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Step by Step to Stand-Up Comedy Paperback – July 13, 2000


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Step by Step to Stand-Up Comedy + The Comedy Bible: From Stand-up to Sitcom--The Comedy Writer's Ultimate "How To" Guide + Comic Insights: The Art of Stand-Up Comedy
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann Drama (July 13, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0325001790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0325001791
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Greg Dean is a former Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus clown, a street performer, and a regular at the Comedy Store in Hollywood. Through his popular "Stand-Up Comedy Workshop" at the Santa Monica Playhouse, Dean has worked with many of today's top comics. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Customer Reviews

If you need more laughs, you need this book!
Damien Fitz
Whilst I appreciate all I've done is read it (twice now) in the last few days and hence don't have my own material prepared, the book makes sense.
Richard Griffiths
I never knew how much material there was to know and how easy it is now for me to write jokes and be funnier now that I have read this book.
"meyestro"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Shemp Shady on September 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
As someone who has been a lifelong stand-up comedy aficionado - either as an audience member or on-stage performer - I am very thrilled to have finally found a resource which offers a viable, understandable method for creating new stand-up material, on any premise of your choosing. As an added bonus, Greg Dean's method has also helped me to understand WHY funny material I `happened' to come up with previously IS indeed funny, making me feel more in control of the process, and providing the inspiration to create a wealth of new material I never otherwise would have. (So much so, in fact, that my index card and legal pad purchases are probably keeping Staples in business!)
Specifically, what I have found most helpful are: Greg Dean's instructions on how to perform material both from your own point of view (the `narrator POV') and from other characters' POVs, and how to keep the various POVs clear and distinct when performing; his explanation of how best to rehearse your material, so that during a show, you're not just aping material form a script memorized verbatim, but are instead recounting real, vivid experiences as though they were actually happening - much more liberating for the comic, and far more interesting and funny for the audience. The rehearsal process also allows you to modify or add to your routines as you rehearse, or even ON STAGE.
To paraphrase an old adage, Greg Dean truly does teach you HOW to fish, unlike so many other books on stand-up which just toss fish at you, or - worse still - merely describe what a fish looks like, and how to differentiate the various species of gilled ichthyic vertebrates. O Dean of Comedy, thank you!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By George Pappy on November 29, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Greg's book has really helped me on 2 independent fronts: The effective performance of stand-up comedy, and COMEDY WRITING! This is an important point for those who are writers, not performers. Of all the books I've ever read on comedy, this is the first one to actually outline a concrete process for quickly generating a significant volume of humorous material. This should be very useful for anyone doing any kind of script writing.
Naturally, the writing methods described in the book are also quite helpful for performers, as are the in-depth instructions for actually doing stand up comedy. I've used this book as a constant source of inspiration in rehearsing and to raise my spirits right before performances. It's literally the kind of book that I can open to just about any page, read for 10 minutes, and come away with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
Some books I've read on this subject have a few good parts, but this one has high-quality material from start to finish. If you're looking for a true textbook on comedy (both writing and performance), this is the only book you'll need.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By RA Murphy on February 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
Greg Dean has written a great book for stand-up comics. First he shows you how to create jokes on any topic without having to wait for inspiration. Then you learn to assemble the material into a smooth, logical routine. Next he helps you rehearse and finally, he gets you up on stage to give the performance of your life - night after night!
As if that weren't enough, Greg has done two more things. First, he's defined a process for creating humor that works not just for stand-up but for all kinds of humor writing. Second, he's provided performance guides that apply equally well to speakers who "just" want to deliver a humorous presentation.
Now, if you're one of those purely intuitive, wait-for-the-thunderbolt-of-inspiration types, then maybe you won't find this book of as much value as the rest of us poor humorists do. But for anyone who's a serious student of the art and who wants to learn more about making funny, this book is a must have.
Darn Good Job, Greg Dean!
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Joel L. Gandelman VINE VOICE on September 18, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's amazing how many books there are on writing and performing comedy, and how bad many of them are. I collect books on comedy and performers and I can say that FINALLY there is a book on comedy writing and performing that can TRULY make a difference. Greg Dean's system clears away a lot of the mystery and, step by step, can help you WRITE funnier, VIEW things funnier, and BE funnier. He clearly has spent years of time and thought on his system...and it W O R K S. How do I know? I'm a performer (ventriloquist -- I work with a dummy but he is not running for president...Greg is NOT responsible for that joke, folks..). His system has already helped me in countless ways. In fact, I will say it changed my whole way of looking at, writing, and performing humor. This book is not only one that I like for myself, but one that I'll be ordering for other people who are interested in comedy as GIFTS. This is NOT your usual how-to comedy book that you read and stick on a shelf. You'll use it -- and be influenced by it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Shayne M. Whitehead on September 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
"I guess if you wanted diagram jokes like an english teacher this is a good book to learn from but, don't expect to get any laughs..." says an earlier reviewer. This book is to help joke writers write better jokes. If you're looking for laughs pick up Calivin and Hobbes. Every negative review that says that this book is it's too technical. Well that's why this book is excellent. It boils jokes down to a formula that will allow astute writers to write better jokes. Yes, you will have to wade through some linguistics to understand exactly what Dean is trying to say. I had to read it twice myself. But once I understood it was well worth the extra time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Greg Dean has been teaching and writing about the fundamentals of joke writing and performing stand-up comedy for thirty plus year. When he began, Dean quickly realized there were no documented fundamentals for teaching comedy. So, for the past three decades he's made it his life's mission to identify, name, and teach the basic techniques used by all great joke writers and comedians.

These fundamental were first published in his book Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy. Now, these same joke writing and performing techniques are available as a series of exercises in his Step By Step to Stand-Up Comedy - Workbook Series.

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