NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times • Newsday • Esquire • NPR • Booklist
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.
Praise for Born a Crime
“[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“[An] unforgettable memoir.”—Parade
“What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today
“[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People
“[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”—Booklist (starred review)
“A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”—Kirkus Reviews
"An absolute must-read" – Shondaland
“[Rabbit] tells how it went down with brutal honesty and outrageous humor” – New York Times
They called her Rabbit.
Patricia Williams (aka Ms. Pat) was born and raised in Atlanta at the height of the crack epidemic. One of five children, Pat watched as her mother struggled to get by on charity, cons, and petty crimes. At age seven, Pat was taught to roll drunks for money. At twelve, she was targeted for sex by a man eight years her senior. By thirteen, she was pregnant. By fifteen, Pat was a mother of two.
Alone at sixteen, Pat was determined to make a better life for her children. But with no job skills and an eighth-grade education, her options were limited. She learned quickly that hustling and humor were the only tools she had to survive. Rabbit is an unflinching memoir of cinematic scope and unexpected humor. With wisdom and humor, Pat gives us a rare glimpse of what it’s really like to be a black mom in America.
Famous comedian and actor, funniest judge on Britain's Got Talent, high-achieving sportsman and BESTSELLING AUTHOR of The World's Worst Children series, David Walliams is a man of many talents . . .
Launched to fame with the record-breaking Little Britain, his characters - Lou, Florence, Emily, amongst others - became embedded in our shared popular culture. You couldn't enter a playground for a long while without hearing "eh, eh, eh" or "computer says no".
And Walliams is a mystery. Often described as a bundle of contradictions, he is disarming and enigmatic, playing up his campness one minute and hinting about his depression the next.
To read Camp David is to be truly shocked, as well as tickled pink: David Walliams bares his soul like never before and reveals a fascinating and complex mind.
This searingly honest autobiography is a true roller-coaster ride of emotions, as this nation's sweetheart unlocks closely guarded secrets that until now have remained hidden in his past.
'Will surprise, entertain, and allow fans and newcomers to enter the comic's uniquely brilliant world' GQ Magazine
'Raucously funny and superbly written' Heat
'A great read. My only criticism is it ended too soon' The Sun
'A fascinating read' Star Magazine
'Brilliantly written' Express
'Fascinating stuff' Closer
'Uproariously great' Guardian
So here we go; it's time to back up because YouTube superstars, The Sidemen, are finally here in book form and they're dishing the dirt on each other as well as the YouTube universe.
There's nowhere to hide as KSI, Miniminter, Behzinga, Zerkaa,Vikkstar123, Wroetoshaw and Tobjizzle go in hard on their living habits, their football ability, and their dodgy clobber, while also talking Fifa, Vegas and superheroes. They'll also give you their grand house tour, letting you in on a few secrets, before showing you their hall of fame, as well as revealing some of their greatest shames.
Along the way you'll learn how seven of the world's biggest YouTube stars started off with nothing more than a computer console, a PC and a bad haircut before joining forces to crush the internet. And they'll tell you just how they did it (because they're nice like that) with their ultimate guide to YouTube while also sharing their memories of recording their favourite videos as well as a typical day in the life of The Sidemen.
You'll feel like you're with them every step of the way, smelling the 'sweet' aroma of the boys' favourite dishes in the kitchen, stamping your passport as you follow them on their trips around the world and kicking every ball as the boys gear up for the biggest football match of their lives.
It's going to get personal. It's going to get intense, and JJ is going to have lots of tantrums, so take a moment to prepare yourself, because this is The Sidemen book you've been waiting for!
Bonnie's own path from bartending to truck driving, massage therapy, elder abuse, stand-up comedy, and acting never stopped her from being Doug's genuine number one fan. So when her alcoholic, hoarding life finally came to an end many weird adventures later in rural Arizona, it was inevitable that Doug and Bonnie would be together for one last excursion.
Digging Up Mother follows Doug's absurd, chaotic, and often obscene life as it intersects with that of his best friend, biggest fan, and love of his life-his mother. And it all starts with her death-one of the most memorable and amazing farewells you will ever read.
In the mid-seventies, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. This book is, in his own words, the story of “why I did stand-up and why I walked away.”
Emmy and Grammy Award–winner, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been a writer. His memoir of his years in stand-up is candid, spectacularly amusing, and beautifully written.
At age ten Martin started his career at Disneyland, selling guidebooks in the newly opened theme park. In the decade that followed, he worked in the Disney magic shop and the Bird Cage Theatre at Knott’s Berry Farm, performing his first magic/comedy act a dozen times a week. The story of these years, during which he practiced and honed his craft, is moving and revelatory. The dedication to excellence and innovation is formed at an astonishingly early age and never wavers or wanes.
Martin illuminates the sacrifice, discipline, and originality that made him an icon and informs his work to this day. To be this good, to perform so frequently, was isolating and lonely. It took Martin decades to reconnect with his parents and sister, and he tells that story with great tenderness. Martin also paints a portrait of his times—the era of free love and protests against the war in Vietnam, the heady irreverence of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late sixties, and the transformative new voice of Saturday Night Live in the seventies.
Throughout the text, Martin has placed photographs, many never seen before. Born Standing Up is a superb testament to the sheer tenacity, focus, and daring of one of the greatest and most iconoclastic comedians of all time.
From the writer and director of Knocked Up and the producer of Freaks and Geeks comes a collection of intimate, hilarious conversations with the biggest names in comedy from the past thirty years—including Mel Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Roseanne Barr, Harold Ramis, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, and Lena Dunham.
Before becoming one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, Judd Apatow was the original comedy nerd. At fifteen, he took a job washing dishes in a local comedy club—just so he could watch endless stand-up for free. At sixteen, he was hosting a show for his local high school radio station in Syosset, Long Island—a show that consisted of Q&As with his comedy heroes, from Garry Shandling to Jerry Seinfeld. They talked about their careers, the science of a good joke, and their dreams of future glory (turns out, Shandling was interested in having his own TV show one day and Steve Allen had already invented everything).
Thirty years later, Apatow is still that same comedy nerd—and he’s still interviewing funny people about why they do what they do.
