Before I jump into a discussion on what may or may not be the best stand-up comedy books available on the market today, keep this in mind:
I am NOT a fan of the information that the vast majority of books on stand-up comedy offer.
As you read this article, you will find out exactly why I say that. But before you get to that part…
Before I get started, here is a brief audio clip (less than 90 seconds) from a recent coaching call that I had with a Killer Stand-up Member regarding the information provided in popular stand-up comedy books that many people try to use to create a routine that actually gets laughs:
Here are some questions to consider:
- Is it natural comedy talent that has prompted you to consider becoming a comedian or are you under the impression that given the right knowledge that you can “write” your way to being funny on stage?
- Do you have a burning desire to excel as a comedian or do you just want to learn about it from an academic stand point?
- How long are you willing to struggle before you are able to generate decent laughs as a comedian? Is it a month? Is it 6 months? Is it a year or more?
With that said, here’s what you really need to know about what many consider the best stand-up comedy books have to offer:
- You are going to find academic definitions for stand-up comedy joke structure.
- You are going to find academic definitions for joke formulas – specifically, the different types of jokes that a comedian might use in their stand-up comedy material.
- You are going to find examples of joke formulas and stand-up comedy material used by other comedians to get laughs.
- You will be taught that producing powerful stand-up comedy material is all about writing jokes using “writing” techniques.
- You will be led to believe that anyone can write their way to being funny on stage as a comedian given the right “writing” techniques.
- You will find that you need to develop some sort of character or persona if you really want to go far as a comedian.
At first glance, one could assume that what I have just presented should be enough to be able to produce stand-up comedy material that works.
And if that sort of information meets your expectations, you can find the most popular books on stand-up comedy on this page (Hint: You can get most of those books used for a fraction of the cost of new books).
Just know in advance that it won’t be “operator error” if you attempt to use the information provided in those books and you can’t seem to get the laughs you want when you hit the stage.
I can say that because the vast majority of the information in stand-up comedy books is academic, not actionable on an individual by individual basis.
There’s a huge difference between academic information and actionable information.
Academic information is worthless without actionable information that shows you how to do what you need to do as it relates specifically to you and your comedy talent.
And there’s a huge difference between trying to “write” your way to being funny on stage and developing stand-up comedy material that works for you, your unique sense of humor and point of view.
Here’s just a small taste of some of the critical information that new comedians must know that you won’t find in the best stand-up comedy books:
- You won’t find information on how to identify what makes you funny in everyday life or how to apply that talent in the development of your stand-up comedy material.
- You won’t discover the 3 attributes all stand-up comedy material must have in order to generate laughs.
- You won’t find information on how to structure your stand-up comedy material to get 4-6+ laughs per minute.
- You won’t find details on how to apply your unique sense of humor to the process of developing stand-up comedy material.
- You won’t find information on delivering stand-up comedy material as it applies to your already developed natural expressive comedy traits.
- You won’t find any information on line length and how it affects punchline frequency.
- You won’t find any actionable information on how to produce punchlines relative to your unique sense of humor or point of view.
- You won’t find much usable information on how to improve your laughter generation ability from one performance to the next.
Again, that’s just a really small taste of what you won’t find in what many people consider to be the “best” books on stand-up comedy.
Here’s a comment from an email I received from another Member:
“Like you, I read everything everybody else ever wrote, and your stuff is 200 times better thought out, better presented and ultimately more useful than anything else that ever came down anybody’s pike.”
But don’t let me discourage you from getting your hands on every book on stand-up comedy that you can if you believe that they will help you reach your stand-up comedy goals.
Just look at those questions again at the top of this page, then here’s what I recommend that you do if you are so inclined:
Before you invest in what you believe are the “best stand-up comedy books”, take some time and review the 5 free stand-up comedy lessons that are available in the Killer Stand-up Comedy Online Course.
That way, you will at least know that there is a proven, alternative approach available to you in case those books on stand-up comedy don’t seem to work out in helping you reach your stand-up comedy goals.