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You're Lucky You're Funny: How Life Becomes a Sitcom Paperback – September 25, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (September 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452288789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452288782
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1996, TV scriptwriter Rosenthal created Everybody Loves Raymond by stirring the standup comedy of Ray Romano into his own family memories. With Rosenthal as executive producer and inexperienced actor Romano basically portraying himself, their successful sitcom found an audience of 17 million viewers and ran for nine seasons (1996–2005), receiving over 70 Emmy nominations. Rosenthal offers a comedic chronicle of his own life, weaving wit and humor into every page. After a Bronx boyhood as a "shrimpy little nothing," his high school obsession with TV led to college theater, odd jobs (museum guard, deli manager) and a New York acting career that bottomed out. Arriving in L.A., he discovered it was "suburbia without the urbia," and after five years of grinding out scripts for now-forgotten sitcoms, he lit the Romano rocket. Rosenthal details it all—character development, devising dialogue, casting, table reads, run-throughs, doing publicity and dealing with interfering studio executives. Aspiring TV comedy writers and producers will see this as a valuable textbook of insights from an insider, while fans now buying DVD sets will welcome the vast array of amusing anecdotes and background information. Rosenthal also pokes the dark underbelly of "phoney baloney Hollywood," so parts of this book are like listening to a very long and funny standup routine. (Oct. 23)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Rosenthal’s stories are universal, whether he’s getting fired from a night security job at NYC’s Metropolitan Musuem of Art after napping on a seventeenth-century bed or writing jokes for Bill Clinton and respectfully correcting the then president’s pronunciation of Yahtzee.”
Entertainment Weekly “[An] extraordinary ratio of laughs per page.”
—James L. Brooks

“Humorous and highly entertaining.”
—Carl Reiner

“[A] memoir as funny as the sitcom.”
Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

This book is both informative and funny.
W Richard. Trimble
A brilliant, joyful read that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys reading for sheer pleasure.
Ellen Hickey
You discover what made Everybody Loves Raymond so special and so funny.
Mark Simon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Meister on February 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I picked up Phil Rosenthal's "You're Lucky You're Funny" for research, as I needed a bit of background info for a novel I'm writing. My intention was to skim it and move on. After one page, however, I knew I wasn't putting down this book until I'd read every delicious word. It's not only hilarious, but so charming I feel like I've just spent a vacation with a favorite friend. A very smart, very funny favorite friend. Plus, it taught me more about the inside world of sitcoms than I'd even hoped.

But even if you're just in it for the laughs, this book is worth the price. Hell, the fruit-of-the-month story alone is enough to make me recommend it. And that's not even the funniest part (for my money, it's his description of the "all-inclusive" vacation from hell).

I read this in hardcover, but see that it's also available in audio format, which I think might be a lot of fun, as well. I listened to a clip, and Phil Rosenthal has a delightfully anachronistic Old New York accent--kind of a cross between Top Cat and Nicely Nicely from Guys and Dolls. So whether you read or listen, you're in for a great trip.

-Ellen Meister, author of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Corinne H. Smith VINE VOICE on December 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Both "Everybody Loves Raymond" fans and aspiring writers of any kind will enjoy this enlightening and amusing book. Phil Rosenthal reveals to us how he and his fellow "Raymond" writers transferred their real life adventures to the network screen. Part memoir, part tell-all -- but not TOO tell-all, for some names are withheld to protect the stupid -- "You're Lucky You're Funny" also provides an insight into a typical writer's road to Hollywood. As such, the book is humorous in its own right. And anyone who's seen the show will nod in acknowledgement as Phil explains the basis of selected plot ideas. By the way, Phil: a complete listing of all the shows would have been a wonderful addition as an appendix.

Rosenthal leaves us with his theory about the proliferation and seeming success of TV reality shows. Regular comedies and dramas aren't believable anymore, he claims. They're not written as if the plots or the dialogue could actually happen. So folks are turning to reality TV because they see real people making real-life kinds of decisions. And that also explains the popularity and relate-ability of "Everybody Loves Raymond," for it was based on the true but bizarre experiences of people connected with the show.

For more "Raymond" tales, devoted fans should also read "Motherhood and Hollywood: How to Get a Job Like Mine" by Patricia Heaton (2002) and "Are You Hungry, Dear? Life, Laughs and Lasagne" by Doris Roberts (2004). These three books don't overlap in their coverage; and all of them are made even more poignant now, with the recent death of Peter Boyle. Holy crap.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ben on October 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As I watched Everybody Loves Raymond all nine seasons, I kept asking myself, "Do people like the Barones really exist? Are they really out there somewhere in suburbia? If so, what do their real life neighbors think of them?" The answers to these and other questions were answered when I picked up a copy of Phil Rosenthal's laugh-out-loud memoir, "You're Lucky You're Funny." As much as I laughed watching ELR, I laughed twice as much reading Phil Rosenthal's book because the Barones are loosely based on his parents and truth is FUNNIER than fiction!

For me, comic genius and master director James L. Brooks says it best on the back cover of the book:

"There are books that evoke tight little smiles and nods of recognition that provide decent, restrained entertainment. Then there are books that have a whole section that you tell people about (like Phil Rosenthal's vacation at a family resort), maybe even get the interest of a room by quoting the story, and then do it enough to get a reputation as something of a live wire. And, then somewhere between "ever-so-rarely" and "never" there is a book such as this; where the reading time is increased exponentially by the number of times you must put it down because you are laughing hard and loud, the many trips for a pen to underline the particularly funny or wise passage, the trips to the john to avoid laughing accidents, the rereading which must be done on the spot so you get the words right for re-telling.

This is the book that is smart enough to declare depression the poor man's version of suing, that tells of the writer who finally agreed to marriage counseling because, "it's the closest I'll get to a threesome.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Hickey on December 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this book down and I had to endure the mystified stares of my family as I laughed out loud. This is the story of a decent, mega-talented, hilariously funny man who went on to create a show that has now become one of the few classic television programs of our era. With inside stories regarding his life, the actors, and the writers who worked on Everybody Loves Raymond, the book recounts how the series was developed as well as how the ideas for many of the most memorable episodes, had their beginnings from real-life events. A brilliant, joyful read that I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys reading for sheer pleasure. Everybody loves this book!
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