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93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2002
For many reasons this is a well done book. Judy Carter interviewed and studied many famous comedy people for this book. Quotes by the dozens throughout the book powerfully build on the point made in the text. Stand up comedians are not the only ones that need to be funny. The most widely used clique about professional speaking is: "You don't need to be funny unless you want to get paid." Reading this book is more useful than reading all the joke books you can find. Carter says it the most clearly and the most forcefully. You need to first get your message sorted out completely and then make it funny or at least entertaining. Your personal message is more critical to your success than copying other successful people no matter what you field of speaking, entertaining or communication.
The book seemed like one giant personal conversation with the author Judy Carter. You may not break out laughing very often reading this book. Carter would have made a good engineer or scientist, she breaks down into the tiniest imaginable pieces what makes something funny and then puts it back together. Reading and working with this book will make you funnier, it is by far the most promising book I have found so far. That is the good news. The bad news is that you can not just read this book. It is more like a highly serious work book. While it is ultra easy to read, it is very demanding to work your way through the book--- At least in the manner Judy Carter expects the book to be used. The book benefits from the years that Judy Carter has taught comedy performance and writing.
If you are interested in writing comedy, jokes, sit com or speeches this is the book to buy. Be ready to roll up you sleeves and really work with this book. It is designed and written to the full range of people that are serious about entertaining other people with humor. In another book on comedy Steve Allen wrote in a foreword: "How to books on comedy are a dime a dozen." For the intensely thinking person on comedy that craves an in depth understanding, I will be surprised if a better book can be found. I will search for that potential gem, but my suspicions are as follows. When a better book is written on comedy, it is likely to be written by Judy Carter. As you can see by my review I thought her original book was outstanding and this one is even better. While I have read it once through carefully, the big pay off is going to come by doing the exercises and the introspective work laid out in this book.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2005
I enjoyed this book.Teaches you how to write comedy.This book is ideal because it guides you through the process of writing comedy and putting together a stand-up comedy routine.

I suggest that you read this book at your own pace.Ignore the bit at the beginning of chapter 2 where it starts "26 days to killer comedy material".It then mentions you are then going to perform what you have written.Ignore it! Read the book first and learn.Its your book,not your contract.

You will gain many things to help you achieve your goal as a comedy writer or stand-up comedian.

This book will be one you will keep and,carry with you so its there when you need it.

I also recommend these books:
1)"Zen and the art of stand-up comedy",By Jay Sankey".
2)"The comic toolbox",By John Vorhause.
3)"Comic insights",By Franklin Ajaye.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
This is simply the best book on standup comedy I have read. I wish I could take her class! This book helped me to improve a five minute routine I have and perform it in front of a crowd. I also appreciate that Judy Carter does not have the sexism that mars other books on the topic such as Comic Toolbox by John Vorhaus. If you had to buy only one book on standup, this should be it. Greg Dean's book is pretty good too, but it's just not as comprehensive. Thank you, Judy, for being a great teacher through this book.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2006
I live in New York, and write stand up comedy.

I have a lot of friends who are pro comics on the NY circuit, and every one of them is aware of, and owns, this book.

It won't make you funny, it you are fundamentally not funny.

If you are occasionally funny, or regularly funny, then this book will help you structure you work, and tells you how to develop your work into a pro set that can get you noticed.

It tells you what not to do, it guides you on what works.

I own a fair set of comedy books, but this is one that keeps it's number one spot consistently. Even with year and years of practice, the comedians I know still know exaclty where their copy is!

If the pros own it, why don't you?
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2005
Yes, I'm quite satisfied with the results. I headlined at my showcase night at The Improv - Hollywood, and thanks to Judy's personal touch, we played to a packed house of 250 with consistent unique and tight delivery, and came away with the experience of a lifetime. The audio CD's and DVD's help with understanding how you need to apply the step-by-steps found in this book - but the point is: you have to get out of your own head and work the material like a maniac. The average rate is about 200 hours of writing per hour of performance rough material, so there's lots ahead.

Judy herself points out that she didn't "invent" this methodology - she merely thought enough to actually organize all of the years of experience she's gained in writing, living and loving comedy and put it into a single tome. But that doesn't mean it will write material for you. It points you in the direction you need to go - which is start noting down every single premise you discover and forensically tear it down thoroughly. Then, grab your comedy writing "buddy" and start working it through to death. And get in front of every audience or person that will listen.

Think of this as a common sense guide to what are the "magical" things that make people like Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal funny. And how you can take your personal point of view and find the "funny" in it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2005
I obviously started from scratch and unlike several other books I have read this one does actually what it says it will do. It helps. It's like a workbook for the serious comics. Plus all the help from her website. She makes it a point to actually tell you HOW to do WHAT you do. And what NOT to do. Like I said before I bought this book first and several after and I still use this book over all the others. If you are feeling down after a show this is the suicide prevention book for Stand up comics. I fall asleep after a bad show holding it in my arms tears weeping and somehow Judy makes it all ok. :)
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2006
I bought a few books on comedy after a lot of researching, and I was impressed by only three books. This is one among them.