Sick in the Head gathers Apatow’s most memorable and revealing conversations into one hilarious, wide-ranging, and incredibly candid collection that spans not only his career but his entire adult life. Here are the comedy legends who inspired and shaped him, from Mel Brooks to Steve Martin. Here are the contemporaries he grew up with in Hollywood, from Spike Jonze to Sarah Silverman. And here, finally, are the brightest stars in comedy today, many of whom Apatow has been fortunate to work with, from Seth Rogen to Amy Schumer. And along the way, something kind of magical happens: What started as a lifetime’s worth of conversations about comedy becomes something else entirely. It becomes an exploration of creativity, ambition, neediness, generosity, spirituality, and the joy that comes from making people laugh.
Loaded with the kind of back-of-the-club stories that comics tell one another when no one else is watching, this fascinating, personal (and borderline-obsessive) book is Judd Apatow’s gift to comedy nerds everywhere.
Praise for Sick in the Head
“I can’t stop reading it. . . . I don’t want this book to end.”—Jimmy Fallon
“An essential for any comedy geek.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Fascinating . . . a collection of interviews with many of the great figures of comedy in the latter half of the twentieth century.”—The Washington Post
“Open this book anywhere, and you’re bound to find some interesting nugget from someone who has had you in stitches many, many times.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“An amazing read, full of insights and connections both creative and interpersonal.”—The New Yorker
“Fascinating and revelatory.”—Chicago Tribune
“Anyone even remotely interested in comedy or humanity should own this book.”—Will Ferrell
One of the undisputed heavyweight champions of American comedy, with nineteen appearances on the Johnny Carson show, thirteen HBO specials, five Grammys, and a critical Supreme Court battle over censorship under his belt, George Carlin saw it all throughout his extraordinary fifty-year career, and made fun of most of it. Last Words is the story of the man behind some of the most seminal comedy of the last half century, blending his signature acerbic humor with never-before-told stories from his own life, including encounters with a Who’s Who of 1970s celebrity—from Lenny Bruce to Hugh Hefner—and the origins of some of his most famous standup routines. Carlin’s early conflicts, his long struggle with substance abuse, his turbulent relationships with his family, and his triumphs over catastrophic setbacks all fueled the unique comedic worldview he brought to the stage. From the heights of stardom to the low points few knew about, Last Words is told with the same razor-sharp wit and unblinking honesty that made Carlin one of the best-loved comedians in American history
Michael McIntyre is Britain's biggest comedy star. He has released two record-breaking DVDs, Live and Laughing and Hello Wembley; hosts his own BAFTA-nominated BBC1 series, Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow; and has picked up British Comedy Awards for Best Live Stand-Up and Best Male TV Comic. Last year he became the youngest ever host of the Royal Variety Performance, and now in 2011 he takes the hot seat as a judge in the hit ITV show Britain's Got Talent.
How did he get there?
Michael reveals all in his remarkably honest and hilarious autobiography. His showbiz roots, his appalling attempts to attract the opposite sex, his fish-out-of-water move from public to state school and his astonishing journey from selling just one ticket at the Edinburgh Festival to selling half a million tickets on his last tour. Michael McIntyre's Life and Laughing is riveting, poignant, romantic and above all very, very funny.
Michael McIntyre was born in South London in 1976 to parents from the world of showbiz. His Hungarian mother was a dancer and his Canadian father co-wrote The Kenny Everett Television Show. Now he is a stand-up comedian who in 2009 sold out a record six nights at Wembley Arena and four nights at London's O2. Michael lives in North London with his wife Kitty and their sons Lucas and Oscar. This is his first book.
Do you think you’re funny? Do you want to turn your sense of humor into a career? If the answer is yes, then Judy Carter’s The Comedy Bible is for you. The guru to aspiring stand-up comics provides the complete scoop on being—and writing—funny for money.
If you’ve got a sense of humor, you can learn to make a career out of comedy, says Judy Carter. Whether it’s creating a killer stand-up act, writing a spec sitcom, or providing jokes for radio or one-liners for greeting cards, Carter provides step-by-step instructions in The Comedy Bible. She helps readers first determine which genre of comedy writing or performing suits them best and then directs them in developing, refining, and selling their work.
Using the hands-on workbook format that was so effective in her bestselling first book, Stand-Up Comedy: The Book, Carter offers a series of day-by-day exercises that draw on her many years as a successful stand-up comic and the head of a nationally known comedy school. Also included are practical tips and advice from today’s top comedy professionals—from Bernie Brillstein to Christopher Titus to Richard Lewis. She presents the pros and cons of the various comedy fields—stand-up, script, speech and joke writing, one-person shows, humor essays—and shows how to tailor your material for each. She teaches how to find your “authentic” voice—the true source of comedy. And, perhaps most important, Carter explains how to take a finished product to the next level—making money—by pitching it to a buyer and negotiating a contract.
Written in Carter’s unique, take-no-prisoners voice, The Comedy Bible is practical, inspirational, and funny.
They were the unlikeliest of pairs—a handsome crooner and a skinny monkey, an Italian from Steubenville, Ohio, and a Jew from Newark, N.J.. Before they teamed up, Dean Martin seemed destined for a mediocre career as a nightclub singer, and Jerry Lewis was dressing up as Carmen Miranda and miming records on stage. But the moment they got together, something clicked—something miraculous—and audiences saw it at once.
Before long, they were as big as Elvis or the Beatles would be after them, creating hysteria wherever they went and grabbing an unprecedented hold over every entertainment outlet of the era: radio, television, movies, stage shows, and nightclubs. Martin and Lewis were a national craze, an American institution. The millions flowed in, seemingly without end—and then, on July 24, 1956, ten years after it all started, it ended suddenly. After that traumatic day, the two wouldn’t speak again for twenty years. And while both went on to forge triumphant individual careers—Martin as a movie and television star, recording artist, and nightclub luminary (and charter member of the Rat Pack); Lewis as the groundbreaking writer, producer, director, and star of a series of hugely successful movie comedies—their parting left a hole in the national psyche, as well as in each man’s heart.
