Read The Comic Toolbox How to Be Funny Even If You're Not by John Vorhaus Free Online
Book Title: The Comic Toolbox How to Be Funny Even If You're Not|
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Reader ratings: 5.3
The author of the book: John Vorhaus
Edition: Silman-James Press
Date of issue: July 1st 1994
ISBN 13: 9781879505216
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 14.61 MB
Read full description of the books:
I bought this book because I wanted to see if there were guidelines for humor. I like steps, a plan, Rules A, B, C that will insure I achieve the right end result. And the book's byline--"A funny idea is worthless until you understand the mechanics of its construction and execution. Meet Mr. Goodwrench."--made it sound like I'd found my blueprint.
Besides being a successful comic writer for most of his life with credits for a variety of sitcoms, Vorhaus taught at a variety of Film-oriented schools including the American Film Institute. What he does in the book is distill his lifetime of comedy writing into a how-to toolkit on creating humor. He starts by analyzing humor, explaining why some lines are funny and others aren't, with lots of examples. You can't get bored reading this book because the moment it starts to feel like a textbook, it breaks out into a joke (What do you get when you cross a Jehovah's Witness with an agnostic? Someone who rings your doorbell for no apparent reason). Here are some hints that made sense to me in my quest for humor:
mix truth with pain (A man falls off a cliff. As he plummets to his death, he's heard to mutter, 'So far, so good.')
be willing to risk making yourself look stupid
for every ten jokes you tell, nine will be trash
the comic premise is the gap between comic reality and real reality (for example, in the comic strip Peanuts, there's a gap between Snoopy's 'real' reality--he's a dog--and his 'comic' reality--he's a World War I flying ace
humor through exaggeration (Jerry Lewis is the supreme bumbler)--and be bold about it
clash of context--a forced union of incompatibles--i.e., lunar golf course, Madonna sings opera
the wildly inappropriate response--For example, a backyard barbeque with militant vegetarianism, at a baseball game cheering for the vendors
the law of comic opposites
tension and release
Each chapter, he not only explains the comedic tool, he encourages the reader to practice the tool. For example, in the chapter, The Comic Premise, readers must write a mundane task (i.e., going to a store) and what would make that out of the ordinary (shopping for Uzis). Here's one example I liked: a mundane event--the Magna Carta; out of the ordinary rejoinder--written by e.e. cummings.
In a nutshell, Vorhaus breaks comedy down into its bits and pieces. Yes, some people are blessed with the comic gene, a funny bone that turns life into a laugh tape, but the rest of us need help. Since I'm a firm believer that every story goes better with a sense of humor (I get a lot of my funny-isms from my naturally-talented husband), you'll want to spend a couple hours with this book.
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Read information about the authorJohn Vorhaus is known to one and all as the man who brought Radar Hoverlander – con artist extraordinaire – to life in the “sunshine noir” mystery novel, The California Roll, and its acclaimed sequel, The Albuquerque Turkey.
John is also well known as the author of The Comic Toolbox: How to be Funny Even if You're Not, and its acclaimed sequel, The Little Book of SITCOM, which continue to be definitive sources of information and inspiration for writers from Santa Monica to Scandinavia.
An international consultant in television and film script development, Vorhaus has worked for television networks, film schools, production companies and film funding bodies in 28 countries on four continents. He recently worked in Bulgaria, recruiting and training writers for that country’s adaptation of Married… with Children, and in Tel Aviv, consulting on the Israeli version of The Golden Girls. He also travels regularly to Nicaragua, where he co-created the social action drama Contracorriente to provide positive role modeling for the poor, young and disenfranchised of that embattled country.
And oh by the way, he has written more than three million words on poker, just in his spare time.
Vorhaus is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the Writers Guild of America. He has taught at such institutions as Northwestern University, the American Film Institute and the Writers Program of the UCLA Extension. He is the author of a dozen books, including Creativity Rules! A Writer's Workbook, the novel Under the Gun, the Killer Poker series and, with Annie Duke, the bestselling Decide to Play Great Poker.
He sells everything but his soul through his Amazon author page,
http://tinyurl.com/jvauthorpageamazon, tweets for no apparent reason @TrueFactBarFact, and secretly rules the world from www.johnvorhaus.com.
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