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How to Be Funny Paperback – April 1, 1998


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How to Be Funny + The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You're Not + Finding The Funny Fast: How to Create Quick Humor to Connect with Clients, Coworkers and Crowds
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573922064
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573922067
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #927,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...a gold mine of ideas...Frankly, even if you don't care about becoming funny yourself, HOW TO BE FUNNY is fun to read." -- Digby Diehl, Prodigy

"A humorist with intellectual credentials and an effective performer as well, Steve Allen offers expert advice on his craft." -- George L. George, Back Stage/Shoot

About the Author

Steve Allen (Los Angeles, CA) is the creator of the "Tonight Show" and PBS's award-winning program "Meeting of the Minds." He is the author of many books on a wide range of topics for both children and adults. Jane Wollman (New York, NY) is a journalist who has written regularly for The New York Times, Newsday, and USA Today.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Originally I bought this book to become funnier in my conversations with others. The title seemed to imply that this would happen, but after reading the book, I found it to be a beginer's book for the comic writer and stand-up comedian. Very little was mentioned about how to develop a funny personality. A total of 10 pages out of 290 were devoted to formulas of why things are funny and this list of reasons was lacking in comprehensiveness. Although I do not doubt Steve Allen's ability to write funny material, I feel he lacks when it comes to writing analytical material. This book should have been titled "How to be a Comic Writer."
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be very disappointing. It is very poorly written and organized. Though the book claims to be written in 1998, it was clearly written in the early 1980s, so all of the references are extremely dated. For example, it still talks about how Joan Rivers as a hot young comedienne. There are pages and pages of transcripts from old Steve Allen bits that aren't funny at all in writing, and are so dated that they contain many references and words I didn't understand.
As the title implies, I expected it to help me develop a better sense of humor by providing analysis on why things are funny and instructing how to apply those techniques. It does very little of this. It mainly focusses on the improvisational wordplay techniques that Steve Allen developed and used in his career, which if I used I think people around me would find very annoying. Very little of the information in the book can be applied to everyday life. For example, I had no use for the sections on writing comedic television scripts, being a talk show host, doing stand up comedy, or how to sell jokes to established comedians.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Roger Sanders on October 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book is better than Jon Macks' book of the same name, yes. But still, the content looks dated, and covers more theoretical aspects than real world techniques. But still, the techniques are useful to some extent. You may try the more practical/simple book which is Stanley Lyndon's How to be funny (...). But considering everything, all 3 books are good and cover the various points on being the everyday funny person. My advice is that you buy all three as they don't cost that much together.

Have fun!

Rogers.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By jim@coachjim.com on November 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
HOW TO BE FUNNY is a book unlike any other. How else would we tell them apart?
Steve Allen's contribution to students of comedy and wit is a wonderful one indeed. Allen and his co-author have a book-long conversation about what is funny, what isn't, and more importantly *why* some things are funnier than others. Whether you want to write funny, talk, walk, or think funny, Steve Allen includes page after page of examples from his radio and television career. My copy is well-worn --albeit slightly small and tight around the waist -- with passages highlighted and underlined.
If you aren't funny (or funnier) after reading this book, well, then try eating it. That will definitely make you feel funny for a little while.
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