In Dean & Me, Lewis makes a convincing case for Martin as one of the great—and most underrated—comic talents of our era. But what comes across most powerfully in this definitive memoir is the depth of love Lewis felt for his partner, and which his partner felt for him: truly a love to last for all time.
“Here’s Johnny!” Probably everyone in America knows the phrase, whether they watched every episode of The Tonight Show or none because they had to go to bed early on school nights. From 1962 to 1992, Johnny Carson and his Tonight Show dominated the American consciousness.
Henry Bushkin was Carson’s best friend and lawyer during that period, and his book is a tautly rendered and remarkably nuanced portrait of Carson, revealing not only how he truly was, but why. Bushkin explains why Carson, a voracious (and very talented) womanizer, felt he always had to be married; why he couldn’t visit his son in the hospital and wouldn’t attend his mother’s funeral; and much more. Johnny Carson is by turns shocking, poignant, and uproarious — written with a novelist’s eye for detail, a screenwriter’s ear for dialogue, and a knack for comic timing that Carson himself would relish.
“A fascinating book about a complex man.” — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Like The Tonight Show, the book has many a merry moment . . . [Johnny Carson] was also one of a kind, and is missed. This book brings a bit of him back.” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A People magazine Top Ten Book of the Year
Have you ever been pissed because you're not pretty enough, and then gotten even more pissed that someone didn't find you as pretty as you think you are? Have you ever obsessed over the size of your thighs while eating dessert, all the while saying you'll work out extra tomorrow? Or spent endless hours wondering why you have to bear the brunt of other people's insecurities? I mean, after all, I'm pretty great. Why cope with insecurities I don't already have?
That last one's just me? All right, then.
But if the rest sounds familiar, you are experiencing Girl Logic: a characteristically female way of thinking that appears contradictory and circuitous but is actually a complicated and highly evolved way of looking at the world. You end up considering every repercussion of every choice (about dating, career, clothes, lunch) before making a move toward what you really want. And why do we attempt these mental hurdles? Well, that's what this book is all about.
The fact is, whether you're obsessing over his last text or the most important meeting of your career, your Girl Logic serves a purpose: It helps push you, question what you want, and clarify what will make you a happier, better person. Girl Logic can be every confident woman's secret weapon, and this book shows you how to wield it.
Before starring in Def Comedy Jam and Showtime at the Apollo—before the sold-out comedy shows, Uncle Buck, and becoming his hero Richard Pryor in a biopic—there was Indianapolis. And not the good part. Mike Epps is one of America’s favorite and funniest people, but the path to fame was paved with opportunities to mess it up. And mess it up he did.
Growing up in “Naptown”—what people who live there really call rough-around-the-edges Indianapolis—Epps found himself forced to hustle from an early age. Despite his mother’s best efforts, and the love of his well-behaved brother, “Chaney,” and his beloved sister, Julie, Epps was drawn to a life of crime, but as he quickly discovered, stealing and dealing didn’t really fit his sweet sensibilities. Not to mention he wasn’t very good at it—take, for example, the day he had to call the cops on himself when a dog wouldn’t let him leave a house he was burgling. After several arrests and more than a few months in jail, Epps finally realized that he was an unsuccessful thug, and instead turned to the next most obvious career path: stand-up comedy.
Heading first to New York, then all over the country, and finally to Hollywood, Mike Epps carved out a unique place in American comedy, combining hysterical tales of his family and friends with a mordant take on life in the Naptowns of America. Comedy saved Mike Epps, and here he reveals exactly how he finally grew up and got out, barely. And when describing how he survived when so many of his friends didn’t, Epps makes clear what he’s thankful for and sorry about. Unsuccessful Thug is about growing up black in America, facing down racism in Hollywood, and ultimately how it feels to fail at thugdom, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and end up selling out arenas and starring in movies across the country.
So, instead, he’s giving me… a _prepper_ honeymoon?
Who knew billionaire preppers were a thing?
I guess I’m about to find out.
Julia Kent’s New York Times bestselling romantic comedy series continues in Shopping for a CEO’s Honeymoon as Andrew and Amanda settle in to married life… and so much more.
From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations – all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed.
But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. And in Good Will Hunting he gave an intense and controlled performance that revealed the true range of his talent.
Itzkoff also shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression – topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews – and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.
"Flips the classic born-in-a-shack rise to political office tale on its head. I skipped meals to read this book - also unusual - because every page was funny. It made me deliriously happy." - Louise Erdrich, The New York Times
From Senator Al Franken - #1 bestselling author and beloved SNL alum - comes the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that.
This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect.
It's a book about what happens when the nation's foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of the pundit class, actually turns out to be good at it.
It's a book about our deeply polarized, frequently depressing, occasionally inspiring political culture, written from inside the belly of the beast.
In this candid personal memoir, the honorable gentleman from Minnesota takes his army of loyal fans along with him from Saturday Night Live to the campaign trail, inside the halls of Congress, and behind the scenes of some of the most dramatic and/or hilarious moments of his new career in politics.
Has Al Franken become a true Giant of the Senate? Franken asks readers to decide for themselves.
At a high point in his career, Artie Lange played a sold-out show in Carnegie Hall and totally killed—yet during his standing ovation, all he could think of were the two bags of heroin in his pocket. In the midst of a deep, self-destructive depression, addicted to heroin and prescription drugs, he lashed out at everyone around him—from his fellow cast members on The Howard Stern Show, to celebrity guests, to his longtime friends, and even his own family.
By turns dark and disturbing, hilarious and heartbreaking, and always drop-dead honest, the New York Times bestseller Crash and Burn lifts the curtain on Lange’s dangerous slide. For the first time, Artie reveals all: the full truth behind his now legendary Stern Show meltdown, his suicide attempt (which he relates in terrifying detail), surprising stints in rehab, and painful relapses. With the help and support of friends and family, Artie claws his way back, turning his life and career around. And despite his slip-ups, backslides, and permanent losses, Artie forges on.
