The best comedy books of 2014
The best comedy books of 2014

Can a calendar year really be drawing to a close if no one stops to make a list of the top cultural output of the past 12 months?

Looking back over the past year, one thing is clear: It’s not such a heartwarming one to revisit. It was, however, a perfect year for escape and catharsis through comedy. So, just in time for deadline shopping, here are five highlights of the comedy book —
broadly defined as funny books by funny people — landscape in 2014.

Yes Please By Amy Poehler (Dey Street)
Amy Poehler is a television star, writer and mother of two young children. She’s busy. She doesn’t have time to be our best friend or even casual acquaintance, on call for when life demands sage advice. Luckily, Poehler produced a book that neatly packages a lot of what one might want to hear from her: honest thoughts on body image, divorce, ambition, sex, and why she gave Hill­ary Rodham Clinton that crazy laugh when she played her on “Saturday Night Live.”

No Land’s Man By Aasif Mandvi (Chronicle)
It takes a confident comedian to set someone else up to deliver the best joke. In his memoir-as-essays collection, Aasif Mandvi gives the best gag to his parents. It involves Mello Yello soda and a truly inspired vision of a loving partnership.

It Won’t Always Be This Great By Peter Mehlman (Bancroft)
What would the internal monologue of a Long Island podiatrist embroiled in community intrigue sound like if the good doctor had some of the neuroses and self-perception of “Seinfeld”? That question — a surprisingly entertaining one — is what Peter Mehlman explores in his first novel.

Mehlman served as an executive producer on “Seinfeld” and is credited with coining such immortal Seinfeldisms as “yada yada” and “shrinkage.”