Today the internet is buzzing over the release of the new trailer for the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey, so it seems like a good time to revisit an article from our archives of hilarious celebrities reading excerpts from the racy books. Enjoy!
In 2012, the entire world seemed to be talking about graphic adult novel 50 Shades of Grey, by then-unknown author E.L. James. James wrote the books as fan fiction based on Stephenie Meyer's wildly successful Twilight series, and the trilogy soon exploded on the bestseller lists and sold tens of millions of copies worldwide.
The catch? The books are irrefutably terrible. Though the prose is awkward, repetitive, and badly-written, the sado-masochistic love scenes opened new doors for repressed readers everywhere, and soon everyone from your mom to your mail carrier was embarking on a strange erotic journey of the mind. Yeah, I know. It was super gross.
Fortunately for us humor fans, the sexy trilogy inspired countless parodies, spoofs, and ironic readings. Some of the funniest jabs came in the form of celebrities simply reading from the books. Here are a few of the best readings by funny folks like David Sedaris and Ellen Degeneres. We'll start with my favorite:
There is a good reason that this clip has been viewed over 3,032,666 times on YouTube. Hearing the grating but distinctive voice of Gilbert Gottfried (think "Iago" from Aladdin) uttering such phrases as "I felt my nipples pucker" nearly made me spit out my coffee! Produced by Jest Comedy, this clip has great production value. The expressions on the faces of the women who are listening to a fictitious audio book version of 50 Shades narrated by Gottfried are priceless. This is less than two minutes of comedy that you just shouldn't miss.
While out stumping for their political comedy, The Campaign, comedic actors Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis did an impromptu reading of the bestselling romance novel. Casting rumors had reached an epic pitch, so the two funny guys tried their hand at reading for the part of Christian Grey. Hilarity ensued.
This sketch was made to air on comedian Ellen Degeneres' talk show, Ellen, but it quickly went viral once it was uploaded to the web. Like the Gottfried sketch, this clip imagines what it would be like if Degeneres had been asked to read the audio version of 50 Shades of Grey. In typical Ellen fashion, things don't go according to plan. So funny!
While giving an interview on Dutch television show, College Tour, the host asked beloved American humorist David Sedaris to read a passage written by his "colleague" (gag!) E.L. James. Ever the good sport, Sedaris obliged, and he emoted hilariously and brought the text to life. There is just something so funny, yet so mortifying, about hearing a wonderful, witty writer like Sedaris say, "He gently pulls my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet." And that's just in the first 40 seconds!