In his bold and wildly entertaining publishing debut, he continues to embrace his dark side and gives readers the book they have long been waiting for—hilarious and often dirty. Bob believes there's a time and a place for filth. From his never-before-heard stories of what really went on behind the scenes of two of the most successful family shows of all times, with co-stars like John Stamos and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, to his tales of legendary friends and colleagues like Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Pryor, Don Rickles, and other show business legends, Saget opens up about some of his personal experiences with life and death, his career, and his reputation for sick humor—all with his highly original blend of silliness, vulgarity, humor and heart, and all framed by a man who loves being funny above all else.
Jay Chandrasekhar has spent the past two decades writing, directing, and acting in film and TV. With his comedy group, Broken Lizard, he has produced and directed beloved movies such as Super Troopers, Beerfest, and Club Dread. Now, with the upcoming release of the long-awaited Super Troopers 2, Jay is ready to tell the ridiculous, madcap, dead-honest story of how he built his career, how he formed Broken Lizard, and, ultimately, how he made Super Troopers.
Jay grew up Indian American in the lily-white suburbs of Chicago, and he had an outsider’s perspective from the beginning. Instead of taking the traditional acting path, he formed his own troupe, wrote his own scripts, and made movies his own way. And he had an incredibly good time doing so as readers will learn in this hilarious story about making it in Hollywood and directing, cowriting, and costarring in one of the best-loved and most-watched comedies of all time. Part humorous memoir, part film study, this book will inform, entertain, and tell readers what drinking multiple bottles of maple syrup is really like.
H. Jon Benjamin—the lead voice behind Archer and Bob's Burgers—helps us all feel a little better about our own failures by sharing his own in a hilarious memoir-ish chronicle of failure.
Most people would consider H. Jon Benjamin a comedy show business success. But he'd like to remind everyone that as great as success can be, failure is also an option. And maybe the best option. In this book, he tells stories from his own life, from his early days ("wherein I'm unable to deliver a sizzling fajita") to his romantic life ("how I failed to quantify a threesome") to family ("wherein a trip to P.F. Chang's fractures a family") to career ("how I failed at launching a kid's show").
As Jon himself says, breaking down one's natural ability to succeed is not an easy task, but also not an insurmountable one. Society as we know it is, sadly, failure averse. But more acceptance of failure, as Jon sees it, will go a long way to making this world a different place . . . a kinder, gentler place, where gardens are overgrown and most people stay home with their pets. A vision of failure, but also a vision of freedom.
With stories, examples of artistic and literary failure, and a powerful can't-do attitude, Failure Is an Option is the book the world doesn't need right now but will get regardless.
In the mid-1970s, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, and several hundred other shameless showoffs and incorrigible cutups from across the country migrated en masse to Los Angeles, the new home of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. There, in a late-night world of sex, drugs, dreams and laughter, they created an artistic community unlike any before or since. It was Comedy Camelot-but it couldn't last.William Knoedelseder was then a cub reporter covering the burgeoning local comedy scene for the Los Angeles Times. He wrote the first major newspaper profiles of several of the future stars. And he was there when the comedians-who were not paid by the clubs where they performed- tried to change the system and incidentally tore apart their own close-knit community. In I'm Dying Up Here he tells the whole story of that golden age, of the strike that ended it, and of how those days still resonate in the lives of those who were there. As comedy clubs and cable TV began to boom, many would achieve stardom.... but success had its price.
Whether you dream of becoming a star . . .
A better public speaker . . .
A more effective communicator . . .
A funnier, happier human being . . .
You can learn to leave ‘em laughing!
David Letterman learned to do it. Jay Leno learned to do it. Roseanne Barr learned to do it. So can you!
Now successful stand-up comic Judy Carter—who went from teaching high school to performing in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe, and on over 45 major TV shows—gives you the same hands-on, step-by-step instruction she’s taught to students in her comedy workshops. She shows you how to do it: create an act, perform it, make money with it, or apply it to everyday life.
• The formulas for creating comedy material
• How to find your own style
• The three steps to putting your act together
• Rehearsal do’s and don’ts
• What to do if you bomb
• Ways to punch up your everyday life with humor
When Artie Lange's first book, the #1 New York Times bestseller, Too Fat To Fish, hit the top of the charts, audiences learned what Howard Stern listeners already knew: that Artie is one of the funniest people alive. He is also an artist haunted by his fair share of demons, which overtook him in the years that followed. After a suicide attempt, a two-year struggle with depression, and years of chronic opiate addiction, Artie entered recovery and built himself back up, chronicling his struggle in brave detail in his next book and second New York Times bestseller, Crash and Burn.
In his hilarious third book, the two-time bestselling author, comedian, actor, and radio icon explains the philosophy that has kept his existence boredom-free since the age of 13—the love of risk. An avid sports better and frequent card player, Lange believes that the true gambler gets high not from winning, but from the chaotic unknown of betting itself. He recounts some of his favorite moments, many of which haven't involved money at all. In this candid and entertaining memoir, he looks back at the times he's wagered the intangible and priceless things in life: his health, his career, and his relationships. The stories found in Wanna Bet? paint a portrait of a man who would just as quickly bet tens of thousands of dollars on a coin toss as he would a well thought out NBA or NFL wager. Along for the ride are colorful characters from Artie's life who live by the same creed, from a cast of childhood friends to peers like comedian and known gambler Norm McDonald. The book is a tour of a subculture where bookies and mobsters, athletes and celebrities ride the gambling roller coaster for the love of the rush. Through it all, somehow Artie has come out ahead, though he does take a few moments to imagine his life if things hadn't quite gone his way. Unrepentant and unrestrained, the book is Lange at his finest.
'The naughtiest, helpiest, laughieoutloudiest and goodest book I've ever done reading on. Give that girl a banana!' DAWN FRENCH
SARAH MILLICAN'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH, FEEL NORMAL AND PROBABLY SNIFF YOUR LEGGINGS.
Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, part collection of synonyms for nunny, Sarah Millican's debut book delves into her super normal life with daft stories, funny tales and proper advice on how to get past life's blips - like being good at school but not good at friends, the excitement of IBS and how to blossom post divorce.
If you've ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny's, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is YOUR BOOK. If you haven't done those things but wish you had, THIS IS YOUR BOOK. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, THIS IS YOUR BOOK.
