A really good piece by Barbara Alfaro on: What's So Funny?: I too feel that today's writers are often substituting profanity and parody for funny--and part of it is that real comic writing is difficult and rare. Woody himself gave up trying to be funny-- and some of the great early comic starts, like V.S. Naipaul [whose Miguel Street is laugh out loud funny] just gave up under the strain. Kipling's early stories were replaced by other great work, but never again comic. Even the genius P.G. Wodehouse only achieved true funny-funny with his Bertie-Jeeves cycle, and then only for a while and in retrospect, only in a few of the Bertie novels [still an incredible achievement.] It just seems too hard to keep going.
But some suggestions about funny writers: the amazing New York cycle by DAWN POWELL [some are out of print-- like THE GOLDEN SPUR and ANGELS ON TOAST, but you find them used] and the ever-fresh Indian novels of R.K. NARAYAN, whose the Painter of Signs must tickle anyone's funny bone. And if you haven't read RING LARDNER, you are in for a treat. And, the often ignored novel by the funny and lyrical Allegra Goodman, PARADISE PARK -- read it and laugh.