Ten of the Funniest Excerpts from Books


Recently I was giving a humor presentation at the Portland Chapter of the Willamette Writers. I gave students a list of information that writers and comedians commonly use to infuse humor into their writing. Then I read from a list of funny quotes—or quotes I thought were funny. These were all excerpts from novels or short stories. We then dissected and figured out what was working in each. I included a few of mine in the list, which was a little scary, since I never have any idea how people will react. The thing about humor is that what works for one audience, doesn’t always work for another. Fortunately it worked out that I picked some gems.

Warning: one of the excerpts has R-rated language.


“Speed Dating Books” from Fairies, Robots and Unicorns—Oh My! (Sarina Dorie)

One of the books bounced up and down, unable to contain itself. “You know you want to take me home and rip off my dust jacket.”


Seven Up (Janet Evanovich)

For the better part of my childhood, my professional aspirations were simple–I wanted to be an intergalactic princess.


The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul (Douglas Adams)

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression ‘As pretty as an airport.’


Dave Barry Slept Here (Dave Barry: 1989)

The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. They’re the kind of people who’d stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire. I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn’t bother to stop because they’d want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club.


Vile Bodies (Evelyn Waugh)

All this fuss about sleeping together. For physical pleasure I’d sooner go to my dentist any day.


Eric (Terry Pratchett)

Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.


Clown Girl (Monica Drake)

Balloon Tying For Christ was the cheapest balloon manual I could find.


Go The Fuck to Sleep (Adam Mansbach: 2011)

All the kids from day care are in dreamland. The froggie has made his last leap. Hell no, you can’t go to the bathroom. You know where you can go? The fuck to sleep.


Eels for Heels Fairies, Robots and Unicorns—Oh My! (Sarina Dorie)

“Are all the good mermen either gay or married?”

“No, some of us are divorced.” He winked at me. “You want to come back to my place. I have some fish sticks you can nibble on.”


“Roborotica” from Fairies, Robots and Unicorns—Oh My! (Sarina Dorie)

Ever since I first laid my laser on your sleek, chrome exterior and Hepa filtration system, I knew I wanted you to rev up your motor for me. And that cyclonic action makes me want to get some voltage running between us. I wouldn’t say that to just any appliance.


 If you are looking for a funny book to read, you might be interested in Fairies, Robots and Unicorns—Oh My! To find more about this collection of funny short stories, read a description here:


Or if funny horror is your cup of tea, consider Ghosts, Werewolves and Zombies—Oh My!