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The Comedy Bible: From Stand-up to Sitcom--The Comedy Writer's Ultimate "How To" Guide Paperback – 5 Sep 2001
|Paperback, 5 Sep 2001||
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About the Author
Judy Carter is an author, speaking/comedy coach, and speaker. Her message of using comedy techniques to decrease cubicle stress makes Carter an in-demand speaker for Fortune 500 companies where her keynotes entertain and inspire.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Carter gives some good advice on how to sit down and bang out jokes, through a relatively simple formula of selecting a topic and exploring it from different emotional angles. She advises on "finding the funny" -- that is, that humor comes from truth and shared experience, not from forcing a punch line. This is all very useful. But she advises readers to adhere closely to this formula, which results in rather toothless, non-controversial material. She gives examples of jokes created with the formula, and contrasts these with so-called "hack" material, but many times I found it hard to tell why she considered some stage-worthy and others hack; they were equally unoriginal.
The book is also a bit deceptive in suggesting that anyone who puts her or his mind to it can eventually make money in comedy, whether as a performer or a writer. On the plus side, she offers many ideas for comedy-based careers that readers might not have thought of, like writing advertising copy or song parodies. But not everyone who reads this book and follows Carter's formula will be getting $50 opener slots at the local club, let alone become the next Amy Schumer.
I do think the book is worth reading for those starting out, but bear these caveats in mind. (Also, the book promises a continuing online connection via Carter's website -- this no longer exists.)
I believe funny is a combination of natural talent and experience.
However, I do believe that people who have studied an art form and people who have lived that art form can teach those new to the craft some important lessons. I've found the lessons in this book to be worth the investment. I'll grant I'm not a huge fan of the format (workbook) - and being a little skeptical of the exercises - I initially ignored them.
That changed upon reading a scathing review of a comic's show at a unrelated website. The review covered some of the comic's fundamental mistakes and these happened to be the very mistakes Judy's lessons were trying to teach me how to avoid. I went back and started doing some of the exercises (premise writing) that I was initially convinced were a waste of time and I began to see why they were valuable.
Now I find myself re-reading portions of the premise writing lessons.
Very nice introductory text.