Phyllis Diller was a pioneering and influential female stand-up comedian whose material was rooted in exaggerating and subverting the American housewife trope of the mid-20th century.
The Complete Mother (1969) was Diller’s third book of humorous advice after Housekeeping Hints (1966) and Marriage Manual (1967).
Some of the advice and observations offered in The Complete Mother includes how to best threaten your children—“Tell him he’ll have to sit in the corner until his M&M’s melt in his hand” or “Tell him if he doesn’t behave, you’ll let Grandpa fish for his guppies”—and how “birthday parties make you realize the luckiest people in the world are those with children born on February 29th.”
Despite a later than typical start—she was 37 when she began her career in comedy—Diller became a fixture on television and in movies for the rest of her life.
She died in 2012.
If you enjoyed The Complete Mother, we suggest these Ohio side trips:
- Martin Mull’s and Allen Rucker’s The History of White People in America
- Don Novello’s The Lazlo Letters
- Douglas Kenney’s Bored of the Rings