The Leningrad Cowboys – a Slavic folk band tagged as “the worst rock ‘n’ roll band in the world” – travel to America in search of success. That’s about as far as plot goes in Leningrad Cowboys Go America, an absurdest comedy that satirizes Americana, the immigrant experience, and the Soviet political system.
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In City Island, Vince has plenty of secrets. His whole family does. His son has a fetish, his daughter moonlights as an exotic dancer, his wife thinks he’s having an affair and all Vince wants is to be an actor. The comedy of ill-communication is magnified in City Island.
“If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable,” said Carrie Fisher. You can find out what she meant in her memoir, Wishful Drinking.
If you want to read more sordid, hilarious, and sometimes sad memoirs by famous, funny women, click here.
If you’re tired of of American TV, look across the Atlantic to what’s on the telly in England. The BBC produces absolutely fabulous, small-screen sitcoms that are usually about six episodes per season.
To explore contemporary British comedy, click here.
Not many books can boast the clever balance of humor, action, nostalgia, touches of romance, and overflowing wit that characterizes Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. One of the top books of 2011, the story of the ultimate online Easter egg hunt (with real world consequences) blends adventure and heart in a way that makes it unthinkable for you to stop playing. In an inspired bit of casting, Wil Wheaton voices the audiobook, and his reading is both strong and tinged with droll amusement. A noble quest wrapped in pop culture references, Ready Player One is the perfect escape. What are you waiting for? Engage!
When precocious teenager Susan (Shirley Temple) falls hard for a playboy artist (Cary Grant) who lectures at her school, it will take more than common sense to break the spell. Hoping to be his model, she sneaks into his apartment and is discovered there by her sister Margaret (Myrna Loy), the judge who recognizes the wisecracking gent as someone who appeared before her in court. Only in the movies would Susan’s family pressure Richard to “date” her until the phase passes, but the result is comic gold, especially when the judge herself isn’t completely immune to his charms. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer is a sparkler of a screwball comedy that will put a shine in your eyes.
When the comparisons to Tina Fey’s Bossypants are so obvious that the author humorously addresses them in the introduction, you know you are in for a good time. The multi-talented Mindy Kaling, best known for her work on TV’s The Office, makes a bubbly debut as both author and narrator in Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns). Kaling mixes glimpses into her personal history with witty commentary on life in general. She is funny, insightful, and endearing, and listening to the audiobook will only increase the feeling that you are sitting down with a clever friend.
In the mood for sweet fun and a splash of romance? Take a chance on Shooting Fish, a light PG-rated British comedy released in 1997. Jez and Dylan have a particular talent for ingenious schemes, and the money they pocket goes toward providing a stately home for orphans. Since they themselves are the orphans, it might not be as altruistic as first appears. You won’t really mind, though, because it’s so much fun watching them concoct their elaborate cons. When they hire Georgie (Kate Beckinsale) to pose as a secretary, their long-established twosome makes room for a third. Smart writing, witty dialogue, and winning performances make enjoying this film as easy as…well, you know.
“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.” If your ears itch for fast-paced, witty dialogue and a dash of romantic intrigue, you can do no better than the L.A. Theatre Works production of The Importance of Being Earnest. One of the most adored plays in the English language is brought to vivid life, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a misplaced handbag. James Marsters leads a cast of nimble voice actors in the story of Jack and Algernon, who both pretend to be named Ernest in order to enjoy double lives. Laugh out loud with the play that best showcases Oscar Wilde’s scathing humor.
From the moment you meet the delightful Tom and Gerri, you will immediately want to be their friend. Smart, affectionate, warm, and witty, they share a relationship that is marked by mutual respect and generosity. Others notice, too, which is why they’ve become a surrogate family for a misfit or two. They live out friendship in a way that demonstrates support and acceptance, even when the person(s) in question would exhaust anyone else. In Another Year, director Mike Leigh delivers an honest portrait of ordinary people who just want to be happy. Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, and Lesley Manville twinkle as their characters experience the comedy and drama of four memorable seasons.