Top 10 Funny Pieces of German Literature Showing the Nation's Humorous Side

Tags: #literaturelover ,   #German ,   #BookLover

Scarlett Goldstein

Scarlett Goldstein

Last updated:  2023-05-14 06:00:08

We bet you've heard the worst stories about German humor and how it doesn't ever get hilarious when they joke about something. However, German comedies are indeed entertaining, and we'll show you that with these top ten incredibly amusing books. Every rainy day gets better with those hilarious plots!

10. “Jesus Liebt Mich” by David Safier

This entertaining story also got a movie adaptation!

Trust us – even Germans make well-written romantic stories! David Safier released the novel "Jesus Loves Me" in 2008, so it's relatively fresh compared to the other stuff on our list. However, it's already so funny that you'll giggle while reading – even the apocalyptic theme won't make you stop laughing!

The contradictory thing about this one is that it was written by a male author, breaking the stereotype that only women write the chick-lit genre. Safier played like a pro with those insane scenes where Jesus meets reality and today's world full of immorality – he's even drinking a mojito. It's all surreal and humorous, to say the least!

9. "Die 13 1/2 Leben des Käpt‘n Blaubär" by Walter Moers

Moers' books are so addictive you'll read all of them!

The title might sound complicated initially, but nothing's too complex about this exciting novel with funny cover art! "The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear" probably give off a cartoon vibe when you hear it first, but that's because a cartoonist created this story. Walter Moers is a comic creator who is a pro at cartoons!

If you thought cats have an impressive amount of nine lives and that it makes them extraordinary, you should meet Moers' bear, who has 27 lives! The reviewers raved about the book, naming it "endlessly entertaining." You won't even read about all his lives, and it will already be enough happiness and laughs!

8. "Die Känguru Chroniken" by Marc Uwe Kling

You'll like this animation if you like the book series!

If you're a fan of long, long stories with sequels, we've got you for this one! "The Kangaroo Chronicles" don't only sound hilarious, but they also contain four books, so it will be a long read. We promise it's worth it because you literally won't stop laughing! The beloved series also got its movie adaptation in 2020!

Just like Jesus dances salsa and drinks alcohol in our previous recommendation on the list, a kangaroo is here just like any other human being. He needs eggs to make pancakes, and his political opinion is clear. The great thing is that the books have many characters, but the plot stays simple yet exciting, and it will keep you guessing!

7. “Die Physiker” by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

He's a beloved Swiss playwright

Let's not forget that German is widely spread in Europe. Hence, German isn't only spoken and written in Germany – for example, many Swiss authors and artists use German as their native language. That's how we come to the following recommendation – Friedrich Dürrenmatt from Switzerland!

Dürrenmatt is mainly known for his political contribution to literature, as he did satire, avant-garde, and World War II themes. Nevertheless, he knew how to spice up his satire with good old humor, and "The Physicists" is the finest line between tragedy and comedy. Exactly what you need when you want something serious with a bit of a good laugh!

6. “Minna von Barnhelm” by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Lessing is more beloved in German literature than almost anyone!

Not many writers from Germany are considered pure classics of their literature. The discussion mostly ends once you mention Goethe and Schiller. However, Gotthold Lessing is a name that is so relevant that it could stand next to Goethe and his best friend! He's considered the founder of modern German literature now.

It's hard to tell which Lessing's masterpiece is the best since he wrote various dramas that are huge even today. However, if we're talking humor and the funny side of his works, "Minna von Barnhelm" will surely be your cup of tea! It's a comedy about honor and marriage in a setting that might look too serious for a comedy, but that's what makes it even better!

5. “Neue Vahr Süd“ by Sven Regener

There is a movie adaptation as well!

Everyday life can also be a comedy, as Sven Regener shows in his novels. This author is also a musician who's been in four bands, and his life is equally enjoyable as his comedies! It's hard to tell which novel is the funniest, but "Neue Vahr Süd "covers a critical, heavy topic, so it's a whole package!

This novel belongs to Regener's more famous works, as it also got a movie adaptation. Check the novel first; many say the movie didn't live up to their expectations! If you like this one, go on and read "Der Kleine Bruder, "released in 2008, as it's also a great comedy that will awaken your senses!

4. “Simplicius Simplicissimus” by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen

"Simplicissimus" inspired German culture a lot

What's funnier than a good old adventure? Even "Don Quixote" is so funny that you probably couldn't stop laughing throughout the story. Regarding German literature, "Simplicius Simplicissimus" is one of the ultimate classics. Whenever you think of an adventure, you'd remember this silly story with various ups and downs in the plot!

Luckily, this story is still alive in theaters and literary circles, and now it has an opera adaptation highlighting the story's brutality, making it even more intense. The plot is heavily influenced by the Thirty Years' War, and it's not simple as the title suggests, but something is captivating in its humor.

3. “Leonce und Lena” by Georg Büchner

You can see "Leonce und Lena" in theaters all the time

Love stories usually have a humorous side – that's how rom-coms work, anyway. However, this is far from a rom-com, even though it looks like that! Georg Büchner wanted to create the exact opposite and a satire that would laugh it all off. Still, the story turned out to be inevitably funny. It's like a low-key version of "Romeo and Juliet!"

Interestingly enough, Büchner left the world before his plays became famous enough to be performed. He had no idea his plays would ever get a chance. Nowadays, "Leonce und Lena" is one of the most beloved ballets played worldwide. Hence, this odd love story with some satire fits all the standards.

2. “Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts“ by Joseph von Eichendorff

This is one of Eichendorff's most excellent works

When you name a book "Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing," you know that the person this book is about is either underrated or a total disaster. How would you feel if anyone ever named you "good-for-nothing?" We hope you've never heard this phrase in the past, but Eichendorff kind of makes it sound funny in his work!

However, this good-for-nothing definitely doesn't have an empty head, and his dreams and passions take him to various destinations. Eichendorff probably didn't even mean to make this novella funny. Still, its intentionally naïve language and simplicity make it amusing and relatable. You'll finish reading this one so quickly that you'll miss it!

1. “Max und Moritz” by Wilhelm Busch

The illustrations will tell you enough already!

And finally, meet "the two naughtiest boys from Germany" that made many people's lives miserable. Except for the readers' lives since they are so entertained all the time! These two had a tragic death, but it's not even a spoiler since everybody learns this first when they find out about these wild stories!

This might also look like a children's book. Still, Busch intentionally made it so funny and memeable – he wanted the public to learn something about good and bad behavior. You'll see mostly the wrong side here, but you won't stop laughing along the way. Maybe karma's real, and maybe it was Busch's intention to also show that!

You've seen it all on this list, from dark to lighthearted humor, full of good laughs and unexpected plot twists. We guess stereotypes are a waste of time as everyone has individual traits. Of course, many German authors know how to make a funny novel!

Do you think Germans aren't funny at all? Is it just a stereotype? Let us know in the comments section!

Cover photo: Ed Robertson/Unsplash



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