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Funny Books - Comedy FAQs And Answers - Dave Schwensen

BUY Comedy FAQs And Answers (cover)
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How the stand-up Biz Really Works
Dave Schwensen
Allworth Press 2005
207 pages

Unless you already have your own sit-com, HBO special or have been featured extensively on the Comedy Network, buy this book. Buy Comedy FAQs And Answers and keep it on your nightstand. If you are on the road, bring it with you and a chapter and verse every day for this is the absolute biblical truth about the comedy business from a guy who knows what he is writing about, Dave Schwensen (who was talent coordinator for A&E's An Evening At The Improv and for comedy clubs in Los Angeles and New York), and from a whole other bunch of stand-up comics who also get their short set in like George Carlin, Richard Jeni, Dave Atell, Lewis Black, Eddie Brill, Brett Butler, Ellen Cleghorne, Bobby Collins, Marc Curry, Bill Engvall, Jeff Foxworthy, Maryellen Hooper, Wendy Liebman, Kathleen Madigan, Ray Romano, and chances are there's a few missing on this exhaustive list of who's who in comedy.

For about the price of a comic's Dvd, you are going to learn more about the business of making people laugh than you ever will from talking with people who say they know something but want you to pony up some major cash for the privilege. Seriously, how much do you think Carlin would charge for a consult? Well, here you get some of his advice, and in-depth at that for free.

This book is perhaps geared towards the young up and coming talent of the future but there is something any seasoned veteran can probably learn from the fifty-seven frequently asked questions about stand-up comedy and the easy to understand, relevant, fun to read, and knowledgeable answers found in this book. Even if you are not an aspiring talent but just a fan of standup, this is a highly enjoyable book as it gives you a very interesting and fascinating take on the behind the stage stuff.

Some of the questions Dave Schwensen answers are related to open mike night, what to do on stage, what happens off stage and backstage as these are the four sections of this book. It is an easy question and answer format based on the writer's experience in the comedy club business and as a leader of workshops. Interestingly, a lot of this guy's advice on comedy is the kind of good, common sense suggestions you would get at a writer's workshop in college or university. The contributions of all the celebs listed above only prove he knows what he is talking about but also gives you a little different take on some of his answers.

Not that this book is perfect. Schwensen seems to be jockeying for position as world's worst punster as he sometimes horses around and flogs and punishes a dead horse to death as he gives you some horse sense about the biz he is a pundit of and clears up some of what nay-sayers might think (this sentence was inspired by p. 101 in the book, you get the point and I keep the crown). Also, there are typos on pages 165, 162, and 148

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