become a comedian and master the art of joke writing.

Joke Books - New Highs and Old Favorites

Current joke books provide a fantastic opportunity to explore different comedic voices and styles, giving you a wider range of inspiration to draw from. By staying informed and connected to the contemporary humor scene, you’ll ensure that your own jokes remain fresh, relevant, and engaging to their audience.

Classic joke books can offer invaluable lessons on timing, delivery, and structure that have stood the test of time. By studying the comedic techniques of humor legends, you can acquire a strong foundation to build upon.

By blending aspects of current and classic humor, comedians and writers can develop a unique comedic voice that is both original and relatable to contemporary audiences. It allows them to analyze the structure of jokes and understand how to create setups and punchlines that elicit laughter.

Joke Books - Available on

I did my best to find joke books that are more for comedians, rather than puns, riddles, and pranks for kids. Many of these jokes have been passed down through the generations. Some are too old-fashioned for today’s audience and others are too dirty. Humor changes over time, so as you read them, you may need to update the characters and social references.

What you’re looking for are jokes you can alter to fit your style, not outright use without any adjustments. Some are public domain and others are attributed to the comedians who wrote them, please be respectful to the original authors. I’m not advocating stealing. I’m promoting learning from other comedians’ works.

There’s a hoard of joke books online, so do a bit of research to make sure the books you buy have the kind of jokes you’ll want to learn from and model.

Joke Books - Compiled by Judy Brown

She collected and attributed the best jokes from comedians of the 1980’s & 90’s. These joke books are a gold mine of comedy and history from some of the most brilliant comic minds of that era. Get them all. I did.

Joke Books - Out Of Print

Classic joke books hold a special place in the world of comedy. These books give aspiring comedians and joke writers the opportunity to study the timeless humor that has withstood the test of time.

By finding and reading out of print joke books, you can gain a deeper understanding of the foundations of comedy and learn from some of the most iconic jokes ever written. These setups and punchlines have made generations of people laugh and have been crafted to perfection.

You may be able to buy these online, yet I found it fun when I was on the road to go to used books stores and browse their humor section. There was a treat at every store. Here are few joke books to check off your list as you become a comedian:

  • 5000 One and Two Liners for Any and Every Occasion by Leopold Fechtner
  • Don’t Put My Name on This Book by Henny Youngman
  • The Comic Encyclopedia by Evan Esar
  • Esar’s Joke Dictionary by Evan Esar
  • 2000 Insults for All occasions Compiled by Louis A. Safian
  • The Giant Book of Insults – Compiled by Louis A. Safian
  • The Joey Adam’s Joke Dictionary by Joey Adams
  • Encyclopedia of Humor by Joey Adams
  • Son of Encyclopedia of Humor – by Joey Adams
  • World’s Book of Best Joke edited by Eddie Cantor
  • The Public Speaker’s Treasure Chest by Herbert V. Prochnow
  • Executive’s Treasury of Humor for Every Occasion by William R. Gerler
  • Thesaurus of Humor by Mildred Meiers and Jack Knapp

By studying the classics, you can tap into a rich tradition of humor and use it to fuel your own creative endeavors. If you don’t study comedy history, you’re condemned not to repeat it.

The importance of joke books cannot be overstated when you want to become a comedian. By reading classic joke books, you gain insight into the timeless principles of comedy and learn from the techniques used by humor legends. Meanwhile, current joke books allow you to stay relevant and adapt to the ever-changing world of comedy. They expose you to the latest trends, styles, and topics that resonate with today’s audiences.

Make it a habit to read and learn from joke books regularly. The more you expose yourself to different types of jokes, the better equipped you’ll be to develop a unique comedic voice that resonates with your audience. Keep reading, keep learning, and keep perfecting your craft.

Remember, finding the best joke books is part of the fun and adventure of building your collection. So, stay curious and explore different sources. Happy hunting for joke books that will keep you laughing for years to come.

Coming Soon

In my next article, How to Become a Comedian Blog Series – Aspiring Comedian’s Checklist: Talk Like Comedians by Learning Terms & Lingo, I’ll take you into the world of stand-up comedy nomenclature, which is just a fancy word for colloquialisms.

Laughter is contagious, pass it on.

Greg Dean’s Stand-Up Comedy Classes

Greg teaches his techniques in multiple classes.  The beginner class is “Level 1 – How to Build a Stand-Up Comedy Routine”, the advanced class is “Level 2 – Advanced Joke Writing & Performing Class”. If you’re interested in faster and better ways to create good jokes and you want to dive deeper on joke writing then you’ll want to take both of these classes.

Free How to Build a Stand-Up Comedy Routine Webinar

You’ll Get Exposed to Joke Structure and Several Other Stand Up Comedy Techniques that Could Make Your Stand Up Comedy Routines Better!

View the Webinar
Greg Dean

Forty years ago, Greg realized that nobody was teaching comedy. Greg took it upon himself to be a stand-up comedy teacher and teach others how to succeed. Setting aside his successful career as a comedian (Saturday Night Live, Ringling Bros Circus clown and ringmaster, Comedy Store paid regular, his own improv troupe with Andy Garcia) and many others, he pursued his passion – to teach the art of stand-up.