'Of course Sarah Millican's book will make you laugh out loud, but there are moments where she will touch you deeply. The dirty bitch.' KATHY BURKE
Named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, National Post, and Splitsider
Based on over two hundred original interviews and extensive archival research, this groundbreaking work is a narrative exploration of the way comedians have reflected, shaped, and changed American culture over the past one hundred years.
Starting with the vaudeville circuit at the turn of the last century, the book introduces the first stand-up comedian—an emcee who abandoned physical shtick for straight jokes. After the repeal of Prohibition, Mafia-run supper clubs replaced speakeasies, and mobsters replaced vaudeville impresarios as the comedian’s primary employer. In the 1950s, the late-night talk show brought stand-up to a wide public, while Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, and Jonathan Winters attacked conformity and staged a comedy rebellion in coffeehouses. From comedy’s part in the Civil Rights movement and the social upheaval of the late 1960s, to the first comedy clubs of the 1970s and the cocaine-fueled comedy boom of the 1980s, The Comedians culminates with a new era of media-driven celebrity in the twenty-first century.
“Entertaining and carefully documented . . . jaw-dropping anecdotes . . . This book is a real treat.” —Merrill Markoe, TheWall Street Journal
Decades before The Daily Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour proved there was a place on television for no-holds-barred political comedy with a decidedly antiauthoritarian point of view. In this first-ever all-access history of the show, veteran entertainment journalist David Bianculli tells the fascinating story of its three-year network run -- and the cultural impact that's still being felt today.
Before it was suddenly removed from the CBS lineup (reportedly under pressure from the Nixon administration), The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was a ratings powerhouse. It helped launch the careers of comedy legends such as Steve Martin and Rob Reiner, featured groundbreaking musical acts like the Beatles and the Who, and served as a cultural touchstone for the antiwar movement of the late 1960s.
Drawing on extensive original interviews with Tom and Dick Smothers and dozens of other key players -- as well as more than a decade's worth of original research -- Dangerously Funny brings readers behind the scenes for all the battles over censorship, mind-blowing musical performances, and unforgettable sketches that defined the show and its era.
David Bianculli delves deep into this never-told story, to find out what really happened and to reveal why this show remains so significant to this day.
In 2001, after over a decade in the business, Stewart Lee quit stand-up, disillusioned and drained, and went off to direct a loss-making musical, Jerry Springer: The Opera. Nine years later, How I Escaped My Certain Fate details his return to live performance, and the journey that took him from an early retirement to his position as the most critically acclaimed stand-up in Britain, the winner of BAFTAs and British Comedy Awards, and the affirmation of being rated the 41st best stand up ever.
Here is Stewart Lee's own account of his remarkable comeback, told through transcripts of the three legendary full-length shows that sealed his reputation. Astonishingly frank and detailed in-depth notes reveal the inspiration and inner workings of his act. With unprecedented access to a leading comedian's creative process, this book tells us just what it was like to write these shows, develop the performance and take them on tour. How I Escaped My Certain Fate is everything we have come to expect from Stewart Lee: fiercely intelligent, unsparingly honest and very, very funny.
Confessions of a Military Wife is an honest, witty, and often hilarious look at the life of the new generation military wife. Mollie Gross learned the hard way to laugh instead of cry at what she could not control as a military spouse—and as she quickly discovered, nearly everything was out of her control!
A standup comedienne, public speaker, and wife of a Marine Corps officer, Mollie explores everything about the “issued” spouse, from deployment and the stress of having a husband in a combat zone, to the realization that marriage changes when your husband returns home from war. Nothing is taboo or out-of-bounds in Confessions, including the “parties” military wives throw for themselves before hubby returns. (You’ll have to read the book to find out about those!)
More than one million American servicemen have deployed to war over the last few years, which means the lives and lifestyles of military wives are now front and center in the public’s curiosity. How do they live? What is their day-to-day life like? How do they interact? How do they deal with weeks and months of separation? The answers will surprise (and in some cases, shock) you. Confessions teaches all women, whether civilian or military, that they can learn to find the funny side of anything by embracing the situation and changing their perspective. And now they can do so with humor and levity, and a little wisdom.
Evocative and provocative, Confessions of a Military Wife is a can’t-put-down book that will leave you laughing and crying at the same time.
About the Author: Mollie Gross is a former Marine Spouse, author, standup comedienne, and public speaker. She uses comedy and quick wit to encourage and inspire other military wives through the challenges of the military lifestyle. She lives with her husband Jon in Los Angeles."
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of its BBC debut, a revised and updated edition of the complete oral history of Monty Python—an insightful, in-depth portrait of the brilliant and hysterically funny show that transformed modern comedy.
Broadcast by the BBC between 1969 and 1974, Monty Python’s Flying Circus introduced something completely different: a new brand of surrealistic, stream-of-consciousness comedy that pushed the traditional boundaries of format, style, and content. Blending brilliant satire with slapstick silliness, The Pythons—Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin—spoke to a generation eager to break free of the conventional. Making their way across the Atlantic and the world, the Pythons’ zany approach to comedy would have a monumental influence on modern popular culture, paving the way for farcical entertainment from Saturday Night Live to The Simpsons to Austin Powers.
In Monty Python Speaks, David Morgan has collected interviews with Monty Python’s founding members, actors, producers, and other collaborators to produce a no-holds-barred look at the Pythons’ legendary sketches and films, including Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Spamalot), and The Meaning of Life. Featuring four new chapters that focus on the group’s oeuvre since the first edition’s publication twenty years ago, as well as a new foreword and updated resources, Monty Python Speaks offers a fascinating peek behind the scenes of the Pythons’ creative process—including the friendships and feuds—that catapulted a comedy revolution.
A comedian's autobiography?
I wonder if he's ever used humour to deflect from his insecurities?
To avoid being bullied?
Is there heartache behind the humour?
I wonder if he's a manic-depressive?
Tears of a clown?
Yes, all of that.
Discover the hilarious life-story of one of Britain's best-loved comedians in Kevin Bridges' brilliant memoir.
