Picking out the best gifts for your loved ones can feel like a never-ending maze of lofty price tags and vague memories of shoes they said they liked years ago. Of course, in concept, the best gifts are deeply personal—a weird lamp that made you think of your sister or a bear-shaped lighter that just screams Uncle Dan. But finding the inspiration for these intimate gifts is much harder than it sounds. Have no fear though, as I have concocted a foolproof way to holiday shop for your closest loved ones—and it all starts with pinpointing their favorite stand-up comedian.
Sports fans often receive sports regalia during the holidays, art enthusiasts often receive books of illustrations or museum entry, so why not give the comedy fan in your life something that reminds them of their favorite stand-up? Now, I know what you’re thinking: buying everyone stand-up DVDs might feel in vain since so many specials are streaming, and tickets to shows can be utterly expensive (and not possible for months on end). This is where we diverge from the sports fans buying season tickets and the art lovers stocking up on books. Comedy is an absurd art form, so buying someone prank gifts based on their favorite comedian feels far more satisfying than doling out cash for a Blu-ray when they can watch Dave Chapelle on their ex-boyfriend’s roommate’s Netflix.
For this reason, I’ve created a list of gift ideas based on your loved ones’ favorite comedians, and I think these will hit it out of the park.
Amy Schumer: the movie Zookeeper, a Hitachi Magic Wand, and condoms
Amy Schumer has dedicated a good portion of her stand-up to speaking up for a woman’s right to orgasm, so a Hitachi Magic Wand (or another high-caliber vibrator) is an ideal pick for your Schumer-loving friend. Regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, they’ll be able to use the vibrator on themselves, a partner, or as a prop to freak people out at parties. (And don’t be cheap—go for the wireless rechargable.)
Condoms are an obvious addition to any sex-positive gift, and the movie Zookeeper is the subject of one of Schumer’s jokes on her HBO special Live at the Apollo, where she mocks the possibility of Rosario Dawson swooning over Kevin James. This gift set is a trifecta of Schumer-inspired fun.
Dave Chappelle: an Oscar The Grouch shirt and a vape pen
A lot of comedians talk about weed and the various subcultures of people that live from joint to joint, but few have as many hilarious and wide-ranging jokes on the topic as Dave Chapelle. If the die-hard Chappelle fan in your life doesn’t already have a vape pen, get them a super luxurious one they can use while staring into the abyss of existence.
Up your reference game by weirding them out with an Oscar the Grouch shirt. On Killin’ Them Softly, Chappelle has an iconic bit about how Sesame Street enforces classism via the whole neighborhood’s attitudes towards Oscar. So, showing some solidarity with this puppet’s plight is a deep cut into Chappelle fandom.
Maria Bamford: a 12-pack of Diet Coke and a People Magazine subscription
There are endless things to buy a Maria Bamford lover that would inadvertently reference her comedy: blankets for sitting around time; anything pug related; a vat of warm, rising bread dough to dip themselves in. But getting your loved one a supply of Diet Coke and some extra juicy People magazines would be a mega clever gift since it directly references Bamford’s bit about how her religion of preference is magazines and soda.
With these supplies in tow, your family member will be able to fully immerse themselves in the LA-based religion of Bamford.
Eddie Pepitone: a notebook for to-do lists and the book It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis.
Anyone both familiar and in love with the comedy of Eddie Pepitone knows he’s staunchly critical of the oppressive effects of capitalism, and how often and quickly America has embraced fascism throughout history. His leftist comedy feels particularly prescient given the current political climate, and the writing of Sinclair Lewis speaks directly to that (plus, Pepitone is a fan).
If your loved one is a big Pepitone fan, they are likely already familiar with his ongoing “to-do list” bits which take shape in both tweets and videos. Pepitone’s to-do lists tend to escalate into the absurd. Also, giving your friend a notebook is useful in general. Who’s honestly been that bad at receiving a leatherbound notebook?
Margaret Cho: a Loveboat box set and a bottle of booze
A majority of comedians have at least one joke about drinking (or their reasons for sobriety), which makes sense given the bar culture of comedy and the depressive people it draws. But Margaret Cho could teach a MasterClass on telling stories that feel fresh and original. The Cho-lover on your holiday list will immediately get the joke if you buy them a Loveboat box set and their favorite booze of choice. She has a whole bit about taking a shot when her favorite Loveboat character comes on screen, and how true alcoholics pick the boat as their character.
Obviously, there are many more comedians your family and friends might name as their favorite. But I’m hoping this guide will help give you a running start towards some creative and ridiculous gift ideas.