Three new books look at humor classics: a magazine, a TV show and a one-woman comedy phenomenon.
The Best of the Harvard Lampoon: 140 Years of American Humor (Simon & Schuster), with an introduction by Simon Rich, collects a wide range of works by writers from John Updike to Conan O'Brien, from the "ancient humor magazine" that spawned National Lampoon, SNL and much more.
The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History, as told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests (Grand Central) by Chris Smith is a fascinating, no-holds-barred look behind the scenes of the show that revolutionized television comedy.
Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers (Little, Brown) by Leslie Bennetts is the sometimes hilarious, sometimes shocking biography of a comedian driven by tremendous ambition and equally tremendous self-loathing.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor