And Here's the Kicker

And Here's the Kicker

Conversations With 21 Top Humor Writers on Their Craft

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
Twenty-one print, television, and film humor writers discuss the comedy-writing process and their industry experiences while offering advice on getting published, finding an agent, and landing a job in the business.

Book News
Sacks, currently on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair, interviews 21 top print, TV, and film humor writers as they discuss the comedy-writing process, their influences, and their experiences in the industry. Those interviewed include veterans like Buck Henry (Get Smart, The Graduate) and Dick Cavett (The Tonight Show, The Dick Cavett Show), as well as mavericks including Dan Mazer, co-writer of Borat, George Meyer (The Simpsons), and Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks). In this male-dominated industry, a few women stand out: Merrill Markoe (Late Night with David Letterman), and Allison Silverman (Late Night with Conan O'Brien). Each interview begins with background and a b&w illustration. In between the interviews, two-page spreads offer "quick and painless," yet serious, advice for humor writers, on getting hired as a sitcom writer, getting humor published in magazines, finding a literary agent for a humor book idea, acquiring an agent for a script, and getting a job as a writer for late-night television. The book is ideal for aspiring humor writers, and will be enjoyed by anyone who likes to laugh. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

F+W Publishing
"Did you hear the one about..."

Every great joke has a punch line, and every great humor writer has an arsenal of experiences, anecdotes, and obsessions that were the inspiration for that humor. In fact, those who make a career out of entertaining strangers with words are a notoriously intelligent and quirky lot. And boy, do they have some stories.

In this entertaining and inspirational book, you'll hear from 21 top humor writers as they discuss the comedy-writing process, their influences, their likes and dislikes, and their experiences in the industry. You'll also learn some less useful but equally amusing things, such as:

  • How screenwriter Buck Henry came up with the famous "plastics" line for "The Graduate."
  • How many times the cops were called on co-writers Sacha Baron Cohen and Dan Mazer during the shooting of "Borat."
  • What David Sedaris thinks of his critics.
  • What creator Paul Feig thinks would have happened to the "Freaks and Geeks" crew if the show had had another season.
  • What Jack Handey considers his favorite "Deep Thoughts."
  • How Todd Hanson and the staff of The Onion managed to face the aftermath of 9/11 with the perfect dose of humor.
  • How Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais created the original version of "The Office."
  • What it's really like in the writers' room at SNL.
Funny and informative, And Here's the Kicker is a must-have resource?whether you're an aspiring humor writer, a fan of the genre, or someone who just likes to laugh.

Publisher: Cincinnati, Ohio : Writer's Digest Books, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781582975054
Characteristics: ix, 337 p. : ill. ; 23 cm


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MomoT Feb 17, 2016

A fascinating insight on the somewhat hidden world of comedy writing. Though the jokes may end up being told in front of a huge audience, they start in the minds of comedy writers and what weird and wonderful (but sometimes dark) places those are.

This book is very America-centric so if you're interested in the brains behind such various comedy outputs as The Simpsons, The Marx Brothers movies, National Lampoon, Arrested Development, Mad magazine, The Onion, and The Colbert Report then there'll be something here that interests you. For those with more British sensibilities the interviews with Stephen Merchant (The Office, Extras) and Dan Mazer (Da Ali G Show, Borat, Bruno) may well appeal. I was personally very impressed with the revelation that Sacha Baron Cohen and crew were pulled over by the police 36 times while filming the Borat film... and Cohen didn't break character once.

I also loved the interview with American humorist David Sedaris because I've read and enjoyed a lot of his work and it was interesting to read about how he approaches writing his humorous essays (and what kind of trouble he gets into when he exaggerates for the sake of the story).

What comes across is that there are a lot of different styles of humour and different approaches, and some will strike a chord. My main takeaway from the book is that humour writing is rarely easy for anyone, even the people who are best at it.


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