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National Tell a Joke Day: Library Edition

Guest Blogger,
National Tell a Joke Day banner

What is the tallest building in the world? The library, because it has the most stories. Happy National Tell a Joke Day!

Whether it's telling your favorite joke, watching your favorite rom-com, or listening to stand up comedy, nothing brightens up your day better than a good laugh. Another great source for lighthearted humor is literature! Unfortunately though, like most entertainment spaces, the comedy industry lacks diversity. So to celebrate laughter this year, we wanted to create a booklist to highlight published comedians of color available here at the library.

There are many comedians of color like Wanda Sykes, Mindy Kaling, and Margaret Cho who are well established and well loved in the comedy scene, but there’s gotta be more right? Comedians like Phoebe Robinson, author of You Can't Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain and Negin Farsad, author of How to Make White People Laugh, too often fly under the radar. Seeing diversity like this, especially in comedy, is an extremely valuable tool in trying to understand the experiences of those around us. It also offers readers of color an opportunity to see themselves and relate further to the people telling them jokes.

It's important that we're conscious of what we choose to read, listen to, or watch, and diversifying our bookshelves doesn't mean giving up what we already love to read, we are only adding to it. If humor is one of your favorite genres, allow space for a variety of perspectives. Here’s a short list to help you out.

Comedians of Color

You Can't Touch My Hair And Other Things I Still Have to Explain
Robinson, Phoebe

While this stand-up comedian’s best-selling book of hilarious essays on race, gender, and popular culture is not exactly a memoir in its strictest definition, the political is personal with Robinson. All the subjects which she addresses in her podcast “Sooo Many White Guys” are present here, told with wit and plenty of pop-cultural references. Robinson’s discussion of race and feminism in America is as timely as ever, all told with her signature conversational style that made her podcast a top choice on iTunes.

Why Not Me?
Kaling, Mindy,

The Last Black Unicorn
Haddish, Tiffany, 1979-

Yeah, I Said It
Sykes, Wanda.

I'm the One That I Want
Cho, Margaret.

How to Make White People Laugh
Farsad, Negin,

Richard Ayoade Presents the Grip of Film
Ayoade, Richard, 1977-

Ghetto Klown: A Graphic Novel
Leguizamo, John,

The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad - and - Stand-Up Comedian
Bell, W. Kamau,

Cheech is Not My Real Name: But Don't Call Me Chong!
Marin, Cheech,

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
Rae, Issa,

Written by Sofia Ramirez

Los Angeles Public Library is hosting several students through our Diversity and Inclusion Apprenticeship program this summer. This program gives students a firsthand experience in the library world. Among the apprentices is Sofia Ramirez who plans to pursue a career in librarianship. Sofia has excellent writing skills, so we tasked her with creating a post for the library's blog.