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Great Comedians Talk About Comedy Hardcover – December 15, 2000
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"An ambitious undertaking...the first written attempt to gain some insight into the technical aspects of humor..." -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"This fascinating, penetrating and information-packed book constitutes an anatomy of the art of creating laughter..." -- Miami Herald
From the Publisher
Love to laugh and for those who want a good, enteraining read;
Are curious about what makes top comedy performers tick, and the secrets behind their timeless wisdom and appeal;
Would like insight into comedy techniques and sound philosophies that can inspire and benefit everyone in every walk of life;
Aspire to careers in comedy or as professional speakers, as well as taostmasters, managers business execuitves, clergy, civic leaders, laywers all who must interact with the public.
Top Customer Reviews
But what about HOW these comedians made laughs...how they were inspired...what specific techniques they used and did not use...and what advice they would give anyone interested in going into any area of comedy?
Those have been tough answers to get. To do it you'd have to buy a slew of good and sometimes rotten bios, many of them out of print. Until now. Stand-up comedian Larry Wilde's Great Comedians Talk About Comedy brings it all together.
Great Comedians is a superb, singular achievement that collects within one lively, 402-page, info-packed volume, detailed interviews done over several years with some of the 20th century's greatest comedians and comedy actors.
The selection is absolutely mind-boggling: Woody Allen, Milton Berle, Shelly Berman, Jack Benny, Joey Bishop, George Burns, Johnny Carson, Maurice Chevalier, Phyllis Diller, Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, Dick Gregory, George Jessle, Jerry Lewis, Jerry Seinfeld, Danny Thomas and Ed Wynn.
Each interview is presented in straight Q&A format so you get to "hear" the question and "hear" the response, from what the comedian/comedy actor says to his/her own speech pattern. These folks worked in venues from vaudeville, to radio, to night clubs, to radio to early silent movies to talkies to TV. And their responses to questions contain revelations and constant inspiration.
A key theme: how "making it" in comedy requires timing, good material, dogged persistance, constant analysis of jokes/laughs and being LIKEABLE to an audience.Read more ›
I do have some criticisms of the book (-1 star). During later interviews in the book (chronologically), Wilde becomes a bit too referential. For example, he might begin a question with "Milton Berle once said to me...Read more ›
What makes people laugh? This is a hard question to answer. Even these masters of humor find it difficult to pin down. Perhaps this is so because humor is an emotional reaction which we are trying to explain in intellectual terms. In the book Wilde addresses this problem and at one point poses the question directly to George Jessel. "Why do you think people laugh at what you say?" Jessel answers "At what I say? Because there's an honest quality..." A surprising answer - don't you think? People laugh because they like you? Yet this same theme weaves in and out of several interviews in the book - starting with Woody Allen who elaborates "What they want is an intimacy with the person. They want to like the person and find the person funny as a human being. The biggest trap comedians fall into is trying to get by on the basis of their material. That's just hiding behind jokes..." In a crisp exchange with Jerry Lewis the same point comes up. Wilde: "Be yourself?" Lewis: "Exactly." Wilde: "What you really are?" Lewis: "Right." But the interview with Jimmy Durante summaries this point best. Wilde: "What is the greatest quality a comedian can have?" Durante: "Heart. He's gotta have heart. Otherwise he's nuthin'" Amen!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's a book, what does one say about a product like this. I wanted one and I now have it.Published on April 3, 2013 by Michael J. Blais
Some classic interviews from the 60's. Comedy has changed a LOT since then. (Looks as if the Jerry Seinfeld interview was added later)
Not much to learn here for young... Read more
I can't really review this book as I gave it as a gift to my son-in-law. I think he's really enjoying it - he's planning on trying a little stand up soon.Published on March 20, 2007 by Jan Bailey
Almost all the reviews on Amazon are by stand- up comics who claim that this book has been a great resource in teaching them how to 'get em' and 'leave em' laughing. Read morePublished on July 5, 2005 by Shalom Freedman
Anyone interested in stand-up comedy Must read this book. Especially the people who hang out at "The Improv" bar who THINK they are a comedian. Read morePublished on June 29, 2001 by Alan Bursky
A must read for anyone who is interested in stand-up comedy. Especially for the people who hang out at "The Improv" bar and THINK they are comedians. Read morePublished on June 29, 2001 by Alan Bursky