'First of all, I have never written a book before, you probably haven't either, so there we have it; a connection is established between reader and writer . . .'
Aged just 17, Kevin Bridges walked on stage for the first time in a Glasgow comedy club and brought the house down. He only had a five-minute set but in that short time he discovered that he really could earn a living from making people laugh.
Kevin began life as a shy, nerve-ridden school-boy, whose weekly highlights included a cake-bombing attack by the local youths. Reaching his teens, he followed his true calling as the class clown, and was soon after arrested for kidnapping Hugh Grant from his local cinema on a quiet Saturday night. This was a guy going somewhere - off the rails seeming most likely.
Kevin's trademark social commentary, sharp one-liners and laugh-out-loud humour blend with his reflections on his Glaswegian childhood and the journey he's taken to become one of the most-loved comedians of our time.
'. . . Hopefully now you'll take this over to the till and I can accompany you for the next wee while. That's the benefit of book shops, reading the little bit and then deciding if the author deserves to be part of your carefully selected 3 for 2 deal, or part of your plane journey, train journey, your next bath, your next shite.'
Praise for Kevin Bridges:
'The Best Scottish Stand up of his Generation.' The Scotsman
'A wonderfully dry and deadpan Glaswegian comic . . . one the most exciting talents to have emerged from Scotland since Billy Connolly' Guardian
'Kevin Bridges might just become the best stand-up in the land . . . he will go and deliver a one-liner that you want to jot down and frame' The Times
'Wonderfully sharp, assured stand-up from the preternaturally gifted young comic' Independent
Young Frankenstein was made with deep respect for the craft and history of cinema-and for the power of a good schwanzstucker joke. This picture-driven book, written by one of the greatest comedy geniuses of all time, takes readers inside the classic film's marvelous creation story via never-before-seen black and white and color photography from the set and contemporary interviews with the cast and crew, most notably, legendary writer-director Mel Brooks.
With access to more than 225 behind-the-scenes photos and production stills, and with captions written by Brooks, this book will also rely on interviews with gifted director of photography Gerald Hirschfeld, Academy Award-winning actress Cloris Leachman and veteran producer Michael Gruskoff.
Mel Brooks is an American film director, screenwriter, comedian, actor, producer, composer and songwriter. Brooks is best known as a creator of broad film farces and comic parodies including The Producers, The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, History of the World, Part I, Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. More recently, he had a smash hit on Broadway with the musical adaptation of his first film, The Producers. An EGOT winner, he received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2009, the 41st AFI Life Achievement Award in June 2013, and a British Film Institute Fellowship in March 2015. Three of Brooks' classics have appeared on AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs list. Blazing Saddles at number 6, The Producers at number 11, and Young Frankenstein at number 13.
Judd Apatow is one of the most important comic minds of his generation. He wrote and directed the films The 40-Year-Old Virgin (co-written with Steve Carell), Knocked Up, Funny People, and This Is 40, and his producing credits include Superbad, Bridesmaids, and Anchorman. Apatow is the executive producer of HBO's Girls.
I’m Mike Birbiglia and I’m a comedian. You may know me from Comedy Central or This American Life or The Bob & Tom Show, but you’ve never seen me like this before.
Wait, that’s the name of another book. Also I’m not naked as there are no pictures in my book. Also, if there were naked pictures of me, you definitely wouldn’t buy it, though you might sneak a copy into the back corner of the bookstore and show it to your friend and laugh. Okay, let’s get off the naked stuff.
This is my first book. It’s difficult to describe. It’s a comedic memoir, but I’m only 32 years old so I’d hate for you to think I’m “wrapping it up,” so to speak. But I tell some personal stories. Some REALLY personal stories. Stories that I considered not publishing time and time again, especially when my father said, “Michael, you might want to stay away from the personal stuff.” I said, “Dad, just read the dedication.” (Which I’m telling you to do too.)
Some of the stories are about my childhood, some are about girls I made out with when I was thirteen, some are about my parents, and some are, of course, about my bouts with sleepwalking. Bring this book to bed. And sleepwalk with me.
Anyone who saw an episode of Saturday Night Live between 1999 and 2006 knows Rachel Dratch. She was hilarious! So what happened to her? After a misbegotten part as Jenna on the pilot of 30 Rock, Dratch was only getting offered roles as "Lesbians. Secretaries. Sometimes secretaries who are lesbians."
Her career at a low point, Dratch suddenly had time for yoga, dog- sitting, learning Spanish-and dating. After all, what did a forty- something single woman living in New York have to lose? Resigned to childlessness but still hoping for romance, Dratch was out for drinks with a friend when she met John.
Handsome and funny, after only six months of dating long-distance, he became the inadvertent father of her wholly unplanned, undreamed-of child, and moved to New York to be a dad. With riotous humor, Dratch recounts breaking the news to her bewildered parents, the awe of her single friends, and the awkwardness of a baby-care class where the instructor kept tossing out the f-word.
Filled with great behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Dratch's time on SNL, Girl Walks into a Bar... is a refreshing version of the "happily ever after" story that proves female comics-like bestsellers Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler-are truly having their moment.
This curtain is going up…
No matter what else goes down.
Leigh’s intrepid Aunt Bess has decided that an abandoned building in the small Pittsburgh borough of West View would make the perfect theater for her troupe of local thespians, and when Bess sets her mind to something, it generally happens. Never mind that the building boasts a century-long history of nefarious owners, financial default, mysterious disappearances, drunken debauchery, regular break-ins, strange nighttime lights, at least one murder, and last but not least -- that nagging little accusation of devil worship.
Though wary of the building’s macabre milieu, Leigh reluctantly allows her children to assist Bess by sorting through the decades of accumulated junk stashed in the erstwhile church’s basement. Little does she know that the kids’ findings are only the tip of an iceberg, and that for someone with her “proclivities,” this particular building is the last place she should be. With her friend Detective Maura Polanski expecting and stuck on bedrest, Leigh scrambles to unravel the link between the murders of the past and the growing threats of the present -- before this theater’s opening becomes someone’s end!
But he was not always such a roaring success.
The Life of Lee is an utterly hilarious and very moving autobiography charting his ups and downs on the way to the top. Lee takes us on a darkly humorous journey through his childhood spent running wild on a Bristol housing estate and his unconventional school days, when he was publicly derided as 'a failure' by a sadistic teacher.
In this brilliantly entertaining and engaging tale, he also guides us through a grim teenage period of numerous dead-end jobs. When he was cleaning toilets and plucking turkeys, he could never have imagined that one day he would be playing to thousands of adoring fans at the O2 Arena.
The book also reveals how as a boy Lee got his first taste of showbiz, living out of a suitcase and accompanying his entertainer father around the smoky, rowdy, unforgiving working-men's club and theatre circuit.
Desperately struggling to be accepted, this quiet young loner always saw himself as an outsider. But he finally met the love of his life and accidentally discovered the one place where he felt at home: the stage.
The Life of Lee is a story that is like its subject: compelling, touching, charming and, above all, fantastically funny.
Writing of his life before, during, and after becoming famous by incorporating lovely and humorous stories and anecdotes, Harp Marx tells of growing up in a rough neighborhood and being poor, being bullied and dropping out of school, teaching himself to read, write, tell time, and to play the piano and harp.
He speaks of his close relationships with his family members, particularly his mother and brother Leonard (Chico), who would become his partner-in-crime on screen, and the profound effect that the death of his parents Sam and Minnie had on him.
Filled with insider tales of his antics on and off stage, and the hard graft he and his brothers put into reaching their level of success, the reader becomes privy to a rare glimpse into Marx’ thoughts on everything and everyone he had the privilege of working with.
The book reveals the friendships he forged and the blows he was dealt in show-business, and of his marriage to his wife, actress Susan Fleming, with whom he adopted four children and built a ranch on which they lived happily ever after, along with numerous animals.
A thoroughly enjoyable read.
“This is a riotous story which is reasonably mad and as accurate as a Marx brother can make it. Despite only a year and a half of schooling, Harpo, or perhaps his collaborator, is the best writer of the Marx Brother. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal
“A funny, affectionate and unpretentious autobiography done with a sharply professional assist from Rowland Barber.”—New York Times Book Review
“This is a racy autobiography by the mute Marx Brother with the rolling eyes, oversized pants and red wig who could send a glissando reeling over his harp.[...] It is enjoyable reading and polished writing...”—Kirkus Review
— Entertainment Weekly
"I’m British, so I’m medically dead inside, but even I can’t help but open up whenever I talk to Marc. He uses his honestly like a scalpel, cutting himself open in front of anyone he’s talking to, and in doing so, invites you to do the same."
From the beloved and wildly popular podcast WTF with Marc Maron comes a book of intimate, hilarious and life changing conversations with some of the funniest, and most important people in the world like you’ve never heard them before. Waiting for the Punch features the stories and thoughts of such luminaries as Amy Schumer, Mel Brooks, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Sir Ian McKellen, Lorne Michels, Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham, Jimmy Fallon, RuPaul, Louis CK, David Sedaris, Bruce Springsteen, and President Obama.
This book is not simply a collection of these interviews, but instead something more wondrous: a running narrative of the world’s most recognizable names working through the problems, doubts, joys, triumphs, and failures we all experience. With each chapter covering a different topic: parenting, childhood, relationships, sexuality, success, failures and others, Punch becomes a sort of everyman’s guide to life. Barack Obama candidly discusses the challenges of the presidency, and the bittersweet moments of seeing your children grow up. Amy Schumer recounts the pain of her parents’ divorce. Molly Shannon uproariously remembers the time she and her best friend hopped a plane from Ohio to New York City when they were twelve on a dare. Amy Poehler dishes on why just because you become a parent doesn’t mean you have to like anybody else’s kids but your own. Bruce Springsteen expounds on the dual nature of desperation to both motivate and devastate.
Full of stories that are at once laugh-out loud funny, heartbreakingly honest, joyous, tragic and powerful, Waiting for the Punch is a book to be read from cover to cover, but it is also one to return to again and again.
'As laugh out loud as his TV shows' Daily Mirror
It must seem strange to you that I've called a book Alanatomy . . .
For anyone who has taken the time to see my stand-up performances or watched my chat show, 'Chattyman', knows that my body has hardly been kind to me - in fact there've been times when we've actually stopped talking to each other. Balding, myopic, often flaky with psoriasis, back fat that hangs suspended like a cape, a voice that could strip varnish, an increasingly dodgy hip and even dodgier teeth. Why would you draw attention to it? you must ask. Couldn't you just call the book something else? Do you think the Great British Public is ready to pore over your body?
Well, as I turn forty and take stock of my showbiz life over the last ten years or so, I have learnt to embrace my flaws and face my shortcomings. In fact, strange as it might seem, the things I hate about myself have become my trademark and I am slowly, begrudgingly learning to, if not love them, to at least live with them. I am ready now to take a long hard look at myself and that's what Alanatomy is. It's the story of my rise to fame: the joys, the traumas, the parties, the disappointments. Hopefully you will find it witty, fun, heartwarming, but more importantly honest, and that it will keep you entertained every time you pick it up.
Alanatomy is the chance for you to get beneath my skin and see the real me because, and to continue the anatomical theme if I may, this showbiz existence can sometimes feel like an autopsy - picked at, probed and scrutinized with every inch of your body held up for analysis, but unlike an actual autopsy, you are very much alive.
So I give you Alanatomy: The Inside Story. I am laying myself out on the slab for your entertainment; naked, stripped bare. Grab your scalpel, peel back the skin and go deep, have a good old probe around at my life so far. Yes, you are going to find guts, a fair bit of cheek, maybe even a little bit of gristle, but hopefully, you'll find a whole lot of heart.
John Belushi was found dead of a drug overdose March 5, 1982, in a seedy hotel bungalow off Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Belushi’s death was the beginning of a trail that led Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward on an investigation that examines the dark side of American show business—TV, rock and roll, and the movie industry. From on-the-record interviews with 217 people, including Belushi's widow, his former partner Dan Aykroyd, Belushi’s movie directors including Jack Nicholson and Steven Spielberg, actors Chevy Chase, Robin Williams, and Carrie Fisher, the movie executives, the agents, Belushi’s drug dealers, and those who live in the show business underground, the author has written a close portrait of a great American comic talent, and of his struggle to succeed and to survive that ended in tragedy.
