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The funniest-ever opening lines of books

Great book openings that will have you in stitches.

The funniest-ever opening lines of books
Marc Chacksfield
20 April 2022

It's the opening line of your masterpiece: you want to catch readers' attention from the very start.

Why not make it funny? While that sounds like an easy thing to do, as our pick of the 'funniest opening lines of books' proves, it is much harder than it looks. In fact, you have to be something of a literary great to get it right.

Thankfully then, we have compiled 30 of the most humorous, bizarre and mirth-filled opening lines of books; read on and brighten up your day... because we all need a laugh right now!

The funniest lines in books

The funniest lines in books

1. The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe

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Author: Douglas Adams

"In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."

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The funniest lines in books

2. Breaking Up

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Author: WH Manville

"I don’t know how other men feel about their wives walking out on them, but I helped mine pack."

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The funniest lines in books

3. The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul

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Author: Douglas Adams

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

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The funniest lines in books

4. The Lost Continent

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Author: Bill Bryson

"I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to."

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The funniest lines in books

5. The Crow Road

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Author: Iain Banks

"It was the day my grandmother exploded."

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The funniest lines in books

6. Machine Man

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Author: Max Barry

“As a boy, I wanted to be a train.”

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Author: Janet Evanovich

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

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The funniest lines in books

8. The Princess Bride

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Author: William Goldman

“This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”

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The funniest lines in books

9. Sideways Stories From Wayside School

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Author: Louis Sachar

"We’re going to tell you about three of the children in Mrs. Jewls’s class, on the thirtieth story of Wayside School. But before we get to them, there is something you ought to know. Wayside School was accidentally built sideways. It was supposed to be only one story high, with thirty classrooms all in a row. Instead, it is thirty stories high, with one classroom on each story. The builder said he was very sorry."

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Author: Roald Dahl

"It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful."

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The funniest lines in books

11. Into Your Tent I'll Creep

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Author: Peter De Vries

“It wasn’t until I had become engaged to Miss Piano that I began avoiding her.”

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Author: Chuck Palahniuk

"If you're going to read this, don't bother."

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The funniest lines in books

13. Thank You For Smoking

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Author: Christopher Buckley

"Nick Naylor had been called many things since becoming the chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, but until now no one had actually compared him to Satan."

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The funniest lines in books

14. The Day Of The Triffids

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Author: John Wyndham

"When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere."

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The funniest lines in books

15. The Fifth Elephant

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Author: Terry Pratchett

"They say the world is flat and supported on the back of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle."

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The funniest lines in books

16. Clown Girl

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Author: Monica Drake

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

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Author: Ha Jin

"Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu."

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The funniest lines in books

18. Patient Zero

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Author: Jonathan Maberry

"When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, then there’s either something wrong with your skills or something wrong with your world. And there’s nothing wrong with my skills."

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The funniest lines in books

19. A River Runs Through It

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Author: Norman Maclean

"In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing."

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The funniest lines in books

20. Still Life With Woodpecker

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Author: Tom Robbins

“If this typewriter can’t do it, then f*** it, it can’t be done.

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The funniest lines in books

21. Wild Wood

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Author: Colin Meloy

“How five crows managed to lift a twenty-pound baby boy into the air was beyond Prue, but that was certainly the least of her worries.”

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The funniest lines in books

22. Sacred Games

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Author: Vikram Chandra

“A white Pomeranian named Fluffy flew out of the a fifth-floor window in Panna, which was a grand-new building with the painter’s scaffolding still around it. Fluffy screamed.”

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The funniest lines in books

23. I Capture The Castle

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Author: Dodie Smith

"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

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The funniest lines in books

24. Charlotte's Web

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Author: E.B. White

"'Where's Papa going with that axe?' said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast."

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The funniest lines in books

25. Wake In Fright

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Author: Kenneth Cook

"He sat at his desk, wearily watching the children file out of the room, reflecting that, this term at least, it was reasonable to assume that none of the girls was pregnant."

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The funniest lines in books

26. The Metamorphosis And Other Stories

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Author: Franz Kafka

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."

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The funniest lines in books

27. I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan

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Author: Alan Partridge

"When I was 8 years old, I suffered a nosebleed so profuse and generous I bolted from the schoolyard and sought solace in the first class countryside of Norfolk."

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The funniest lines in books

28. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

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Author: Seth Grahame-Smith

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

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The funniest lines in books

29. Middlesex

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Author: Jeffrey Eugenides

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."

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The funniest lines in books

30. An Abundance Of Katherines

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Author: John Green

"The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the 19th time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath. Colin had always preferred baths."

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