Weddings, funerals, Princess Margaret, and the Kappas all find a place in some of the most memorable humor from Southern writers.
There are book titles and then there are book titles—the ones that stop you in the aisle at Barnes & Noble and make you laugh out loud (as your bemused fellow shoppers look on with an expression that says, “Should I laugh, too, or summon management?”)
The late great Georgia boy Lewis Grizzard was a one-man treasure trove, with the following tomes to his credit:
-Elvis Is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself
-Don’t Believe I’d A Told That
-They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat
-Don’t Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes
-Shoot Low, Boys, They’re Ridin’ Shetland Ponies
Southern women also know how to go for the comic jugular. The late Maryln Schwartz, who wrote for The Dallas Morning News, gave us A Southern Belle Primer: Why Princess Margaret Will Never Be a Kappa Kappa Gamma, confirming once and for all that the bridesmaids’ shoes really do need to match the punch.
Louisiana writer Shellie Rushing Tomlinson admonished women everywhere to Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On (subtitled What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters and the Rest of Y’all Should Know Too).
Tomlinson also wrote Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy, with such chapter titles as “She Got Those Heavy Legs from Her Mama’s Side,” “Normal Crazy vs. Straight Running Crazy,” and “Yo Southern Mama Is Following You on Twitter.”
Mississippi Delta natives Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays penned Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies’ Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral—not to be confused with Somebody is Going to Die If Lilly Beth Doesn’t Catch That Bouquet: The Official Southern Ladies’ Guide to Hosting the Perfect Wedding.
Among the observations in Metcalfe and Hays’ Some Day You’ll Thank Me for This: The Official Southern Ladies’ Guide to Being a “Perfect” Mother is this little gem:
“If a northern mother says, ‘My, it’s humid tonight,’ what she is trying to say is: ‘My, it’s humid tonight.’ When the Southern mother makes this seemingly innocent statement, what she means is: ‘Haven’t you ever heard of a cream rinse? Your hair’s frizzier than a grizzly bear’s.’”
Here are a few zingers from North Carolina writer Celia Rivenbark, whose bio claims that the proudest day of her life came when Sears delivered a matching washer and dryer, neither of which had to go on the front porch:
-You Can’t Drink All Day If You Don’t Start in the Morning
-Bless Your Heart, Tramp: And Other Southern Endearments
-We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle
-Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny with a Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits
Just a few more favorites worth a chuckle:
-Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux? by Marcelle Bienvenu
-One Fell Soup or I’m Just a Bug on the Windshield of Life by Roy Blount, Jr.
-Don’t Make Me Choose Between You and My Shoes: Big Hair in the Big Apple Equals Big Trouble by Dixie Cash, pen name for co-writing sisters Pamela Cumbie and Jeffery McClanahan, who grew up in West Texas.
Did we miss any? Is there a Southern book you've come across that is absolutely hilarious? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter!