Other Sellers on Amazon
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.
Follow the Author
Comedy Writing for Late-Night TV: How to Write Monologue Jokes, Desk Pieces, Sketches, Parodies, Audience Pieces, Remotes, and Other Short-Form Comedy Paperback – May 5, 2014
Enhance your purchase
Frequently bought together
About the Author
- Publisher : Twenty Lane Media, LLC; 1st edition (May 5, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 444 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0615953891
- ISBN-13 : 978-0615953892
- Item Weight : 1.31 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #66,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I have read 13 books and I have done 2 courses on stand-up comedy and comedy writing. I don’t think this puts me at a disadvantage with doing comedy, as some comedians think. I have worked as a stand-up, an MC, a sketch comedy writer and performer, and a joke writer. And been paid. I think you do what you can to model what has worked before.
But the problem with a lot of books is they try to cover too much ground. They want to show you how to write jokes, monologues, stand-up, sketch, solo shows, sitcoms, and screenplays. There’s no way one 300 page book can cover all those. The best ones just focus on one area. That’s exactly what this book does.
The section on monologue joke writing was the clearest explanation I have ever read. Typically, in other books that cover this, you get lessons on how to pick topics, generate ideas, but then you have figure out how to structure them yourself. You get something like “the punchline is your own reaction”. Huh? I have to make a sarcastic comment on what I’ve written. But not all comedy’s sarcastic, so then what do I do? Other times, the advice you follow allows you to write a joke for a comedian in 1983. But not now. This book explains how to write contemporary comedy.
Also, you won’t learn exercises that exist by themselves as some comedy writing books have you do. These often leave you scratching your head as you try to figure out how to turn them into comedy material. With Joe’s book, you learn how to write usable comedy material from the get go.
Yes, you will learn the formulas regularly used by late night comedy writers. They are used because of the sheer amount of work involved. You may also think, “this guy wrote for Leno? Urgh, Leno’s not funny.” You may substitute Letterman for Leno in that sentence depending on your preference. But you know, whatever you think of those guys and their late night perspectives remember in order to work as a writer on those shows, you have to be able to pump out 70-150 jokes (sometimes more) a day. A day.
Some stand-ups write a couple of jokes a day for a year and have an hour long show at the end of it. And if that’s your goal, then great. But that many jokes will get you fired from your late night position.
While volume may seem like a negative, the more you practice the lessons learned in this book, the more your quality level will increase.
If you want to learn stand-up comedy writing, comedy screenplays, solo shows, or sitcom writing Joe’s book isn’t for you. Sure, the mechanics of laughter are the same, but with those different genres I just mentioned there are other things you need to learn.
You will learn every facet of producing material for late-night, which not only includes monologue jokes, desk pieces, etc but sketch comedy too. So if sketch comedy is your thing, then you can certainly learn a lot about how to write sketch comedy from this masterful book.
I mentioned earlier about being in post-production on my first screenplay. While I wrote that script before I bought Joe’s book, the techniques I have learned so far and will learn once I finish the book will help me on my next screenplay. The skills you learn are absolutely transferable, whether stand-up comedy is your ultimate goal or screenplays. The skills from this book can help you edit and hone your comedy in both stand-up and script writing.
In case you’re wondering, I do not know Joe and I gain nothing from writing this lengthy testimonial. I refer to him by first name, because of the experience I have had in reading this book so far. It has made me feel like I am getting a personal tutorial. So I feel I can refer to him by his first name, even though I have never met him.
Buy this book. More importantly, read and implement its lessons.
Do not let the title make you think that this book is only for writing for Late Night TV, this book is full of universal techniques for crafting and improving jokes. Many comedy writing books are all about self referential comedy, teaching only about how to find the humor in one's own life. This book, coming from a more topical perspective, helps to find humor in the world around you. That unique trait makes this book stand alone in the field of comedy writing instruction. Whether you are a comedy rookie or a more experienced joke teller, Joe has something to offer you.
Plus, I've met Joe a few times and he is a hell of a nice guy which is all the more reason to want to give him your money.
If Joe writes another book only on monologue jokes, I would buy it!
It used to be only Johnny Carson.
Now TV has more late-night comedy shows than shows about cake.
I'm Wayne Kline and like Joe, I've worked on Letterman and In Living Color and once was lucky enough to have Joe as the co-head writer on Leno.
As you might expect from a double Harvard grad, Joe knows his stuff.
He explains it well.
Joe gives some cool creative tips.
I like his 6 "Punch Line Makers," divergent thinking strategies of use for cranking out monologues or any kind of humor. Sitcoms. Screenplays. Drunk wedding toasts.
Joe also breaks down in detail that comedy parts of late night shows I lumped into the category "non-monologue."
The appendix is interesting too. Joe gives his backstage take on Jay vs Dave, turning the tide with help from Hugh Grant and his back seat romance, And of course OJ Simpson. Find out the one sketch that bombed.
If you want a job in late-night TV and aren't currently related by blood to a host, this is the book for you.
Top reviews from other countries
It is a great book, perhaps the slight drawback is that all the references are to US shows but as long as you have seen some US shows, like Letterman or The Tonight Show then you'll understand the formats that Joe talks about.
If you want to get a job writing TV comedy then I would highly recommend this book. Along with Sally Holloway's Easy Guide to Joke Writing, I think this is one of the very best books I've read about writing comedy.