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Stand-Up Comedy: The Book Paperback – Aug 5 1989

22 customer reviews

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  • Stand-Up Comedy: The Book
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (Aug. 5 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440502438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440502432
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
What is funny? I'm constantly amazed at what people think is funny and not funny. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Oct. 18 2004
Format: Paperback
If you really want to buy this book then dont. Buy her latest book, The Comedy Bible. Its basically an updated version of this one. I ended up buying 2 books because they both have different titles. I wasnt impressed. Why not just update this one. No she has to update it and give it a new title. Not very funny at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karen Chung on April 15 2004
Format: Paperback
This book was a fun read that I finished the day after my order arrived.
Humor is something we could all use more of in our lives. I'm guessing most people who get this book aren't really going to quit their day job and try to make it in stand-up; this book is worth it anyway. Anybody who deals with other people, in your work or otherwise, will find humor a useful skill to develop. I teach and do radio work, both of which require trying to keep my audience awake, and humor, even if it isn't quite ready for "Seinfeld", is one of the best ways to achieve that.
In this book you'll learn about the structure of humor, and how to use any experience from your own life, good or bad, to be funny - or to develop other kinds of material, like short stories or radio drama, though you will have to make these kinds of connections yourself.
I find Carter's approach much more useful than just trying to memorize and retell jokes from a book - which very likely don't apply to yourself and your potential audience anyway. If you live in another country and culture, for example, jokes assuming you grew up in the United States are likely to be puzzling to your listeners at best - in any case not funny. Shared experience is an essential for any kind of writing and humor, and identifying and drawing on that shared experience requires the kind of specific skills you can learn about in this book.
To be honest, I didn't laugh at all the jokes in the book, but my admiration for Carter as an effective *teacher* grew as I read on. Her approach is strictly hands-on - she includes practical exercises in each section - and she makes each step perfectly clear along the way. Not everybody who can do something can teach it (and the reverse applies as well!), but Carter's pedagogy is solid.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Chester on Jan. 2 2001
Format: Paperback
Judy seems to think that you can't teach someone to be funny but that is not true. By teaching somebody how to find humor within a topic you teach them to be funny. Comedy is not always about you and your problems either. Though you can get some good material from this, if that's all you talk about on stage then your not as good as you could be. I have researched and found very specific technical methods for digging funny material out of anything. Judy tells you if your life doesn't suck then you can't be funny. I completely disagree. Bill Gates could do standup if he wanted to.
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By LaMott on June 20 2003
Format: Paperback
From the first page I was hooked. After finishing it I'm reading parts of it again. The techniques used in this book work. I purposely tried what I used to do on stage & Judy's techniques in the same set & Judy's received more laughs. This book is in fact the bible for anyone getting in to the business from Stand up's to comedy writers, to people looking to do one man/woman shows. It spans so many areas within comedy, even developing ideas for spec scripts for sitcoms. I've already recommended this book to two aspiring writers & one comic & I will update this review with their reactions, I know they'll be impressed. If you're out there looking to get in to stand up GET THIS BOOK!!, it's straight to the point & yes its long but for those of us without A.D.D. we can handle it!. JD Hazelwood says, "The author tells you all these "no no's " that you can't do in stand up comedy, that I hear comedians doing all the time." The idea of stand up is to become your own stand up comic, not to follow the crowd. Finding your own nitch is the key, not doing what everyone else does. Otherwise you're a "HACK!" No disrespect, but I recommend JD read this book again and this time think only about what you're capable of doing & try out Judy's techniques, you've got nothing to lose & so much to gain.
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Format: Paperback
This book must surely be one of the few writing how-to texts I've purchased that's really worth the money. Though too narrow in focus to work for prose writers, this text actually gets down into the nitty-gritty of creating material that is on-target, marketable, and interesting. Though incomplete in its examination of the potentials of comedy, it gives students a thorough grounding in the creation of humorous content for the stage.
Carter shies away from telling you too much on how to do topical material, instead coaching the novice comic to focus on the one thing you know more about than anyone else--your own fool self. By simply starting with having you talk about what's on your mind, she presents you with an inexhaustable source of content. This is mother's milk comedy, of course, but if you want something punchy like Foxworthy's "Redneck" routine or Margaret Cho's ethnic commentary, that will come with experience.
The stand-up comedy Carter coaches you on in this book has little to do with the joke-telling of Jack Benny or Henny Youngman. Instead, you're presented with what seems a modern form of Native American storytelling, with the focus on the self. This will not appeal to all up-and-coming comics, and some might find this book rather trying. Starting out, however, most new comics will find good grounding in the stylistic tactics of this book.
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