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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2012
I picked up this book on Kindle based on the majority of 5-star reviews.

Then I read the first third of the book. This book is for idiots who slept through English class. The author's definition of farce is imbecilic. Just so you know what it actually is, here is the definition from a master farceur, Joe Keenan: "A tightly-plotted comedy in which a misunderstanding or deliberate deception spirals progressively out of control." Now if you watch some of the great farces on Frasier (written by Joe Keenan), or farce masterpieces like Tootsie, or Rumors by Neil Simon, that is what you will see. If you read this author's concept of a farce, then the Bullwinkle cartoons apply. It's just terrible how little work was put into this book.

Then I noticed the near-complete absence of AMAZON VERIFIED PURCHASE on the 5-star reviews. At the time of this writing, there are 38 5-star reviews, of which only eight are AMAZON VERIFIED PURCHASES. That's a confirmed purchase rate of 21%. Now look at how many of these same unverified reviews were posted within three weeks of the book's publication. I rather suspect the author's colleagues, students and relatives donated the reviews. Why is there no AMAZON VERIFIED PURCHASE on this review??? Because I returned the book for a refund.

Honestly, if you want a superb book on comedy writing, get THE COMIC TOOLBOX by John Vorhaus. It is just excellent in every way. It teaches you the internal architecture of comedy, how to construct a comic character, and how the comedic polarities interrelate and play against one another. You're Funny is such a remedial introduction to comedy, you'd actually get more out of watching five episodes of Frasier (from Seasons 2, 3 or 11). Another excellent book on comedy writing is THE NEW COMEDY WRITING STEP BY STEP by Gene Perret. He wrote for everyone from Phyllis Diller to Carol Burnett to Bob Hope (okay, so Bob Hope was never all that funny). Perret's book is full of exercises that will sharpen your punchline skills. If you buy You're Funny, get those other two books to compare. The contrast in helpfulness is stunning. [Aug 17, 2015 addendum: New and brilliant comedy title, "Comedy Writing for Late-Night TV" by Joe Toplyn. Toplyn wrote for Letterman, Leno and Conan O'Brien, among others. Brilliant book with solid, workable advice. Can't recommend it enough!]

And, all politics aside, it is very annoying to read how many sketches the author wrote to parody the right wing. It's like every chapter is one more anecdote of his liberal-agenda-in-every-joke career. Okay, dude. You're a democrat. We get it. Who in Hollywood isn't?

This book is a rough draft of a mediocre idea that never got developed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The 5-star raving reviews make this book sound like it has so much valuable information. Unfortunately, it does not. This entire book chapter after chapter reads like an introduction summary to topics you can find in more detail in other comedy education books. I could bore you with examples, but take my word as an "Amazon Verified Purchase" reviewer this book will not help you improve your comedy talent. I have passed this book around to my other comedy friends and they provided me a sanity check that this book does not deserve the bloated reviews it has received. One recommendation I have for this book, add more information. For the author to have 20 plus years of teaching experience in the field, I felt this book was one big letdown.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2011
I bought this book hoping it would go more in depth on inner workings of comedic scenes/sketches/media, breaking them down, finding common traits between funny moments throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Instead it's just a very broad outline and explanation of the different venues a comedy writer could go to. Which is fine I suppose, but the author really doesn't cover anything new or insightful. If you already live in LA or have been pursuing writing/comedy for a year or two, you've probably already figured out everything he's going to explain. If you're looking for a better comedy book that explains the rule of 3, character status, and other ways of actually creating comedy, check out The Comic Toolbox.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2012
It's very good that the author of the book has so many friends, colleagues, and students who are willing to give his book so many glowing reviews. But they are very misleading. The book is too basic. Don't waste your money. There are better books on comedy writing. "The Comic Toolbox" is one of them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2013
This book is perfect for people living under a rock. If you're considering doing comedy as a profession, you should know what a parody is. Come on, people.

This guy is not funny at all and will teach you nothing. I was at page 50 (which took me 20 minutes since most of his pages are about one paragraph long) and I just noticed that I had nothing to learn from this person. I regret spending my money on this and I have to say I'm very disappointed in these Amazon reviews. I find it hard to believe that all these reviewers actually found something valuable in this book. But who knows, maybe there are more people living under rocks than what I'm aware of.

Question: Why do you, D.B. Gilles, take up space in your book torturing us with snippets from your Ann Coulter book that wasn't even good enough to be published? I know you tried to explain several reasons why it never say the light of day, but the reality of it is that it was just really awful. We are not amused. Throw it away.

Thank you, the very few "real" reviewers here for tips on other books to check out.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2011
This seems like a solid book for teaching yourself to write different styles of comedy. (I say "seems like" because I read only the first six or seven chapters of the book and skimmed the rest. I decided to post this review because I wanted to warn people who might have the same expectations for this book that I did.)

However, I came away disappointed because from the product description and the title I expected more career advice. I was expecting some insight into how one enters the industry, who to send a spec script to, or tips on markets for joke writers. There isn't much of that here--there isn't even a chapter devoted to that side of things--and that was my main motivation for purchasing the book. So I'd say check this book out if you want a one-stop introduction to several different facets of comedy writing. If you want something a little more advanced, look elsewhere.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2012
I, too, saw all the positive reviews on amazon and bought this book, thinking it would be on par with some of the better books about comedy writing, such as The Comic Toolbox, The Comedy Bible, and anything by Gene Perret (I have all of these). It isn't. I did not find it helpful and it did not add anything at all to my knowledge of comedy writing. In fact, I had to force myself to finish the book, which I felt I had to do since I paid money for it.

It really does appear like either the author himself or somebody with a vested interest in it got people to write good reviews about the book. I just wish there were more honest reviews so people wouldn't waste their money like I did.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2013
. . . I absolutely will not be buying your book because of your quite obvious abuse of the Amazon review process. It's not only the poor ratings from genuine reviewers that will put people off; it's your flagrant dishonesty. You haven't even bothered to mask the almost identical writing styles in the six or seven 'reviews' I read.

'You're Funny'? Don't make me laugh . . .
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2012
I bought and read it. It's painfully oblivious this book was written for profit only. Alway, be careful of "how to make money" books, they're usually wrtten by people who are good selling books. This book was next to worthless.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2011
D.B. Gilles does it again! He inspires, makes you laugh and gives you something
useful, all at the same time. As I read this book, I actually felt like D.B.
Gilles was speaking to me personally. In his humorous storyteller's way, he
describes what it's like to be a person with a sense of humor who has potential
to be a professional in the world of comedy. He answers the questions "what is
funny" and "why is something funny", while explaining what it takes to use your
humor as a writer for sketches, blogs, scripts and stand up comedy. He gives
you insider tips on the entertainment industry coupled with inspiring and
specific exercises to help you get started. Whether you need to know how to get
started, or if you already have some experience but are looking for motivation,
"You're Funny" is it. This book is for everyone with a sense of humor. Buy it,
read it, laugh and learn how to make others laugh.
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