Leifer’s “How To Succeed” Succeeds

Given the number of self-improvement and career-shaping books published over the decades, it’s challenging for any author to introduce material or ideas that haven’t been discussed previously. Just from Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic Think and Grow Rich come the ideas of having a definite purpose, engaging in the power of positive thinking and remaining persistent […]

Dave Barry’s Rewriting Process a Trick of the Trade

“The best writing is rewriting.” ­ – E.B. White. White’s quote has been repeated and refashioned thousands of times over the years and practiced by anyone who has ever put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I first read White’s quote in high school and then came across an expanded version of the idea […]

Onion Thriving After Going Digital

Four months after discontinuing the print version of its satirical newspaper, The Onion is thriving as a digital media company according to the Chicago Tribune. Boosting the company’s bottom line is Onion Labs, an in-house advertising agency that the Tribune says secures six-figure work from major brands seeking to benefit from Onion-produced video content. The […]

I Fell Behind on Posting. Here’s why….

Ten years after Chicago saw its first full-time comedy club open, the landscape was decidedly different. “Stand-up comedy has exploded in the last couple of years,“ a club owner told the Chicago Tribune in 1985. “That`s the only way to describe it:  exploded.” It was truly a comedy boom, as many as 15 full-time clubs […]

Magazine Cites Key & Peele As Among Most Creative

Nate Silver, whose 2012 election predictions raised eyebrows for their boldness and then turned heads when they proved true, tops Fast Company‘s 100 Most Creative People in Business and why not? But the monthly magazine’s June issue also includes some notable comedy creators including the comedy team of (pictured left) Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele […]

Mini Reunion for Conan, Simpsons writers

In his latest installment of “Serious Jibber Jabber“, Conan O’Brien reunited with former Simpsons writers Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Jay Kogen, and Jeff Martin to discuss their stint on the long-running, award-winning animation show and other topics.

Comic Genius Inspired Others, Beloved by Many

Jonathan Winters, a madcap comedy genius who inspired many comedians and comedy writers and was loved by audiences world-wide, has died. Recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 1999, Winters, 87, passed away Thursday in his Montecito, California home with family and friends by his side. Winters was also an accomplished painter […]

Arrested Development Returning May 26

Add another comedy milestone to May 26. Twenty years after Jose Canseco misplayed a fly ball that hit him in the head and bounced over the fence for a home run, Nexflix will launch a new 15-episode season of the comedy cult Arrested Development. Created by Mitchell Hurwitz and starring Jason Bateman, David Cross and […]

Nixed Work of Odenkirk, Cross Set For Book Release

So just what didn’t make it to air on the sketch comedy show Mr. Show with Bob and David? It’s a particularly interesting question considering the cult favorite appeared on HBO, the same network behind The Sopranos, Def Comedy Jam, Taxicab Confessions and Real Sex. Fans will get a look at the rejected works of […]

Musings: Monday, February 4, 2013

After collaborating with Ridley Pearson and then Alan Zweibel on several fiction books, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dave Barry is back with Insane City, his first solo written book in more than a decade. Set in present day Miami, Insane City is the story of a wedding gone wrong South Florida style as the underachieving yet […]

Poehler Latest ‘SNL’ Alum to Get Book Deal

First Tina Fey, then Rachel Dratch and now Amy Poehler. It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, and HarperCollinsCanada announced it has acquired the rights to the first book by Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actress Amy Poehler. The untitled inspirational biography is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2014 and follows releases by […]

Funny Times Keeping With The Times, Adds Digital Editions

The Cleveland-based humor newspaper The Funny Times announced today that iPad and iPod users can now purchase digital editions of the monthly humor magazine through the Apple Newsstand. In an email message to readers and subscribers, The Funny Times joked, “That’s right, the same great monthly content but without the soy-based ink smudges or paper-cut […]

Overpowering Eclectic Flavor to SF SketchFest 2013

With all due respect, disregard the name SF SketchFest because the big-time event has a little something for every comedy fan including improvisation, stand-up, live podcasts, workshops, kids shows, game shows, storytelling and music. Now in its 12th year, SF SketchFest will be held January 24 through February 10 at 26 different venues in the […]

