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on July 24, 2003
I collect humorous stories - sales blunders, actually. So I wanted a book that would help me as a professional speaker to be as funny as possible. Speakers, like comedians, get paid more when their audience laughs more.
So I began buying all the comedy writing books and most are pretty good. Buy Jay's is first of all, hilariously funny (bonus!) and second, more insightful than anything else. He discusses the psychology of the performer and the audience. He has little, interesting, no - fascinating details I found nowhere else.
Funny cartoons, creativity galore, inspiration and encouragement for anyone dipping into comedy or getting a dunking in it.
Best book on the block on this topic!
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on September 26, 2000
I've read a lot of bad books on stand-up comedy, all of them except this one. This is the only good one I've read. After I read this, I did stand-up for the first time at a bar for 30 people. The next week I was in the Comedy Central/Miller Lite Lite 'n Up competition at Comedy Works in Denver for a packed house each time I performed. Out of 100 people, and over the course of 2 months of performing, I got third place. Since then I've moved to Chicago and got booked at Zanie's. A lot of that had to do with the book. It cuts through to the chase.
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on April 10, 2000
I've read
How to Be a Working Comic : An Insider's Guide to a Career in Stand-Up Comedy; Dave Schwensen
Stand-Up Comedy : The Book; Judy Carter
Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy; Jay Sankey
They are all good reads, but this one (Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy by Jay Sankey) is my favorite. The prose is simple and straightforward and covers a lot of material from both analytical and philosophical view points.
I even like the size of the book in terms of width by height - it's a good size to carry around.
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on June 7, 2012
I literally couldn't put the book down. This is a great book, well written and very insightful into the world of standup comedy. I think that this is a reference book that should be on the shelf of every beginning standup comic...I can't speak for the seasoned pro's because I'm not at that level yet. If you're looking to help take some of the steepness off of the learning curve in standup comedy buy this book...if you're looking for a book on how to write jokes look else where. Thanks Jay!
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on March 1, 1999
Jay Sankey has brought forth a great collection of writing and stage tips for stand-up comics of all levels. His easy-to-read approach makes this book a great companion on the road and in the club when you're waiting to hit the stage. Sankey's advice on editing and stage prescence are priceless tips to be reviewed constantly. As a comic struggling to establish some recognition in the Canadian market, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in stand-up.
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on February 9, 2004
I truly thought this was one of the worst books I've ever read on the subject of stand-up comedy. It was neither helpful nor insightful. All the "advice" within this book comes from common sense, not real comedy experience. Mr. Stankey is trying to make a buck of off young aspiring comedians with high hopes and gives them nothing in return for their dollar.
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on July 4, 2001
As a working stand-up comic, I found this book extremely helpful, particularly in dealing with "hell gigs," the necessary bane of every comic's existence. Jay Sankey clearly knows of what he speaks, and my performance has improved considerably as a result. If you're a working comic, or want to be, this book will be worth its weight in gold to you.
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on September 14, 1998
As a stand-up comic going on four years, this has been by far the best and dead-on view of the stand-up comedy business that I've read. This book details every level and emotion that is felt by a comic from the first open mike to a headlining gig. This book is a must for somebody starting out in the stand-up comedy business. Great job to the author!
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on October 29, 2010
I really enjoyed this book from page one. It touches to almost every aspect of stand-up text creating. It is a serious book but the author does not take himself seriously so it is easy to read. I almost never spend time writing comments on books i buy but i had to do it for this one. I recommend this book.
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on March 31, 1999
Don't let the cliched title fool you -- this book has little to do with Zen and a lot to do with standup comedy. The two reviewers before me have more experience doing standup, and agree, but this book rings absolutely true from my experience on stage, and is giving me a lot to improve with.
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