Using diaries, accountants’ records, phone bills, travel records, medical records, and interviews with firsthand witnesses, Woodward has followed Belushi’s life from childhood in a small town outside Chicago to his meteoric rise to fame.
Bob Woodward has written a spellbinding account of rise and fall, a cautionary tale for our times, and a poignant and gentle portrait of a young man who had so much, gave so much, and lost so much.
Hello. It’s Todd Barry. Yes, the massively famous comedian. I have billions of fans all over the world, so I do my fair share of touring. While I love doing shows in the big cities (New York, Philadelphia), I also enjoy a good secondary market (Ithaca, Bethlehem). Performing in these smaller places can be great because not all entertainers stop there on tour; they don’t expect to see you. They’re appreciative. They say things like “Thank you for coming to Hattiesburg” as much as they say “Nice show.” And almost every town has their version of a hipster coffee shop, so I can get in my comfort zone.
My original plan was to book one secondary market show in all fifty states, in about a year, but that idea was funnier than anything in my act. So, instead of all fifty states in a year, my agent booked multiple shows in a lot of states, plus Israel and Canada.
Thank You for Coming to Hattiesburg is part tour diary, part travel guide, and part memoir (Yes, memoir. Just like the thing presidents and former child stars get to write). Follow me on my journey of small clubs, and the occasional big amphitheater. Watch me make a promoter clean the dressing room toilet in Connecticut, see me stare at beached turtles in Maui, and see how I react when Lars from Metallica shows up to see me at a rec center in Northern California.
I’d love to tell you more, but I need to go book a flight to Evansville, Indiana.
These and many other questions trouble David Mitchell as he delights us with a tour of the absurdities of modern life - from Ryanair to Downton Abbey, sports day to smoking, nuclear weapons to phone etiquette, UKIP to hotdogs made of cats. Funny, provocative and shot through with refreshing amounts of common sense,Thinking About It Only Makes It Worse celebrates and commiserates on the state of things in our not entirely glorious nation.
In We Killed, Kohen pieces together the revolution that happened to (and by) women in American comedy, gathering the country's most prominent comediennes and the writers, producers, nightclub owners, and colleagues who revolved around them. She starts in the 1950s, when comic success meant ridiculing and desexualizing yourself; when Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller emerged as America's favorite frustrated ladies; when the joke was always on them. Kohen brings us into the sixties and seventies, when the appearance of smart, edgy comedians (Elaine May, Lily Tomlin) and the women's movement brought a new wave of radicals: the women of SNL, tough-ass stand-ups, and a more independent breed on TV (Mary Tyler Moore and her sisters). There were battles to fight and preconceptions to shake before we could arrive in a world in which women like Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, and Tina Fey can be smart, attractive, sexually confident—and, most of all, flat-out funny.
As the more than 150 people interviewed for this riveting oral history make clear, women have always been funny. It's just that every success has been called an exception and every failure an example of the rule. And as each generation of women has developed its own style of comedy, the coups of the previous era are washed away and a new set of challenges arises. But the result is the same: They kill. A chorus of creative voices and hilarious storytelling, We Killed is essential cultural and social history, and—as it should be!—great entertainment.
It took Bonnie McFarlane a lot of time, effort, and tequila to get to where she is today. Before she starred on Last Comic Standing and directed her own films, she was an inappropriately loud tomboy growing up on her parents’ farm in Cold Lake, Canada, wetting her pants during standardized tests and killing chickens. Desperate to find “her people”—like-minded souls who wouldn’t judge her because she was honest, ruthless, and okay, sometimes really rude—Bonnie turned to comedy. In her explosively funny and no-holds-barred memoir, Bonnie tells it like it is, and lays bare all of her smart (and her not-so-smart) decisions along her way to finding her friends and her comedic voice.
From fistfights in elementary school to riding motorcycles to the World Famous Comic Strip, to Late Night with David Letterman, and through to her infamous “c” word bit on Last Comic Standing, You’re Better Than Me is her funny and outrageous trip through the good, bad, and ugly of her life in comedy. McFarlane doesn’t always keep her mouth shut when she should, but at least she makes people laugh. And that’s all that matters, right?
Copping its iconic name from a New York journalist’s disparaging remark, Chicago’s Second City theater brashly defied the role of runner-up and single-handedly made the Windy City North America’s cradle of comedic brilliance from which generations of household names would spring. Now, in The Second City Unscripted, a Who’s Who of the celebrated comedy camp’s alumni–including Alan Arkin, David Steinberg, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Eugene Levy, Amy Sedaris, and Stephen Colbert–tell it like it was in the house that hilarity built.
Here are candid tales of John Belushi’s raw ambition and chemical experimentation, Bill Murray’s heckler-pummeling and lady-killing, superstar Mel Gibson’s roof-raising appearance in Braveheart regalia, and legendary director Del Close’s shuttling between the comedic asylum he ruled over and the real one he rehabbed in.
In this unvarnished, unexpurgated, and unprecedented account, what happened onstage, backstage, and offstage at Second City isn’t staying there anymore. From the smash hits and near misses to the love affairs and the bitter feuds, from the showbiz politics and pitfalls to the inspired tomfoolery and heartbreaking tragedy, The Second City Unscripted is part memoir of a cherished era, part time capsule from a comedic renaissance, and part valentine to the exquisite art of being funny. It captures like never before the history of the men and women who caught lightning–and laughter–in a bottle.
From the Hardcover edition.
The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Ventriloquism teaches everyone to speak from their bellies, create and substitute sounds, use all the registers of their voice, and create diversions to attract the listener's ear - whether they invest in a fancy puppet or create their own figure out of a sweat sock.
?Includes tips for making, manipulating, and talking with their dummy and for it - both at the same time
?Advice for getting an act together and taking it on the road - getting gigs, getting paid, and how to improve performances
?How to write dialogue and jokes and rehearsal techniques