Entries For 2013 Thurber Prize Being Accepted

Was the release of your hilarious romantic comedy overshadowed last year by Fifty Shadows of Grey? Did a book of sample SAT questions outshine your witty collection of personal essays? If so, here’s your chance at redemption. The Thurber House has begun accepting submissions for the 2013 Thurber Prize for American Humor. Named after humorist […]

Ball Is Just Starting to Roll For Comic Thread

A lover of irony, Nicolas DeGrazia remembers that day. There’s no specific date attached to it because like many things in life it was one of those occurrences in which the magnitude isn’t realized until years or decades later. Back then DeGrazia, Charles Turck and Matt Sheahen were 19 and, influenced by Monty Python, already […]

Pencil In Performance or Two at Sketch Fest

The 12th annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, the largest sketch comedy festival in the United States, opens today. More than 10,000 patrons are expected to attend the event which is being held on back to back weekends at Stage 773 located at 1225 W Belmont Avenue. There are four theaters within the building so make […]

Amazon Greenlights Six Original Series Pilots

Academy Award nominee and Pulitzer-Prize winner Garry Trudeau and 12-time Emmy-winning comedy writer David Javerbaum of The Daily Show are among the writers whose pilots will be produced by Amazon Studios, the original film and series production arm of Amazon.com. However, just how long the shows stay in on the Internet will be up to […]

Seinfeld Opens Up About Writing Process

The time and effort that goes into crafting a single joke varies from performer to performer and while you’d think a veteran like Jerry Seinfeld is one of the quicker writers, the stand-up comedy legend recently told New York Times Magazine that it’s taken him two years to perfect a bit about Pop Tarts. The […]

Schwem Finding Humor Hotel Sweet

Pick any state in the country and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a situation similar to the one in Florida where journalists Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen have become recognizable names in humor and satire, respectively, after straying from their “just the facts” environments. Barry, who joined the Miami Herald in 1983, is a Pulitzer […]

‘Bible’ Puts Aspiring Comics on Right Path

Few people realize when they purchase a book, they’re essentially buying that author’s take on a subject. For instance, purchase a copy of Moby Dick and you’re buying Herman Melville’s take on the man vs. nature theme, which, of course, differs from Hemingway’s (The Old Man and the Sea). The similarities are less subtle in […]

Clubs, Characters Dot City’s Long Comedy History

At only 110 pages, Chicago Comedy: A Fairly Serious History falls into the “don’t judge a book by its cover” category. Written and researched by Margaret Hicks, Chicago Comedy (published by The History Press) does what few, if any, books have attempted: chronicle the history of comedy in Chicago. Sure, putting together such a project […]

Ultimate Insider Brings Lampoon Tribute to Life

Three years ago this fall, National Lampoon released the entire National Lampoon magazine archive on DVD-ROM. Now comes a streamlined effort designed to highlight some of the magazine’s best. Published by Abrams Books, and written by long-time Lampoon illustrator Rick Meyerowitz, Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon Insanely […]

Drunk Stoned…A Lively Reminder of Forgotten Era

A hip, subversive, and often bawdy publication, the National Lampoon magazine was – popularity wise – The Onion of it’s time, bursting onto the scene in April 1970 before delivering a career-launching theater production (Lemmings), sending key contributors to a then-emerging Saturday Night Live, and releasing a comedy classic in Animal House. But like a […]

McGann: A Comedy Project of Sorts Himself

Sadly, the least discussed facet of stand-up comedy is the development of a comedian as an artist. Just as one’s perspective changes throughout life, so does a comedian’s – only it’s reflected on stage. “People don’t understand that you can’t do old material because it reflects something that you aren’t anymore,” Garry Shandling said. “If […]

Byrne Back After Some Soul Searching

With his second one-hour special, The Byrne Identity, set to premiere on Comedy Central this Sunday (10 p.m. ET/PT), Steve Byrne has one simple request: “I’m not asking you to go to the movie theater. I’m not asking you to spend any money. Just turn on Comedy Central this Sunday night and I hope you […]