Humor and Cancer

It can be hard sometimes to find humor during a serious illness in yourself or someone you love. There is a time and a place for humor, as long as the person introducing it is sensitive to the needs of their audience. We have a humor collection in our library specifically because of the research done by Norman Cousins around the healing power of laughter. We have books and videos (including the complete collection of “I Love Lucy” tapes!).  Below is information on a few humorists who use lightheartedness to relate their experiences with cancer.


Christine Clark is a cancer survivor, business woman and author who has written many books about the benefits of humor during an illness.  Find her books for sale and a blog on her website.

Kris Carr is a New York Times and #1 Amazon best-selling author, wellness activist and cancer “thriver.”  Her site includes recipes, cook books, healthy living guides, and other uplifting materials about cancer.

Tig Notaro is a comedian who has become well-known for the moving stand up show she performed the day after being diagnosed with breast cancer.  Tig explores the reality that life does not stop once you are diagnosed with cancer.  This excerpt is a raw and sarcastic look at how Tig and those in her life have reacted to her diagnosis.

  • The This American Life website hosts an excerpt of the performance here.

The Gathering Place Education Centers, the Mt. Sinai Community Partners Education Center at our east location and the Reinberger Foundation Education Center at our west location, both have materials on cancer and humor.  Visit the library collection pages and search “humor” to see all of the titles.  A sample of available books are below.  Click on the icons for more information about each book.

Not Now I'm Having a No Hair Day 57 Good Things about Chemotherapy Cancer on $5 a Day Humor After the Tumor