You get a lot of laughs for the money, and some hints on making your own humor as well. Similar to John Vorhaus' The Comic Toolbox. But, if you have the cash, Stanley Lyndon's How to be Funny! at howtobefunny.net is the best buy for $49, as that tells you the complete techniques of generating humor. And these are the other two books, by the way.

Nevertheless, I greatly recommend this book and John Vorhaus' for all those on a budget as they provide good hints on the humor techniques and at the same time providing great laughs for the time you are reading the book.

I give it 3.5/5.
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46 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2010
I'm really shocked by all the rave reviews on here for this book. If you read the book and don't do anything I guess it can SEEM like a good book. It does give you lots of advice for your comedy career. But the problem is when you actually take the advice and use in on stage IT DOESN'T WORK. And isn't that what matters most? Sure it's a well written self help book. But the advice she offers doesn't work.

I've been doing comedy for 10 years. I read this book because I was looking for something to help my career. I still haven't "made it" and have to work a day job. I was looking for something to take me to the next level. There is a big section in the book on what makes jokes funny, and the 5 specific words you should use. "something is WEIRD, something is SCARY, etc, etc." I thought, maybe she's right, maybe I really don't understand the STRUCTURE of jokes, maybe just telling jokes and stories that I think are funny is not the way to go, maybe I need STRUCTURED setups. So against my better judgment I re-wrote an entire 10 minute act using this advice. I went on to have the WORST show I've ever had! Seriously. Just.... absolute CRICKETS. And I fully believed that what I had done was going to work wonders for my set! I've never bombed so badly. It was a comedy competition where months prior I'd made it though to the 3rd round finals. This time I got bumped out the first round.

The other TERRIBLE advice she gives is she says "tell jokes, don't tell stories." REALLY!? Some of the BEST comedians tell stories! Daniel Tosh, Louis CK, Dennis Leary, Pablo Francisco, they ALL tell stories. Terrible advice.

The most important thing you have to ask yourself is "Who the heck is Judy Carter?!" Why is she qualified to write a book on comedy?? If she was so great at comedy, she'd be DOING it right now. You'd see her on the tonight show, or comedy central, or she's have an HBO special. She doesn't. She's old, washed up, doling out OLD advice. If you have absolutely no clue how to write jokes or be funny, I guess this book is better than nothing. But if you've done ANY stand-up at all, even for just 6 months, do NOT buy this book. It's rubbish. Trust your gut. YOU know WHAT is and is not funny. You don't need the "joke structure" to tell it to you. If you have even just DECENT natural talent, you'll intrinsically figure the structure out without even thinking about it, just by doing shows. Trying to figure out the "structure" will make you LESS FUNNY!

Jerry Seinfeld can write an advice book on comedy, so can Jay Leno, Louis CK, Steve Martin, etc, etc. Because they're GOOD. ....Judy Carter. You gotta' be kidding me. I'm telling you, READING THIS BOOK AND APPLYING IT WILL HURT YOUR COMEDY CAREER. Don't do what I did - worst show of my life.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2001
This is the difinitive book on stand-up comedy! In this highly anticipated sequel to STAND-UP COMEDY, Judy Carter goes far beyond writing a stand-up comedy act. Although she still gives the in's and out's of writing killer comedy (in ONLY 26 days), she also gives the reader goals and contracts to determine exactly why you want a career in stand-up comedy.
Not interested in stand-up comedy as a career? No problem! Judy teaches readers how to write sitcom specs in ONLY 19 days! ALL CAREERS are covered in this book: Stand-up comedian, sitcom writer, One-person shows, writing for other comics, writing and performing radio shows, Improv, TV Warm-up, Humor writing and essays, Motivational Humorist!
If you've ever dreamed of a career in comedic entertainment,this is the book for you. Hundreds of practical exercises give the reader EVERY opportunity to succeed in this demanding field! (Am I only saying all of this because Judy mentions me, by name, on page 289? Absolutely....Not!)
I've been performing stand-up comedy for over 5 years now, and using this book, I am able to take my show to a whole new level. If you are a comedian, and you do not own this book...what are you waiting for?
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2004
I have Judy Carters older 1989 book, Stand-Up Comedy The Book. This is a great workbook on the comedy scene of that time. And a lot of the material would still work today. Its not the best but its okay. I would recomend Zen and the Art of Stand Up Comedy By Jay Sankey instead. Thats a brilliant starter comedy book that will see you through your professional career.
So I was very disappointed to buy the Comedy Bible only to find that basically its a revision/rehash of her original book Stand-Up Comedy The Book!!!! So now I have two books with pretty much exactly the same material. The Bible does have a few extras on writing for TV comedies etc. Overall I was very disappointed. There are much better books out there. If she had just re-vised her original book it wouldnt have been so bad but i feel ripped off at having bought this twice. And thats not very funny at all!
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